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Bollywood's 'blog wars'

Shah Rukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan's fans are not amused by other stars' comments

They are being described as the Bollywood blog wars.

Some of India's top film stars have taken to blogging in a big way.

But in a country where many fans accord their stars almost god-like status, not everyone is happy with what is being said.

In recent posts, two of India's top stars have upset fans of the country's most popular actor, Shah Rukh Khan.

Veteran superstar, Amitabh Bachchan, on his blog, first described Shah Rukh Khan's new television quiz show as a flop.

Now he says his comments have been misunderstood by the media.

"Shah Rukh has been and is a friend and a wonderful colleague. He has never ever crossed that very delicate line between familiarity and respect," he wrote in a recent post.

"I will apologise to Shah Rukh a hundred times if there is an iota of doubt in his mind about my conduct and behaviour towards him," he said.

Aamir Khan, star of such Bollywood blockbusters as Lagaan and Mangal Pandey, has caused displeasure by blogging about his pet dog, Shahrukh - note the change in the spelling.

The canine, it seems, is always begging for attention and licking his feet. What's more, the dog is "too smelly".

Khan has gone on the defensive, saying he had nothing to do with the naming of the dog.

Aamir Khan
Aamir Khan complained that his dog Shahrukh was too smelly

"In fact Shahrukh is the dog of the caretakers of our house. When I bought this house it came with the caretakers and their dog! Apparently Shahrukh (the actor) was shooting for a commercial in this house a few years ago, and that very day the caretakers bought a pup, and named him Shahrukh," Khan says.

The star himself has laughed off what fans perceive to be the sleights on their hero and says he himself is far too busy to write blogs.

"Earlier people used to name their children after famous people. Somebody naming a dog after a known person is a new beginning in that direction," he told reporters recently.

"I don't have a copyright over this name if used non-commercially."

'Educated me'

So why have Bollywood's stars begun blogging? And what else are they talking about?

"I was not aware of the existence of such a medium," says Bachchan.

Amitabh Bachchan
Bachchan wrote he blogs whenever he gets time

"I read about in the media, spoke to the people who were in the process of preparing my website and they educated me on the blog."

To keep blogging, Bachchan admits to having lost a bit of sleep, "but what is the loss of a little sleep compared to the love and affection of those that express themselves in the blog".

Bachchan says he blogs whenever he gets time to write.

"There no time set aside for it. It's more of a self imposed commitment than an addiction."

Bachchan writes, at 0300 in the morning, how he is enjoying the current Cannes film festival and finds it "sad to see no Indian representation".

He also denies a story in a Mumbai tabloid that he had been paid a large amount of money to write the blog, and condemns the recent serial blasts in the Indian city of Jaipur - after, he says, a "reader points out... my indifference to it".

Aamir Khan has written about why he ran in the controversial Olympic torch relay in Delhi though sympathising with the pro-Tibet protestors, and how he ended up with a hamstring injury while "chasing the villain" during the shooting of his latest film.

Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, who began writing a blog and discontinued it later, says blogging is a "like a therapy".

"It is the future. A person can express himself, it is a good thing. It is to bring out what is within you, to reach out, to say your own thing, which you can do the best if you say it yourself. That is why I started writing."

Writer Anil Dharker says Bollywood stars are tasting "freedom" to get their point across to their fans using blogs.

"Earlier the stars had to go through an intermediary - be it a reporter or a TV interviewer. There was a possibility of misunderstanding."

"On a blog they have complete freedom in what you say. It gives them an opportunity to clarify things or with some people to settle scores."



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