Trolls are the latest online monsters sabotaging Twitter feeds or Facebook posts with their abusive and angry comments. Usually anonymous, trolls tend to drive their victims crazy — to a point that many a times they delete their original post, which led to trolling. Celebrities have been prey to vicious trolling by many people on Twitter — some of which even include rival camp fans of stars. We speak to some high-profile celebs and film critics who get trolled almost regularly and how they deal with them. Read on...
Rajiv Masand (Film critic)
Any time you praise a film of a certain actor you get trolled by rivals. I wonder for someone as humanitarian, philanthropic and kind as Salman, how his fans can be so badly behaved? Salman and Shahid Kapoor’s fans are the worst on Twitter. They are very passionate fans and will abuse with passion.
Raja Sen (Film critic)
I can’t think of one tweet per se that has sparked off rage among my easily-infuriated readers, but being dismissive of Salman Khan usually gets them frothing at the mouth pretty quick. As a film critic, I’m more than used to being vilified by people who take stars (and, indeed, star-ratings) far too seriously. I might have been appalled if the criticism was coherent, but as a friend once said, ‘I’ve made enemies among the ungrammatical’. Which is something I can more than live with. I never block people. That makes the trolls more determined to ruin your day. It’s easiest to shrug off the nonsense. While it’s easy to label Salman fans the most vociferous of the lot, I think the Theseus-tards, if I may, are just as bad as the bhai-tards.
Anything you write about Salman Khan and Shah Rukh, that is perceived as being detrimental to their interests, will evoke a reaction from their fans. Even if you don’t tweet anything against them but just mention that SRK’s film has done so much more business than Salman’s, fans will troll against that. I never block anybody. In extreme cases sometimes I hit back by replying and show them the mirror. I am not scared of trolling and I expose them by showing how idiotic their abuses sound. But mostly I ignore the trolling.
Amul Mohan (Film production house, Manager Creative)
The best troll was when I wrote on not liking Anurag Kashyap’s The Girl In Yellow Boots and the film not making money. Anurag’s fan clubs and boys abused me a lot. Anurag called me and asked why was I doing this to his film. SRK trolls abused and even threatened me — some even wanted to kill me but I refused to back down! Salman trollers say I am biased and visit Mannat while SRK trollers say the same about Salman. I never block people. All fans are like that but some of the worst ones are of Katrina and Deepika’s.
Miss Malini (Blogger)
It depends on the current topic. People get passionate about anything on Twitter! Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif fans are so polarised. Some are just funny and sometimes I send a slightly cheeky message back. If I explain my stance with logic they usually understand. The opposite of love is not hate but indifference. I don’t block anyone ever. It’s hard to say who are the worst fan clubs — I think Sussanne Roshan has been trolled the most post her separation with Hrithik.
Shobhaa Dé, (Writer)
I have a pretty simple approach. I say what I have to say. And move on. I don’t read or respond to comments. I don’t track anybody else’s accounts. It’s a democratic space. If you can’t handle it, stay out.
Gul Panag (Actress)
When Gul Panag recently tweeted “Mr G may have many talents. The gift of eloquence is not one of them. Nor is articulation,” on Rahul Gandhi’s interview on a TV channel, she was trolled viciously. She says “I don’t get trolled as I am a troll slayer. There’s a reason that I am not afraid to voice my opinion. If somebody questions me I have the conviction to answer them and the gumption to stick to it. I hardly ever block somebody unless they become really nasty.”
Taran Adarsh (Film critic)
I can’t pinpoint but the maximum trolling is when you write about Shah Rukh and Salman or when I have written reviews on films like Besharam or written bad things about Akshay Kumar’s films. Sometimes, a rival website with multiple IDs also troll my reviews. I have realised that you have to be thick-skinned here. I never react to anyone. I have seen a lot of stars deactivating their account because of trolling. I am also sensitive but if you have to be on Twitter you can’t react. The moment you react you are playing into their hands. I used to block people. Now I just ignore. I am only doing my job and writing about what I like which is Bollywood. Sadly Ajay, Akshay, Salman and Shah Rukh are so nice in real life but their fans don’t realise that. All the top actors fan clubs are so strong but I say one thing — instead of abusing and fighting, go and buy a ticket and make the film a hit.
Tanmay Bhat (Stand-up comedian)
I don’t mind people trolling me, but I also block people when the abuse gets excessive. A lot of people tell me that you are a comedian, so how can you block people when they have a certain opinion about you. I tell them that like they have a right to expression, I have the right to ban them. Similarly, they have the right to block me if they don’t like what I say. I often find Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan fans reacting a lot. But it’s Narendra Modi’s fans who troll the most. Modi has become such a phenomena that people react to anything you say about him. He has two kinds of followers, the informed fans and the idiots.
Pritish Nandy (Media personality)
Many tweets get me sharp critical responses. But that’s fine with me. I like that. What I do not like, however, is abuse. And that happens, though very, very rarely. I am lucky in that sense. Others jump on those who send me the occasional abusive tweet. I ignore trolls. That’s the worst insult you can offer anyone. Ignore them. The SRK fans were once awful. Now they have calmed down. Narendra Modi fans are by far the worst. They are hurting his campaign by being so intolerant even before the man is anywhere near to power. It’s a trend that ought to worry all independent thinkers.
Sorabh Pant (Stand-up comedian and writer)
I block people only if they’re being completely unreasonable. After a point, you can’t really reason with idiots. Most of the people I block are abusive, vitriolic and not worth my time. Fans of SRK, Sachin and Modi are the most vitriolic. I understand it, though. India is anyway a land where we’re so starved for heroes: We become psychotic about the few perceived heroes we have! The tweet that got me the worst abuse online was something about Sachin’s retirement. I love Sachin but, I had tweeted on the day of his retirement, ‘Finally. After 18 years. Vinod Kambli has a friend’. People got really pissed. This despite me tweeting stuff about loving Sachin moments back!
Inputs by Harshada Rege, Melissa D Costa