People earlier read about these actors in film magazines which were quite popular at the time, but now it's all happening through social media.

Black and white pictures of actors Shobana Revathy and Nadiya set against a blue background
Flix Entertainment Friday, December 04, 2020 - 13:44

Sitting next to a brass vessel of flowers, Shobana narrates a story. She talks of Lord Shiva, waking up from his trance to learn about the young woman Parvathy, going through penance to marry him. He consents to marry her, Shobana says, and approaches the bride’s home with ghosts and a skull held in his left hand. Parvathy’s mother faints, but the young woman is unshaken. She takes a ferocious form to match Shiva’s horrific one until Shiva assumes his original form and the two get married. Actor-danseuse Shobana narrates the story in a video, mixed with visuals of herself dressed as Lord Shiva, and other dancers as his companions and Parvathy. Through music and movements, Shobana tells the tale on the occasion of Navaratri in October.

"Navaratri series. Hope you enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed making the video .. with lots of love. S,” she writes in a post on her Instagram page. The renowned actor, hailed for her roles in the 1980s and '90s Malayalam cinema, posts regular updates on Instagram and Facebook, about moments in her life, mostly of music and dance and sometimes a personal update.

Quite a few actors of an earlier time, not all that active in cinema now (Shobana had a release this year after a gap of seven years), use social media to connect to people. In the earlier days, people read about actors in film magazines which were quite popular at the time. Television interviews were not so common and film writers either put out news about upcoming movies or else wrote interesting tidbits about actors. Some magazines were notorious for their gossip columns too.

When women actors kept disappearing from films after a few years, fans had little way of getting updates unless a film journalist published a rare story. But then came Facebook and Instagram, allowing celebrities to interact with fans without the help of an outside media. Actors, little seen in the public sphere, slowly sprouted with their photos and videos and posts.

Nadiya Moidu, who became a favourite of the Malayalam film audience with the 1986 film Nokkatha Doorathu Kannumnattu, is another '80s actor active on Instagram. On Thursday, she put up the video of a 1986 calendar featuring her. She often posts throwback pictures or videos like these -- a recent instance was during Halloween when she put a funny scene from Nokkatha Doorathu, scaring Mohanlal with a scary costume. Another was a black and white picture from the sets of Vannu Kandu Keezhadakki. Other times, Nadiya posts makeup tips or else family pictures.

Actor Revathy, an active member of the Women in Cinema Collective, is not that active on Instagram but posts frequently on Facebook. She reacted on Facebook when some witnesses turned hostile in the actor assault case.

She posted about her first flight after the outbreak of COVID-19. "Only when getting out of home do we realise the claustrophobia of this situation... God bless all the people who have made our lives comfortable in our homes for the last 8 months or so working in such conditions," Revathy wrote on Instagram.

Many of the actors also post tributes when dear ones from the film industry pass away. Revathy wrote about Kannan, the cinematographer of her first film Mann Vasanai, when he died in June. "He is one of the reasons I had the courage to become a director,” she wrote.

When renowned Tamil singer SP Balasubrahmanyam passed away in September, Shobana posted a video of her song ‘Sundari’ from Thalapathi that he had sung, and paid her tribute.

“It is difficult to come to terms with his loss especially while I was searching for a song to post in his memory .. Nothing to be said other than we have lost an irreplaceable treasure . We acted together as well . He played a cop and me, a thief . Unassuming , jovial , pure and song centered was Spb sir (sic),” Shobana wrote. 

She also posts short videos of her answering questions from fans, such as who she would prefer playing Suresh Gopi's role in Varane Avashyamund, if the movie is remade in Tamil.

Navya Nair, an actor from a later generation, is also active on Instagram, posting birthday wishes, dance videos and other updates. She often replies to the comments made on her posts too. Aswathi Menon, Nithya Das, Manya and other actors from the late 1990s and early 2000s are also active in these spaces.

Recently, young actor Nazriya, who is quite active on Instagram, posted photos of herself with actor Jyothirmayi who has not been acting for years, and the post, as was only to be expected, went viral.

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