The Fan Conundrum…
The first thought that might come up in your head before reading this is, whose fan could this guy be? I would love to tell that, but then this piece of write up will be judged based on that. And it is because of this feeling that I urged myself to pick up this topic. Let’s get to the point straight away…
So, what is the first thing we should define?
Who Is A ‘FAN’?
Let’s not complicate it with any dictionary definition and instead keep it straight. A ‘Fan’ is anyone who admires, adores and follows a personality of his/her choice for various reasons. Nice! And by far, when the word ‘Fan’ is heard, especially in South India, our mind is occupied mostly with personalities from the entertainment sector followed proudly by cricket.
Why would a scientist or social worker have a following, who call themselves ‘fans’?
The word ‘Fans’ has its genesis from the film industry. And here I want to particularly talk about what it takes to be a ‘fan’ of any actor in the Telugu Film Industry.
A ‘fan’ of an actor in Telugu cinema starts by admiring that particular actor’s work or the roles he/she does. It then transforms to following their movies extensively and slowly accelerates to admiring their personality off screen. By this time, the actor has become a part of your memories, ideologies and what not? This automatically forms grounds for ‘idol’ worship. All the above said might sound sarcastic for a few, but there is also genuineness in this.
My triumphant thumbs up for all the procedural characteristics stated above, and of course, there is no harm if one has a choice to do so. In fact, it is these fan or follower base that helps give an ultimate success story for most of the artists and technicians in the entertainment industry.
And the reason I mentioned South India is that down South there is a peculiar connection between a star and his/her fans. Even though most of the ‘Fans’ have no personal touch, just on the basis of a simple fact that they adore their ‘idol’, they can go to any extent. The star’s birthday becomes their biggest festival. From fighting film industry’s biggest enemy, piracy, to blood donations and different works of charity, all is done just for the love of their ‘hero’.
What more can an actor ask for? Even if he is a flawed person personally, we are sure acts like these would at least question his moral sense and vice-versa. This is good for the humankind. But, then what is the issue? Most of us are already aware of this, then why does and when does being termed as a ‘fan’ becomes troublesome and painful?
When Fandom Turns Into Mindless Obsession…
This is exactly my issue here. The issue starts when we get too personal with this admiration. After doing great work in the form of charity and other good deeds, a ‘fan’ starts to lose himself to some unmannered and uncivilized behaviour by taking things personally. Here are a few things that every person who claims to be a fan should (for the sake of humanity) keep in mind.
Stop The Hatred! For God’s Sake, Acting Is A Performing Art
If I am not wrong, there are people running campaigns and Facebook pages against the actors who are deemed as competition to their ‘idols’. These people are called ‘anti-fans’. I mean, are you serious? After getting a decent education to make a life for yourself, is this the sense of IQ levels you show? Loving or liking doesn’t come with any tags of hatred. And for God’s sake, this is a performing art, so just because a few actors and their work don’t go well for you, it doesn’t mean you hate them. Make your opinion, troll them or do whatever this so-called ‘democratic’ thing you always claim to do. But, stop the unhealthy hatred that we see around.
Fuck The Caste
Yes, you read it right, FUCK THE CASTE!! No one is telling you that ‘art’ has no caste and crap, but doesn’t your conscience prick you when you claim to like a particular actor just cause he is from your caste. If it doesn’t, then what if that actor was not your caste? Why don’t you make friends in a similar manner? When caste is not a barrier while making friends, why should it be when it comes to liking an actor? Liking an actor just because he belongs to your caste is the worst treatment you give ‘your own star’ as an artist. Just wake up!!
Don’t Get Personal
The admiration for one’s idol can reach any peaks, but it would be sweeter if it doesn’t get personal. Making it personal leads it to only damaging your self-respect. Okay, discussing what one liked and what hurt them is fine. But, just leave it there. Why should it always be that you involve his/her personal side? Is it because you are too weak to validate your point or are you a coward who cannot accept facts and wants to win an argument, even if it costs you your self-esteem? Validate for yourself.
Accept And Respect
When a fan fails to do any of the above, there is a huge possibility he/she would not give scope for respect. And when you don’t respect other’s opinion or works, how can you expect them to give back the same to you. So, just fucking accept the flaws and facts and be a sport.
Ego is nothing but your misdirected self-esteem and this will shoot up your personality by a million times when you start to accept things/facts as they are.
At The End Of The Day, Actors Are People Like Us, Give Them Their Space
Finally, actors are people like you and me. When don’t you want to discuss the crap that goes on in your mobile phones with the world, who gave you the right to pull an actor’s personal issues on to a public platform? If you are such a good Samaritan, maybe you could use the law existing in the country. Just shaming someone or poking them about their personal affairs on public forums doesn’t prove the love for your ‘hero’.
With the regional cinema accelerating and films from all the regions in South India taking a good direction, let’s not dilute the movement with unethical and uncivilized behaviour under the name of being a ‘fan’. Yes, of course, I am no one to preach this, but if only we keep ourselves well mannered, maybe we can give the media more scope to concentrate on issues that actually matter to our society.