Bollywood stars rule Forbes’ list of most influential celebs on social media
Forbes Asia’s inaugural 100 Digital Stars list highlights 100 singers, bands, and film and TV stars from across the Asia-Pacific region who have taken the digital world by storm. With their powerful social media presence, these trailblazers have garnered millions of loyal followers across popular platforms, making them as famous online as they are on stage and screen. This list, which is unranked, comes at an exceptional time. Much of the region’s population is spending time isolated at home, where people are relying on their screens for communication and entertainment. We’ve given special focus to celebrities who, despite cancelled physical events and activities, managed to remain active and relevant, largely by using social media to interact with their fans, raise awareness and inspire optimism. Many also used their influence to help worthy causes, especially those with a Covid-19 focus.
Multiple stars from India have made it to Forbes’s list of Asia-Pacific’s Most Influential Celebrities on Social Media. Obviously, this includes the most followed stars of the country like Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan, Alia Bhatt, Ranveer Singh, Katrina Kaif, Hrithik Roshan, Shahid Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Madhuri Dixit, and singers Shreya Ghoshal and Neha Kakkar.
Amitabh Bachchan was credited for raising over $7 million for coronavirus relief this year. Akshay was termed as Bollywood’s highest-paid actor and his $4 million donations too received a mention. Anushka’s inclusion in the list came as no surprise as well since the actress made a giant stride as a producer after the critically acclaimed Paatal Lok managed to create waves on social media. Neha Kakkar too earned a spot thanks to videos and pictures from her wedding going viral among her followers and fans. Alia Bhatt was termed as ‘part of a Bollywood family dynasty.’
Alia Bhatt, 27
Part of a Bollywood family dynasty, Bhatt has appeared in 24 films and is one of India’s highest-paid actresses. With 74 million social media followers, this U.K. citizen endorses at least 18 brands including Coca-Cola, Garnier and UberEats, and has started Coexist, an eco- and animal-focused website.
Shah Rukh Khan, 55
One of India’s best-known movie stars, Khan has appeared in about 80 films. While his last starring role was in 2018, Khan continues to do voice work for films and documentaries and has 106 million social media followers. The World Economic Forum honored him in 2018 for championing women’s and children’s rights.
Ranveer Singh, 35
With multiple best actor awards, Singh starred in 2018 drama Padmaavat, the 10th-highest grossing Bollywood film ever. He has three new films in the works and last year launched his own record label. With over 62 million social media followers, he endorses everything from condoms to Swiss tourism.
Hrithik Roshan, 46
With 33 million Instagram followers, the star appeared in May’s “I for India” concert to raise funds for Covid-19 workers; his Instagram post of the event drew over 2 million views. Roshan, whose real name is Hrithik Rakesh Nagrath, was nominated for Best Actor at India’s 2019 Star Screen Awards for his role in War, the year’s highest-grossing Indian film.
Neha Kakkar, 32
For her wedding in October to actor Rohan Preet Singh, Kakkar posted thanks for her wedding gown, a gift from the designer, that got over 4 million likes from her over 49 million Instagram followers. A related plug for Tissot drew 2.5 million views. She won the Listeners Choice Song of the Year at India’s Mirchi Music Awards 2020.
Shahid Kapoor, 39
The son of Bollywood actors, Kapoor starred in Kabir Singh, the second-highest grossing film of 2019. That year he earned nominations for Best Actor and won Entertainer of the Year at India’s Screen Awards 2020. With over 67 million social media followers, his endorsements include Colgate and Fanta.
Madhuri Dixit, 53
Dixit hosted an online dance class in April to teach fans new moves during lockdown, and has a subscription-based dance app that she launched with her husband in 2013. Dixit was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at India’s 2020 Filmfare Awards for her role in the film Kalank.
Katrina Kaif, 37
Kaif’s Instagram posts endorsing Reebok have scored over 15 million likes. Kaif, whose real name is Katrina Turquotte, also shares news about her cosmetics line Kay Beauty with her 45 million Instagram followers. Kaif starred in Bharat, the fourth-highest grossing Bollywood film in 2019.
Anushka Sharma, 32
With 84 million social media followers, Sharma recently turned to producing, and is an advocate for women’s and environmental causes. Sharma is a brand ambassador for Google Duo and Standard Chartered Bank.
Shreya Ghoshal, 36
Named Female Vocalist of the Year in 2020 at India’s Mirchi Music Awards, her song “Apni Maati” has over 1.5 million views on YouTube since its August release. Ghoshal took part in a virtual concert in September to support Indian musicians hit by the pandemic, with her Instagram post promoting the event drawing 95,000 likes.
filmfare.com; December 9, 2020