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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Sidharth Malhotra’s tweet promoting his film suggests that Bollywood’s got a foot in the mouth syndrome

Is it always about business for Bollywood? Sidharth Malhotra is not the only actor to have a “what were you thinking moment?” Salman khan, Aamir khan and Priyanka Chopra have all been guilty of insensitive behaviour on social media in the past.

bollywood Updated: Aug 29, 2017 10:55 IST
Abhinav Verma
Abhinav Verma
Hindustan Times
Bollywood seems to be suffering from a problem of putting their foot in the mouth.
Bollywood seems to be suffering from a problem of putting their foot in the mouth.

Actor Sidharth Malhotra was severely trolled for his ‘ungentlemanly’ behaviour, when he plugged his film in a tweet, in which he also spoke about the violence that broke out in Haryana after the arrest of godman Ram Rahim Insaan. “To all the people of Haryana, please stay safe. Hope you can see our film soon #Agentleman #PeaceAndLove,” he tweeted.

However, this is not the first time that a Bollywood celebrity has made an insensitive remark. Earlier this year, actor Priyanka Chopra was trolled for posting selfies from Holocaust memorial (Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin). A year ago, Aamir Khan was slammed for his comment that ‘when Salman Khan enters a room, it’s like a star has entered, but when I enter, I feel like a waiter.’ And talking about Salman Khan, who is controversy’s favourite child, ran into trouble when he made a statement, while promoting his film Sultan last year, that while training for the role, he felt like a raped woman.

If there’s one thing that these incidents suggest is that Bollywood has a problem of putting their foot in the mouth. Psychologists believe that the rise of social media culture has made people increasingly insensitive and narcissistic, especially celebrities. “Social media has reduced the gap between celebrities and the public. These actors don’t know how to use this medium. Most of them have hired professionals, who take care of their social media. Either way, their aim is to use the media for quick publicity and they don’t care if it’s bad or good. What Sidharth tweeted was insensitive and stupid. These celebrities live in their own world and it’s time that they are taught a lesson on being sensitive,” says psychologist Dr Anil Sethi.

Psychologists also suggest that since actors are public influencers, they ought to exercise caution while interacting with the public. “These actors are influencers. They live privileged lives. They ought to be careful with their words. Sidharth’s tweet indicates a lack of empathy. People who idolise these actors are the ones that get influenced and behave similarly in situations like these,” adds Dr Manish Jain, a psychiatrist.

However, it’s not all black and white as it seems. According to celebrity publicists, sometimes it’s not the actors who tweet, but their social media teams and at times, celebrities tweet because they are obliged to do so. “When it comes to social media promotion of a film, it’s a complex process as various people are involved in it. In most of the cases, when an actor tweets, it’s done with the advice of the social media team. When an actor signs a project, he or she is, at times, is obliged to tweet as a part of the contract, so they can’t help it. In this case, I definitely agree that Sidharth’s tweet was insensitive,” says a publicist, not wanting to be named.

However, if celebrities have landed themselves in a soup, there is always a way to control the damage by taking responsibility and apologising. “I think an apology goes a long way. A lot of celebrities own up their mistake, which is the right thing to do. Because not all publicity is good publicity,” says another publicist.

“Sometimes it’s the marketing call or extreme need to garner attention for an upcoming project that prompts actors to tweet such things. However, actors should not hurt the sentiments of people and it’s always advisable to stay away from commenting on controversial issues,” says a celebrity publicist, not wishing to be named.

First Published: Aug 29, 2017 10:55 IST

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