More Instagram followers means better work? After Ratna Pathak Shah's statement, more celebs share their story - Hindustan Times

More Instagram followers means better work? After Ratna Pathak Shah's statement, more celebs share their story

ByNavya Kharbanda
Jun 07, 2024 11:35 PM IST

After Ratna Pathak Shah, more celebs have shared their opinion on trend of Instagram followers lead to more work for actors these days.

Time and again, celebs have been vocal about not getting work in the industry, and the latest one to be added in the list is veteran actor Ratna Pathak Shah. In a recent interview, she complained about being unemployed for more than a year, and blamed it on the new age of social media. “Depending on the number of followers on Instagram, people are getting work today. That is what I have heard. Mujhe toh kisine nahi pooncha kyuki main Instagram pe hoon hi nahi. Toh shayad mujhe kaam nahi mila us wajah se,” she said. From Karishma Tanna to Abhilash Thapliyal, we talk to actors to know what they think about her statement.

Divyenndu and Karishma Tanna
Divyenndu and Karishma Tanna

1. Karishma Tanna

The culture of getting work based on Instagram followers does exist in the entertainment industry. Nowadays, few casting directors and producers often consider an actor’s social media presence, especially on platforms like Instagram, when making casting decisions. This trend is driven by the idea that actors with larger followings can bring more visibility and promotional value to a project. Actors are not just evaluated on their talent and experience, but also on their ability to engage and attract an audience online. Unfortunately, this can disadvantage talented actors who choose not to engage heavily on social media. I personally haven’t experienced this, but I know several people who have faced professional highs and lows based on their social media following.

2. Urvashi Dholakia

I completely agree with Ratna ji. I have been saying this for years, Ratna ji is not the first person to come forward with this. This happened especially after COVID when social media following became a thing, usse pehle kisi ko farak nahi padta tha. The pandemic changed people’s minds and populated the idea of keeping a check on one’s Instagram followers suddenly. The digital market became so strong during that time. In terms of opportunities, it’s all about the number game now. Producers still look at actors who have more followers, the trend is only growing and doesn’t seem to dial down at all.

3. Aahana S Kumra

Ofcourse this culture exists in the industry. If not, then why would people go to Cannes who are not filmmakers? Duniya followers ke basis par chal rahi hai ab. There are many talented filmmakers and actors who are dying to go there but can’t because of less followers but everyone prefers to take someone with more followers. So, it’s not just about acting projects, it’s about every opportunity there is. Acting in India comes last, I feel. Acting mai acting hi last factor hoti hai. Everyone just wants promotion through followers these days. Personally, my family on Instagram is huge and they are connected to me through my talent I feel, so I can’t say not getting work for myself but I have friends in the industry who have experienced this.

4. Abhilash Thapliyal

A lot of people get work on the basis of their Instagram followers. But, you also see them doing the same work on the big screen that they do on Instagram. The trend is there but I hope it fades out soon because there are such amazing actors out there. Making a reel and playing a character on the screen are two very different things. I hope people understand the craft of acting better. It happened once with me, I was shortlisted for a show but eventually the guy who played the lead, he had more followers than me. But, the show turned out to be a disaster so I made my peace with it. Number of followers is not directly proportional to the authenticity in a character that one can play, it should be seen like that.

5. Aaditi S Pohankar

As an artiste, there is so much to do and learn and I am a little slow on the Gram. I feel like social media life is a completely separate new ob. I wouldn’t say that particularly the casting is based on the number of followers, but people do make choices of having somebody who is more active on Instagram, I have heard it a lot of times. I feel like it is a bit pressurising for actors, especially when we speak about veterans. If followers will decide who gets to act, it is extremely sad. Thankfully, my circle consists of people who are more indulgent into what you learn. But yes, my friends in the industry are bothered by the Gram culture. People feel up if their followers go up, and they feel low if they dip. The pressure created by the industry makes actors feel confused. Even after She, I was also told to be more active on social media, it was so frustrating that I did the opposite and stopped using in for around a year.

6. Abhishek Bannerjee

I have heard it from many friends and actors when they have called me and complained about scenarios like this happening, so it is definitely going on. Sometimes, casting decisions are influenced because of an actor’s portfolio, number of followers, and social media. You might get cast once or twice because of that, but after that it will be about your talent and acting, it cannot happen all the time. Good actors don’t need social media validation. It will dial down with time as nobody can be a huge actor because of their social media presence. But yes, an opportunity can go out of hand because of this reason.

7. Divyenndu

I have heard things like that, when people get cast on the basis of their Instagram followers. I find it quite stupid. I think you only do such a thing when makers don’t have trust in their content, then they go for such tactics. It is quite bizarre in a way because there are so many eligible and deserving people who have given their life to train and become actors. To lose out on a job because of Instagram numbers is quite ridiculous. Moreover, I feel many of these numbers are even fake. The makers should be more answerable to this.

8. Namit Das

We are going through a transition at this point of time. Your following on Instagram matters because it equals the people who will watch the project that you are cast in. Everyone looks at your social media influence to see how they can encash using it. It’s something that we have to live with, it’s never going to change. There have been personal remarks when people have told me you should do something about your Instagram handle. I have a very different take on this, I don’t feel burdened to become an influencer. I am not going to name anyone, but there have been instances where I think I have lost opportunities because of the same. I am trying to build a reality around me, which has social media as a small component but it doesn’t rule everything.

9. Rohit Roy

It’s common knowledge that getting work in our industry is not based solely on Instagram followers, but it does matter a lot. A lot of budding actors who have started from Instagram get more work these days. But I also feel that they are talented as well. I agree with Ratna ji that it’s prevalent today. But, if someone has a good social media presence and has a flair for acting, then what is wrong with that? There are times when people fall prey only to the numbers, that’s a little iffy and sticky, because many people even buy followers. I have faced highs and lows, but I don’t think that’s because of social media followers. Both me and Ronit have a body of work that’s beyond it, so we haven’t faced the brunt of it to be honest.

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