The Pulp Pit
How getting trolled actually helps Priyanka Chopra
The double dose within weeks can only benefit the actor in a year when she has no Bollywood releases.
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If being trolled is amusingly the high point of many Bollywood lives, then Priyanka Chopra has delivered back-to-back hits in little under a month. The cyber clamour over the actress visiting Syrian refugee children was yet to die down when she was back inviting social media wrath on Thursday, for calling Sikkim a state “troubled with insurgency” in a recent interview at the Toronto film fest.
Priyanka’s comment, which she insisted was “misconstrued” and for which she later apologised, amazed many because she has just produced an entire film in Sikkim, titled Pahuna: The Little Visitors. Perhaps the actress was too engrossed in filmmaking to notice that there is no insurgency in Sikkim and that the state is India’s fourth richest state in terms of per capita income.
Though what is interesting is how Priyanka’s double gaffe has garnered more attention than, say, what Bhumi Pednekar, Bollywood crossover’s new darling, managed with back-to-back hits in little under a month. Bhumi may have left an impact in Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, but clearly, the old-school way of impressing audiences with solid acting is no longer all-important.
Newsmaking in Bollywood is moving to its next level. Spicy social media drama allows celebrities to grab eyeballs more conveniently than essaying drama a film script may demand.
Until recently, social media negativity whipping up trending hits was limited to C-listers such as Kamaal R Khan. But not anymore. Over the years, big names are getting trolled increasingly. In turn, Bollywood A-listers have also started realising the negative side of social media can actually be turned to one’s benefit. It lets them stay in the news.
That is not to say Priyanka’s faux pas over Sikkim, a state known for its peaceful and prosperous history, was intentional. Still, willingly or unwillingly the actress has guaranteed herself news space for some time now. At a time when she has no films coming up as an actress, that can only be an advantage.
Priyanka, of course, has been a social media sensation for a long time. She was among Bollywood’s earliest stars to take to Twitter, and today has one of the largest counts of followers in India. If the actress has by and large been popular on Twitter through the years, she has also had a bitter taste of the pill once in a while. Minor incidents of trolling, where Priyanka was slammed for the choice of red carpet wardrobe or magazine cover shoots, have happened.
Twitter popularity can be fickle, as is the case with any mass media. In the West, after initial euphoria died down, fan ire forced several stars to get off social media. In India too, Shah Rukh Khan briefly quit Twitter in 2013, before resuming tweeting after about six months. Anurag Kashyap and Ram Gopal Varma have been among Bollywood celebs who left for good.
Priyanka’s love for interacting with her Bollywood fans is only too well known to let her quit social media. A little cyber storm in a year when she has no big screen releases surely doesn’t matter.