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Dhanya Balakrishan


The internet has really, truly shrunk the world and social networking sites are forever changing the way we interact with each other. Where earlier we used to wait for a week for a news magazine to deliver the hottest grapevine of the week on films, we are up to date every minute of the day and night – thanks to the internet and the stars themselves promoting their movies on Facebook and Twitter.

Stars on the internet garner huge followers; while it’s beneficial for their own publicity, as socially responsible people there is a thin line that divides their decorum from a common fan. Where does one draw the line? How much is too much? Here are a few incidents that threw light on the concept recently.

In a nation that is driven powerfully by the two Cs- Cinema and Cricket, anything that is done by the fraternity belonging to these industries becomes the headlines and breaking news for all types of media and public.

The case of Dhanya Balakrishan, a small time upcoming actress, is a classic example as to how much trouble you could get into for saying something very flippant. It’s as simple as a Facebook status message that threw her at the receiving end of a ‘networking’ storm. When she broke Vignesh’s heart with an apocalyptic ANNA with innocent eyes in Kaadhalil Sodappuvadhu Eppadi and made an impression with the audience, little would she have realized that she would be in the centre of a very turbulent storm that would put a death knell on her film career in Tamil. Her (unreasonable) remarks (which could be innocent or otherwise) about the CSK IPL team in a derogatory fashion and bringing in an age old issue of water between the two states were highly unwarranted. Now that is rubbing salt on old wounds. As soon as the status message was up, the Tamil netizens started baying for her blood and she had to immediately close all her networking accounts and issue a VRS notice from Kollywood.

In this case and reaction, the sentiment that is on the top most layer is provincial allegiance carried on a bit too far that it almost perilously borders on regional jingoism. It’s not quite unknown for Bollywood stars to find themselves foot in the mouth on Twitter after having said something embarrassingly lame but nothing quite comes close to what Dhanya said on that fateful day.

Bollywood is replete with such examples. All hell broke loose when Bipasha posted a pair of children tying her shoe laces. It was completely appalling. Priyanka Chopra once famously said after shooting for a few days in Kashmir that “Phew... will b back to civilisation soon!!". Sonakshi’s comments on a morphed picture of two cricketers also enraged quite a few because one of the two cricketers was Afridi. True, Bollywood is famous for Twitter brawls and it’s quite fun to follow those. But when the thin line of decorum vanishes and frivolousness crops up, it all becomes messy.

There is another facet also to this issue. In the name of freedom of expression, lots have been said unmindful of its effect or repercussion as in the case of Dhanya. It is seriously mandatory when you are expressing yourself in media on sensitive issues that you express restrain. Isn’t it time that we realize this and behave appropriately? Or rather, isn’t it time our actors express restrain? We cannot take umbrage under ‘freedom of expression’ on all matters but the need of the hour is a matured attitude and approach.

After all, we are a nation that built temples for our bombshells. We take them quite seriously down south. But for Dhanya, one day she will be forgiven for her flippant behavior but the fact remains that she is double careful while updating her status message these days. Once bitten, twice shy as they say.

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