Social media and technological development has changed a lot in our personal, professional and social lives. Many celebs have spoken about it, especially since in earlier times, actors used to focus on acting. But now, they have become a product and are ending up doing things in the name of marketing and promotions just because everyone is doing it or because of the pressure of taking promotion and marketing as mandate tools for them. Actor-host-comedian Balraj Syal shares his viewpoint.
“I believe it's unfair to blame the actors for the current situation. Times have certainly changed, and nowadays, producers and directors place great importance on social media engagement and follower count. Unfortunately, this means that actors who have dedicated years to working, on their skills, in gaining experience and earning recognition for their talent are being overlooked by production houses. It seems the industry no longer values actors or their abilities. Instead, it's all about numbers and the desire for every individual to be active on social media,” he says.
While some actors have successfully leveraged their craft to create meaningful content on social media, according to him, there are others who produce content devoid of logic, merely for the sake of having a presence. As someone who also creates content on social media, he often encounters situations where people inquire about his follower count and content before taking things ahead.
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“In response, I clarify that I don't want to be considered for casting based solely on my social media numbers. My purpose is to entertain people, and I don't create content to increase my follower count. It's disheartening to witness this. I understand that people should adapt to changing times, but I still believe that the notion of social media and digital platforms overtaking television is a dangerous mindset. Moreover, I believe that TV artists are unintentionally leading to the end of television as a medium. There is a significant portion of the Indian audience that still watches television at home, and it will take time to replace it. Change should happen gradually,” he says.
He asserts that casting decisions should not be based solely on the number of followers, as this approach encourages the creation of below-average content. He explains by examples.
“While some may argue that everything is fine in the realm of OTT, I recall Salman Khan expressing his disapproval on Bigg Boss OTT, highlighting the inappropriate content that was being promoted. This serves as a reminder that an audience still appreciates traditional and decent content. In conclusion, it is important to recognise the value of talent and quality content rather than solely focusing on social media numbers. The television industry still holds a significant place in the hearts of many viewers, and changes should be implemented gradually to ensure a balanced transition,” he adds.ALSO READ: "This industry relies more on networking than hard work" - Renee Dhyani