New Delhi, Dec 24 (IANS): Celebrities have millions of followers on various social media platforms. In 2020, some of the stars managed to gain more traction than others owing to controversial statements they made as well as important announcements.
Here’s IANS list of the year’s biggest social media celebrities:
SUSHANT SINGH RAJPUT
His death played out like loud drama on news TV, and the fallout was direct on social media. Fan clubs took over, venting ire on everyone from his girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty, to her mentor Mahesh Bhatt to Bollywood’s nepotism brigade. No one was spared.
As Sushant’s family members — particularly, sister Shweta Singh Kirti — went viral on a daily basis sharing nostalgia and updates about the investigation of his death, others like Kangana Ranaut, Ankita Lokhande and Shekhar Suman got big hits on their respective social media pages by simply discussing or posting about Sushant. #Justiceforsushant began trending soon after his death on June 14, and continues to be a discussed topic six months after his death, as the probe is still on. Sushant must be a rare celebrity who became a bigger social media celebrity after death than he was while he lived.
For years, her social media accounts had been handled by her team. In 2020, she decided to join Twitter saying: “This year, I have seen the power of social media, and I observed that how the whole world has come together in the fight for Sushant (Singh Rajput), and we have gained success… All this has given me a lot of hope, and I have an aspiration that through this we can launch reforms for new India… and that is the reason for the first time I have come on Twitter.”
Ever since she took over managing her social media, she either won hearts or got slammed by people, including her fraternity members for sharing her strong opinions on nepotism, drug menace in Bollywood and more. Her latest war on Twitter is ongoing, with Punjabi star Diljit Dosanjh over farmers’ protest.
Soon after Sushant Singh Rajput’s death in June, many celebrities expressed their grief on social media. Karan was one of them. But the tribute didn’t go down too well with the late actor’s fans amidst the whole nepotism debate. The filmmaker, who has worked with many star kids like Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Ananya Panday, was slammed for casting celebrities’ children and not talented outsiders like Sushant. In fact, Karan continues to be targeted online. Whenever he posts about his personal or professional life on social media, Sushant’s fans remind Karan about the late actor.
In August, a trade expert announced on Twitter that Sanjay Dutt has been diagnosed with lung cancer. While some netizens wished for his speedy recovery, others didn’t have kind words to say and trolled him for being a star kid and former drug addict. Around the same time, the trailer of his film “Sadak 2”, also starring Alia Bhatt, was unveiled. Amid the raging talk of nepotism, the trailer got instant dislikes. Netizens made fun of it with memes. Then in October, Sanjay shared with his fans that he had “come out victorious” in his battle with cancer. Some alleged that all this while he was “faking” his illness, but most people showered him with warm wishes. In any case, the widespread reaction he drew made Dutt one of the most-discussed Indian celebrities online this year.
Well, talking about fakes, singer Neha Kakkar, who has over 50 million fans on Instagram, knows how to do it in style. She recently made headlines by posting her photo with a pregnant belly. It turned out to be a fake stunt, to promote a new song. Just weeks before, Neha was talk of the town for marrying singer Rohanpreet Singh. Before the marriage ceremony photos came out, many thought it was just a gimmick, as earlier she was involved in a wedding publicity stunt with singer-show host Aditya Narayan.
With a strong “ARMY” of fans constantly backing them, the South Korean boy band is generally among the biggest topics of discussion on social media. This year was more special as they created history. The band, comprising RM, Jin, Jimin, V, Suga and Jungkook, topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Dynamite”. It is their first single sung entirely in English. Fans poured their love and celebrated the achievement by talking about it on social media platforms. A few weeks ago, they earned a 2021 Grammy Awards nomination in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category. As much as it was a dream for the band to get nominated in a major Grammy category, it was a big moment for their admirers too. What’s more? Their new single “Life goes on” also bagged the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100.
The “Black Panther” star died in August after silently fighting colon cancer. The final tweet, posted on his verified account, announcing his demise got as many as 7.5 million likes. Many left RIP messages including his “Avengers” co-star Mark Ruffalo, who commented: “It was the highest honor getting to work with you and getting to know you. What a generous and sincere human being. You believed in the sacred nature of the work and gave your all. Much love to your family. And much love from all of us left here.”
In September, the “Captain America” star posted an explicit photo by mistake. Even though it was quickly deleted, it got many reactions on social media. He didn’t immediately address it, but days later he tweeted: “Now that I have your attention….VOTE Nov 3rd!” That again, became a popular tweet. It got about 1.2 million likes.
Earlier this month, the “Black Panther” star shared a post on Covid-19 vaccine. The video tweeted by her featured host Tomi Arayomi expressing scepticism about vaccines in general and specifically the one for the coronavirus. Netizens soon criticised her for sharing the video. She seemed to be taking all the criticism well for some time as she went on to respond to many fan messages. But soon, she deleted her Instagram and Twitter accounts.
The “Juno” star, formerly known as Ellen Page, recently came out as transgender and introduced himself as Elliot Page. The tweet got 1.8 million likes, and the news was received warmly by many. Some heaped praise on him for being an “inspiration to countless trans and non-binary people”.