BOLLYWOOD’S MOST ACERBIC TWITTER STARS
IN CELEBRATION OF THE WIT, SARCASM AND SENSATIONALISM FILM FOLK WERE NEVER KNOWN FOR!
Once upon a time, the only way you knew anything about your favourite Bollywood people was via gossip magazines. Now, thanks to Twitter, you see them the way they actually are.
Of all the Indian celebrities tapping out 140-character snippets for their followers, actor Rishi Kapoor and directors Shirish Kunder and Ram Gopal Varma are the pithiest and most acerbic, showing sides of themselves their fans perhaps never imagined.
This, says Pratiksha Rao, head of media partnerships for Southeast Asia at Twitter, is why their accounts simply buzz with followers. “More popular accounts are set apart from the others because they are a fun mix of who the personalities are and the things they talk about,” says Rao. “They showcase a previously unseen side to themselves.”
Here’s what makes @chintskap, @ShirishKunder and @RGVzoomin tick.
Was Rishi Kapoor the original chocolate hero? Going by his Twitter timeline, the veteran actor is more caustic than chocolate. “Why the term "Chocolate" heroes please?” tweets Kapoor. “Humen dekhkar chocolate yaad aata hai? Aur jo nahin woh kya "nimbu"heroes hain?. The father of today’s superstar Ranbir and, one of the most successful actors from the first family of Bollywood, has been more in the news in recent times for his forthright comments on politics, co-stars and poking fun at himself: all hitting the mark in 140 characters or less. “I don’t smoke; right now I am also jobless,” says Kapoor. “So whenever I am bored, I tweet!” Kapoor’s tweets are often witty, and almost always drenched in an acidic humour that is hard to resist. So much so that, of his more than million followers on Twitter, a fair number sign up for his tweets less because he’s a star and more because he’s so funny.
“When I started tweeting, my wife was dead against it,” says Kapoor. “She thought I would miff a lot of people. But people liked my posts, they were honest and upfront. So I continued. I never force myself to be funny to get attention. This is how I am. People like that, and my following on Twitter keeps growing. But I never expected it to become this big.”
TWEETING HIS MIND
Kapoor’s tweets are never limited to just one topic or kind of style. Go to his Twitter feed and you may find a still from the film Rafoo
Chakkar in which he is dressed as a girl, or his agonised tweet looking back at his own sartorial choices: “What guts! Don’t miss the red shoes and the red belt. Aaaagggghhhhhhh”.
What makes him different from other celebrities online? Kapoor talks to his followers as he might chat with his friends, with honesty and forthrightness, about whatever comes to his mind. Unlike most actors, he does not use Twitter to promote himself or his films, and that, on a PR-heavy platform, is indeed refreshing.
“What I tweet depends on what I feel, what mood I am in,” he says. “I am a very honest and outspoken person in real life, and that reflects in my tweets. Sometimes people don’t take it kindly, sometimes they don’t get my sense of humour, sometimes they contradict my views just for the heck of it, and sometimes they really like it. Whichever the case, it doesn’t really matter to me: I am not tweeting to please people, I am tweeting because I want to.”
Most of his tweets are directed at himself. Check this out: “Obesity is not because it runs in the Kapoor family! It is because no one runs in the Kapoor family!”
But he is just as forthright about political issues. When BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi brutally beat up police horse Shaktiman in Dehradun, he demanded legal action. And when Sunny Leone was subjected to some offensive questions during an interview, Kapoor tweeted: “Very unfair& rude interview with Sunny Leone on CNN IBN. She is taking it on her chin sportingly, obviously in the interest of her coming film”.
Kapoor says he is simply exercising his right to free speech. “I have the right to speak my mind on a social platform. If I feel strongly about an issue, I tweet my opinion on it,” he says.
“I try to not be hurtful. I am not a hypocrite,” he adds. “In one or two instances I might have come close to being one, and retracted my statements. If I say something and then realise that I was wrong, I immediately apologise. I treat my Twitter followers as my family.”
Sometimes even speech as direct as Kapoor’s can be misconstrued, as it was when he greeted Twinkle Khanna on her birthday with: “Happy Birthday dear one! You were in your mums tummy when I was serenading her in Bobby “Aksar koi Ladka” in 1973 lol”.
Quick as a tweet, rumours spread that Twinkle’s mother Dimple Kapadia might have been pregnant before she married Rajesh Khanna. But Kapoor was having none of that. “Kuch logon ko problem Kya hai? Kakaji and Dimple were married, Bobby was still incomplete, we shot that song when Dimple was 3 months pregnant”, he tweeted, annoyed.
Controversy struck again when, while shooting for Kapoor &
Sons, he took a dig at Alia Bhatt’s IQ and Sonakshi Sinha’s weight. Fans, feminists and activists were enraged. Kapoor deleted the tweet, but stated that both actresses concerned were like his own kids. “These guys know me too well to feel offended by such a tweet!” Kapoor says with a laugh.
More than trolls, what irritates Kapoor most are people who follow him hoping to get in touch with his actor son Ranbir Kapoor. “Since Ranbir is not there on any social networking sites, I get so many posts from his girl fans and if I don’t respond to their posts, they get offended. Youngsters today are so childish!” he bellows.
It is time, perhaps to re-post his tweet that had his followers on Twitter double over with laughter
(see picture): A Grumpy Cat with a sign: ‘I’m not Ranbir’s mailbox!’