Art & Entertainment

In The Instagram-Obsessed Age, Senior Actresses Weigh Talent Over Technology

Digital media has transformed the entertainment industry in recent years with Twitter, Facebook, and most importantly Instagram dominating the glamour industry like never before

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Madhuri Dixit Nene, Ayesha Jhulka, Bhagyashree and Padmini Kolhapure speak about social media
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“When I started working, all I had to do was work on my films, do a little promotion and then we used to have premier nights. But now there are some many avenues you are exploring, you have to be on Instagram, you have to be on Twitter and then you have to do this and that so there are so many different things that stars are doing today…,” these were the candid words of the female superstar of her time, Madhuri Dixit when, during the promotions of ‘Maja Ma’, I asked her about changes she has noticed in the current entertainment industry from the time she started.

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However, it seems the dancing diva has adapted to this new trend or to say necessity very gracefully courtesy- her  33.6 million followers on Instagram account and the trending reels with the most number of likes and views almost every second day.

Digital media has transformed the entertainment industry in recent years with Twitter, Facebook, and most importantly Instagram dominating the glamour industry like never before. From film announcements, promotions, and product launches to live sessions, it has changed the entire work module of show biz.

Even Bollywood actresses are not only becoming more popular for their films but also their social media followers. From uploading their travel photos, family photos, or funny team reels, they know how to keep their fans hooked and entertained.

There is a new wave of “Internet famous” culture probably taking inspiration from Hollywood reality TV star Kim Kardashian as we see a whole group of Indian Internet influencers who are literally “famous for being famous” and even getting Bollywood offers.

So does that mean that the more digitally active you are, the more work you will get? Is Social media the new audition ground to spot talent and how are senior actresses coping with this new wave of digital boom?

Padmini Kolhapure, who has worked in many successful films in the 80s and was recently seen in OTT Project ‘Dil Bekaraar’ along with Raj Babbar, says for senior actors like her, social media doesn’t play any role in getting work as she feels that these platforms are generally meant to connect with their fans.

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“I am primarily on Instagram and not so active on Twitter or Facebook because I think it will take all of my time and I have so many other things in life but yes there are a lot of people, especially for the younger generation, it has become their earning platform which is fair enough,” she tells us.

Bhagyashree with 1.5 million followers frequently gives a glimpse of her workout routines, family time, and fashion choices. The ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’ famed actor says that social media has definitely become a tool to enhance business opportunities in various fields.

However, she feels that merely doing a reel of 30sec/1min doesn't define talent.

“Social media can increase popularity no doubt but it's not a measurement of your acting chops. Having said that, it is a platform that newcomers can hope to get spotted, get a break, create a ripple at least in this vast sea of talent around,” she tells us.

Started as a fun way to connect to her fans, Bhagyahsree later developed it during the pandemic as a way to give back helping them with health hacks inspired by her own journey. “Personally, as an actor, I don't feel it increases acting opportunities as much as it probably touches on advertisements of products. The more the reach, the better the chances of endorsements,” she says.

Ayesha Jhulka, who moved away from her girl next door image obtained after blockbuster hits “Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar” and “Khiladi” with ‘Hush Hush’, says that she signed 3 projects for OTT while having zero presence on social media.

“I feel an actor normally gets work in a particular project based on how well they fit a certain character and their ability to justify the role,” she says.

The 50-year-old is okay adapting to social media trends till the time she is comfortable doing it and most importantly enjoying it. “My fans respond so positively and are accepting of my presence, they love me and demand to see more of me and that makes me feel loved and wanted and happy,” says the actor.

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She is also enjoying the almost direct interaction with the people who still love her. “It’s a new world and a new journey,” she says.

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