Direct Message

Is Twitter changing the Hindi film industry’s long-held moral code?

01 May 2012
Priyanka Chopra and Bipasha Basu at the same party with designer Rocky S in Delhi. The photos of the night that the two actors uploaded on Twitter revealed their ongoing ‘cold war’.
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Priyanka Chopra and Bipasha Basu at the same party with designer Rocky S in Delhi. The photos of the night that the two actors uploaded on Twitter revealed their ongoing ‘cold war’.
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KARAN JOHAR LASHES OUT at Priyanka Chopra”, screamed the headlines on 6 April. It was alarming news, even for those with only a passing interest in Bollywood. Major filmmakers don’t often publically berate top actors—especially when the director and actor alike are known for their politeness and poise. But less surprising, as you read past the headlines, was where the lashing took place: Karan took aim at Priyanka on Twitter.

Journalists who knew the director’s number or whereabouts had been chasing him for days. They wanted a response, any response, to the curious episode that had taken place on the morning of 3 April: an anonymous “friend” of Priyanka Chopra had ranted to the Mumbai Mirror tabloid about the actor’s ostracism by the powerful Bollywood “wives clique”, following rumours that Chopra was having an affair with Shah Rukh Khan. Among Khan’s wife’s loyalists, the friend hinted, was a director who had the power to “make or break careers”—and was intent on breaking Chopra’s, by dropping her from a long-promised film and persuading others not to work with her.

While speculations raged unchecked, Karan Johar kept his counsel—displaying his signature grace. But then, three days later, he erupted on Twitter—complete with a dramatic number of exclamation points: “Using their hired PR machinery and hiding behind so called ‘friends’ to get news into tabloids is nothing but spineless and lame!!!” He didn’t stop at that. “Some people need to wake up and smell the KOFFEE!!! Get a reality check before its too late!!! Grow up!!! and dont mess with goodness.....” read his next tweet.

Snigdha Poonam  was previously  an editor at The Caravan. She has written for a number of publications, including the New York TImes, The Guardian and Granta.

Keywords: Bollywood twitter values Karan Johar Priyanka Chopra
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