One of the most significant developments in my life this year (and probably the lives of many people) has been Twitter. From not knowing that it was a two way medium to being in the run for the dubious title of ‘Twitter Indian of the year’ it has been a learning experience.
I am often asked by journalists why am I on Twitter. And my standard answer is “because it gives me a platform to say what I want when I want. And to connect with like( and unlike) minded people”. But till this morning I didn’t quite realise just how much this medium means to me.
I was in Chandigarh for a Tata Sky event and there was a press conference organised. Once the formal part was over I was chatting with a few familiar faces from the press. One particular lady from The Tribune caught my attention. She appeared well read and asked intelligent questions.Most reporters at such events are only interested in asking me, “so what’s your next film?”. Out of loyalty to the brand I endorse, I request them to try and talk about the event, I do of course oblige and answer a question or two about the films I am doing. I finished my chat with the journos and said bye .
Next morning, glancing through varoius Tata Sky stories in all the city papers, I looked with particular interest, for the piece by the lady from The Tribune. I was surprised to find her painting me in the same brush strokes of disdain as one would an air head. Even making a joke about my interest in discussing socially relevant issues like climate change and price rise( as opposed to commenting on bollywood relationships as her collegue had asked). My reason for not talking about my films( instead focusing on tata sky) was written about as having only a film or two on hand! I wondered where I had gone wrong. Should I , in blatant disregard to the brand event, have used the platform to plug my 4 forth coming ‘big’ banner films with Pritish Nandy’s, Subhash Ghai, Prakash Jha and Ram Gopal Varma? And also mentioned my multicrore film with Excel Entertainment ( with Junior AB)?
I was confused.
What was worrying was, an intelligent modern woman of today, an opinion maker, had happily decided that actors were only good enough for frivolous talk and talk linked to their work, and that any thing else of relevance they had to say was a joke! You can only imagine what mainstream ‘serious’ journos think of actors. Is it a surprise then that the public who reads all this thinks that we as a breed are shallow and socially irrelevant? And then people ask us why we don’t have an Indian version of Sean Penn or Geeorge Clooney or Brad Pitt( these stars are well known for using their star power to make a difference).
I am so used to thinking of myself as more than an actor , and this made me realise that the system only sees us as the exact opposite: just actors with nothing more to offer .
Thank God for Twitter. The one place where I can be who I am. The place where I don’t have to be forced to conform to stereotypes. The place where I can learn and grow with the help of like minded people.
Thank God for Twitter: for it keeps me real.