FANDOM or FAN(DUMB)?
Cinema is celebrated in India and has a variety of audience. There are people who watch random movies during weekends just for the joy of it and there are some that read a hundred reviews before losing that 120.There are people who prefer a first class theatre experience and those that have dozens of CDs back home(that’s piracy by the way). There are the ‘ #fdfs’ status updaters and the ‘Who cares!? Ive seen it before it was off the theatre’ kind of audiences. Now the reason for all these people to decide to watch a movie can be anything from just a form of relaxation to ‘I had nothing else to do’ but above all, there are some who religiously watch certain movies and support them no matter how good or bad they are.
What do you think makes them do so? That’s right,because it is their favourite star’s movie . Not only will they support the film,but would also send letters,gifts,go on hunger strikes or even build temples to express their love to their lovable actors.Fans,an inseparable part of today’s Cinema worldwide, especially in India and it is definitely not a recent phenomenon.Fan clubs began to be formed when Cinema was widely being spread and when the lead characters became role models and inspirations to the common people. Fan club activities included a get together with club members,talking and discussing about their movies,collecting pictures etc. They were obsessed with their heroes and heroines and would do anything for them because they fantasized them. All is acceptable as long as you are just proud of your ‘icon’ but when you want to humiliate the ‘icons’ of other enthusiasts,that’s where the problem arises. Of course there is some antagonism between the idolaters but it needs it to be there for a reason,for something to develop and not just for the sake of it. For instance, an unhealthy practice to put down a non favourite actor irrespective of their talent and denigrate their fanciers is a growing concern and there are signs of it here and there.
This kind of immature fandom is not just seen in slums or rural areas as would be expected but in social media platforms through memes,videos,comments and tweets. The actor is valued by how much his/her movie grosses at the box office and is lionised by their fans who show off these numbers to their rivals constantly creating a desire in them to take revenge on behalf of their heroes. So one creates a post making fun of actor A infuriating their fans and they in turn research through the past to dig out all of actor B’s failures and present it to the world. These get shared,liked and re-tweeted with the associated hatred. Now as long as it is online,it looks safe but imagine if this was to be taken to the streets where memes don’t work.Instead of just looking up to them, fans start worshipping celebrities which makes it evident that they value someone else more than they value themselves and that is depressing.
Now from an optimistic view, fan clubs definitely are a great way of encouraging your favourite artist and trying to communicate your appreciations to them making them feel better about themselves and strive hard to achieve more.It is a great way to show your respect to a personality irrespective of geographical borders. Like for example, Tamil actor Rajinikanth has a huge fan following in Japan which sure does make everyone proud. What is saddening is that today’s youngsters forget their purpose in life in the process of idolising heroes like they were God,ignoring the fact that their ‘idol’ apparently has no idea this particular fan exists.
Like Michael Eisner said, “We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. To make money is our only objective.” The Movie industry has its own objective. Dear fans,what about you?