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Bollywood: Calls for boycott on social media platforms worsen Bollywood’s woes

Hundreds of thousands of posts are generated on social media platforms calling for boycott of Bollywood films and many of its movie stars, creating tension in the industry where huge sums are being invested by top actors.

Online boycott calls and posts gained momentum near the release of Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chaddha earlier this month and do not appear to be diminishing.

The filmmakers fear that these boycott calls will have an impact on their box office receipts.

“There is no insurance against these circumstances,” said a producer whose film is due out in a month and whose star is the target of boycott calls. “Even if we try to obtain compensation, the premium will be too high. We have no choice but to wait and watch and we hope this wave of boycott will subside,” said the producer, who requested anonymity.

Hashtags such as BoycottBollywood, Arrogance, AliaBhatt, BoycottBrahmastra, BoycottLigerMovie, Hrithik_Roshan_Maafi_Maang, BoycottBollywoodforever and many more with abusive slurs against actors or Bollywood have been trending on Twitter.

A Twitter spokesperson said the platform is committed to showing “all sides” of the conversation.

“The conversational, real-time nature of the service creates an engaging environment for fans and celebrities alike. Over the years, moviegoers have actively shown their love and support for their favorite superstars and what’s happening in the world of entertainment,” the spokesperson said.

“Additionally, we want Trends to foster healthy conversations on Twitter and cannot allow or temporarily block content from appearing in Trends if it is found to violate Twitter rules,” the person added.

Boycott Bollywood and Boycott Bollywood movies are popular searches on Facebook.

On Instagram, the boycottBolywood hashtag generated more than 140,000 posts. On YouTube, videos posted by content creators on the Bollywood boycott trend garner thousands of views.

Meta said he had no comment to share. YouTube did not respond to an email seeking comment until press time on Tuesday.

Harish Bijoor, business and brand strategy expert and founder of Harish Bijoor Consults, said cancel culture can manifest itself in two ways: first, through social media comments that call for cancel or boycott something, and secondly, by an activation in the field.

“Right now conversations about boycotting Bollywood are happening on social media. They haven’t reached ground-level activation yet,” Bijoor said. “They can affect box office collections. Bollywood is worried. But Bollywood is also worried for other reasons. Southern films are doing very well. All of Bollywood is waiting for this great success which does not come.

A filmmaker soon to release a film said it was “disheartening” to see the way films were being boycotted.

“It takes a lot of hard work from a lot of people to make a movie. The stars are only one face, while there are at least 250 to 300 more people who depend on the success of a film for their livelihood,” he said. “People boycotting stars don’t understand that they (stars) are the least affected financially by such appeals. They have their money upfront and have no skin in the game.”

Many stars have already expressed their opinion on social networks against these calls for a boycott.

A producer whose big-budget film recently slumped at the box office after receiving such calls for a boycott, said it was hard to justify the impact such calls had on box office revenue.

But, as word of mouth plays a positive role, such calls could also have equally devastating consequences for a movie, he said.

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