Aug 20, 2008

SHAHRUKH, A R RAHMAN, CHIRU, AMITHAB, Who’s the strongest?

Ping, it’s a fan!
In a land where actors plunge into politics empowered by their fans, the new age dimension of fandom – the fan clubs in cyberspace

The first-day-first-show queue, the bedroom wall posters, going gaga over the style and dialogues … the fanfare does not stop at these. With online networking communities, fans are finding more ways to connect with their stars. Scan through any fan community and you see proud anointments of their stars into gods and divas. How has the world of virtual fandom changed the star-fan equations? What does it mean to be a fan online?
Stars on the pages

As the Big B blogs of his "pain of absence" from home, and SRK of his dislike for 'goodbye's, fans now can get a daily update on their gods. The stars keep the fans updated not just on their projects, but also of their travels, opinions and afterthoughts on their cheeky comments. All this is just a few clicks away.

With all the big names in the industry starting their own blogs, despite all the mudslinging, there is still time for fans. Like how Aamir Khan came up with this open question to his readers: should he include the Runa sung Jaane tu mera kya hain in Jaane Tu…? The answer was an overwhelming YES. Bingo! He repackaged the movie.
Virtual fandom

Shouvik, a virtual fan from Hyderabad, thinks that being part of a fans community online helps you procure a lot of resources, which will be impossible as an individual. Plus it builds your contacts. He even designed what he describes as "India's first community based fan club." Samata Biswas, a researcher, feels that it is impossible for people with busy schedules to be real time fans. "You don't know where these clubs are, how to join, etc. Here you can just log in anytime and contribute."

For the 3,00,000 strong A R Rahman Fans community in Orkut, virtual space is for meeting and organising. The community is used as a platform for the planning of their outdoor activities, which include free food distribution for the poor, concerts, and aid for the disabled kids. It also serves as a platform for raising money for these charity works by selling Rahman tees, Pray for me Brother colourbooks, etc. What this also says is that fan sites have marketing potential which could be manipulated.

A speck of the spotlight
Fans themselves come under the spotlight as they rally support from their communities to help their stars shoot high in online polls. Adding to these are the numerous games related to the stars that are available online. An SRK application in Facebook has 624 monthly active users, while another game on Aamir Khan attracts 205 users every month.

As a fan flaunts her pics with the star, much to the envy of others, or another one brings out a link to a rare snippet on the star, the fan too gets a share of the star's glamour. It's all about show biz, indeed!

The real-time fans associations
Charity seems to be the catchword for the real-time fans associations, when not in their "cut-out" mode. Nagarjuna fans organise tree plantations and other charity works while Balakrishna fans caught attention with their generous Rs 5 lakh donation to the Indo American Cancer Organisation. Education and medical aid are the concerns of NTR Fans too. Chiranjeevi fans run a blood bank, but they have more business to do in the coming days.

Who’s the strongest?

On Orkut:
A R Rahman Fans 3,81,313 The Shahrukh Khan Fan Club 3,35,557 Aamir "The Ace" Khan 1,52,974 Megastar Chiranjeevi 1,05,192 John Abraham 1,04,521 Salman Khan 1,02,963 Nandamuri Balakrishna 72,811 Super Star Rajinikanth 63,451

On Facebook:
Shahrukh (King) Khan 20,947 Aamir Khan 19,143 A R Rahman 12,931


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