CELEB AND THE SELFIE

WHY STARS ARE CHAS­ING FANS WITH SMART­PHONES

Hindustan Times - Brunch - - Brunch - Vidya.Prabhu@hin­dus­tan­times.com Fol­low @Prab­huVidya on Twit­ter

ACOUPLE OF weeks ago, Twit­ter was abuzz be­cause of an in­trigu­ing photo. It showed US Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton wav­ing at a crowd that had its back to her. A closer look re­vealed how the crowd had its phones raised in uni­son; it was a col­lec­tive at­tempt at click­ing the per­fect selfie. When Clin­ton’s of­fi­cial pho­tog­ra­pher Bar­bara Kin­ney pho­tographed this op­por­tune mo­ment, she, in ef­fect, re­it­er­ated the pop­u­lar­ity of the selfie.

Given how com­mon an ac­ces­sory the smart­phone has be­come, is it any won­der that the selfie cul­ture has re­de­fined the way we interact with each other? In a world united through so­cial media, it is per­haps not sur­pris­ing to see the celebs (po­lit­i­cal and glam­orous) at the fore­front.

Kin­ney’s photo worked for Clin­ton in that it went vi­ral; the pic­ture has ob­vi­ously been use­ful, con­sid­er­ing that the US elec­tion is just a month away. Closer home, the com­pet­i­tive spirit among our celebs may not be as pro­nounced, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that pos­ing for self­ies with fans is an im­por­tant part of im­age build­ing to­day.

AIM AND SHOOT

“Self­ies are part of all celebri­ties’ tool kits, along with their care­fully se­lected out­fits and colour­ful en­tourages,” stresses dig­i­tal evan­ge­list Sree Sreeni­vasan. “Self­ies help con­nect celebri­ties with fans thirst­ing for be­hind-the-scenes exclusive con­tent, even if it’s staged and shared with mil­lions of oth­ers. In the hunt for the most po­ten­tially vi­ral self­ies, you see celebs go­ing to ex­tra­or­di­nary lengths to set up un­usual pho­tos and per­spec­tives.”

With­out a doubt, self­ies give fans a real high. But what’s in it for the celebrity? “The qual­ity of be­ing a selfie-friendly celeb means that the said celebrity is an ap­proach­able per­son­al­ity, and it puts the star at an ad­van­tage as his or her im­age is bound to get a boost,” says Dr Rakhi Anand, clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist, In­draprastha Apollo Hospi­tal, New Delhi.

Celebs them­selves be­lieve self­ies with a fan make the fan feel much closer to them. “They feel part of your life through your (so­cial media) feeds,” says ac­tress Nar­gis Fakhri. “Self­ies do help make you seem ac­ces­si­ble, but I don’t think they re­ally dic­tate the fans’ per­cep­tion of you (me).”

Ac­tor Ar­jun Kapoor too thinks of the selfie as “a pos­i­tive af­fil­i­a­tion”. “To me, each selfie taken is a ticket sold,” he says. “To­day, pos- ing for a selfie is a nat­u­ral thing to do for one’s fans; there is no strat­egy be­hind it. At least I don’t look at it that way.”

SMILE – YOU’RE GO­ING VI­RAL

Ac­tors may be po­lit­i­cally cor­rect, but what about their im­age-mak­ers? On one hand, they recog­nise that celeb self­ies are more likely to go vi­ral. But they are also quick to say that these self­ies can­not be de­scribed as an ‘agenda’. “To­day, au­to­graphs have been re­placed by self­ies,” says Monika Bhat­tacharya, gen­eral man­ager, Yash Raj Films Com­mu­ni­ca­tions. “Stars try to make time for self­ies be­cause they know it will mean the world to a fan.”

The fact is that self­ies of­ten go be­yond nar­cis­sism – be it bear­ing tes­ti­mony to the spirit of ca­ma­raderie or help­ing as­sess one’s fit­ness lev­els. And let’s face it, celebs and their fans alike are look­ing for­ward to epic self­ies from the up­com­ing Global Cit­i­zen Fes­ti­val In­dia. After all, who doesn’t want a selfie with Cold­play? And why wouldn’t Cold­play want a selfie with a Bol­ly­wood star? It would be a com­plete win-win sit­u­a­tion.

“Each selfie taken is a movie ticket sold,” says ac­tor Ar­jun Kapoor

SELFIE LOVE (from top) Ar­jun Kapoor poses for a selfie with the crowd; Nar­gis Fakhri clicks a mir­ror selfie; the fa­mous Os­car 2014 selfie; and workout self­ies, such as this one taken by Shahid Kapoor, have a util­ity for fit­ness fa­nat­ics

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