Fandom in Tollywood is a unique phenomenon. The passionate, often obsessive fans of various superstars in the industry go to extreme lengths to prove their loyalty. As a result, fans in the Telugu film industry have been divided into separate factions – depending on who their favourite star is. Social media has now emerged as a battlefield where groups of fans are constantly involved in a slugfest – vying for bragging rights as to who is the bigger star, or trying to belittle others through various trolls or memes.
Traditionally, fan groups have been divided between various families – Mega (Chiranjeevi family), Nandamuri, Akkineni, Manchu, Daggubati, etc – it seems groups have become even more narrow in recent times.
The teaser of Allu Arjun’s upcoming film Duvvada Jaggannadham (DJ) has created records – for both right and wrong reasons. The video has garnered over five million views on YouTube within of week of its release. But strangely enough, DJ also has the most number of dislikes.
The number of dislikes for the video at the time of going to print are 1,06,972 – the highest for teaser in Tollywood. So how does a teaser of a popular star, which is being appreciated by the audience in general, gather so many dislikes?
It seems fans of Powerstar Pawan Kalyan are responsible for this, as they seem to have been offended by Allu Arjun’s fans.
“When Katamarayudu teaser was released, a few Bunny fans disliked it and started bragging about it. We could not take this lying down. So we decided to do the same thing for the DJ teaser,” said Kranthi Kumar, a member of Pawan Kalyan Fans’ Association.
It all started with Allu Arjun’s infamous Cheppanu Brother directed at Pawan Kalyan fans during the audio launch of Sarrainodu.
Fans of the two Telugu stars have since been involved in slugfests across social media. To make things worse, a screenshot of Allu Sirish (Arjun’s brother) insulting Pawan Kalyan fans has been doing the rounds. While the veracity of the screenshot is questionable, it has added fuel to the fire and the war of dislikes between the two fan groups have started.
“As fans, we never had issues with Bunny. Our main rivalry has always been with Mahesh Babu fans, NTR fans and Prabhas fans. But off late, Bunny has been negative towards Pawan Kalyan fans, which is why we are forced to respond,” added Kranthi, who insists that it’s all friendly banter between groups of fans.
Interestingly, as soon as dislikes for DJ’s teaser started increasingly, a group of Allu Arjun fans have hurriedly gone and ‘disliked’ the Katamarayudu teaser on YouTube. The teaser of the Pawan Kalyan-starrer has now garnered over 26,000 dislikes.
“I don’t understand why Pawan fans do this all the time. They always do such childish things like increasing the dislike count. Obviously, we have to protect the privilege of our star so we have to respond accordingly,” said K Srinivas Rao, an Allu Arjun fan who has ‘disliked’ the Katamarayudu teaser in retaliation.
And while trolls and memes on various fan pages continue to dominate the digital landscape, it seems fans now have a weapon to target their rival groups – the dislike button.