The culture of film stars having fans and the latter showing their admiration has been there since eons. Unlike the north, this attachment is few notches higher in the south and it goes to such an extent that few stars are treated like demigods. While that intensity is one side, there is also the issue of fans feeling competitive and developing rivalry against each other.
For a long time, fan wars used to happen in a way which was not being taken seriously. There were also times when the respective stars mentioned those tiffs during events and had a laugh about it. While the stars maintain their bonds and friendship, the case is not the same with the fans. They take things personally and clash with each other.
The offline tiffs were okay to an extent but ever since the social media has arrived, the fan wars have gone to a different level. Criticism has turned to abuses and personal attacks. At a broader level, it was meant to be out of affection towards their heroes but a deeper look is showing something very dark. The element of caste seems to be dominating the way fans are addressing the competition.
In plain Telugu words it is called 'Kula Gajji' and this caste obsession is making fans go to extreme lengths just to prove their upper hand. In the process, they are doing many things such as booking theatres to improve the collections, buying tickets at exorbitant prices to show how their hero has craze and coming up with a plethora of posts in the digital space trying to prove that their hero is the best and the opposite hero is the worst.
There were also instances where fans have threatened producers to pay money to theatre owners to run the film for 100 days. Such instances happen even today. Irrespective of the quality of cinema or the entertainment quotient, the fundamental for these fans have become the caste and this caste evil is instigating a dangerous degradation.
Of course, all these works for the heroes as their fame is intact and the collections look healthy. In a way, if only they can put in a word subtly and make things more cordial and harmonious, the quality of cinema and a healthy competitive environment will emerge which is the right way to proceed for a big industry like Tollywood. As such, the fan wars exist even in Tamil Nadu but it is purely on the basis of the hero and caste has no role in it. This is a sad truth but let us hope things change for the better soon.