Neha Sharma says influencers get preference over actors for roles: ‘People will eventually realise important to take one who can actually act’

May 03, 2023
Neha Sharma says influencers get preference over actors for roles: ‘People will eventually realise important to take one who can actually act’

Actor Neha Sharma laments how casting in the industry is now dictated by one’s social media following. If someone is popular on Instagram with following ranging between 30-40 million, Neha says they are likely to be given preference over actors, who may have earned fans through their work, but don’t possess the mythical number.

Neha, who herself is quite active on Instagram where she has over 15 million followers, landed her upcoming romantic comedy Jogira Sara Ra Ra co-starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui after its director, Kushan Nandy, liked one of her reels she had posted.

But Neha tells, that it was an exception– since she has also been at the receiving end where an “influencer” with a massive following on social media was once picked over her for a project she had done multiple readings for.

“I got a call from casing director Jogi and said there is a film and it is a legit enquiry. He connected me with Kushan, who said he saw the Dheme Dheme reel I had posted on my Instagram. He loved it and I thought great, there isn’t that much in it but if you loved it… Unbelievable how work can come your way today thanks to the internet. But, it has become a thing now.

“Because I feel like these influencers, with 30-40 million followers, I don’t even know how that exists but it does, they are getting lead roles in films, landing big parts. You would be amazed, there was a reading that I did for a huge channel. I did four readings with them and then I was called and informed that so and so person has been cast. I asked if that person had done any work, if there was any credibility to that but then I was like, ‘Oh 50 or 40 million followers.’ That tells me a lot,” she says.

The actor, who has been in the Hindi film industry for over a decade, says it used to “hurt” her in the beginning, but she has come to terms with it as “that’s the new norm.”  “They want to take the kids who have this following. I don’t know how long or sustainable this is. This can’t be sustainable, so I am assuming this is going to be this phase where you will see all of them in all the films. Then people will realise maybe it is important to take someone who can actually act.”

Neha enjoys a loyal social media presence and is routinely papped by the Mumbai paparazzi, featuring on their pages almost on a daily basis. She, along with her sister Aisha Sharma, are pictured outside gym, at a shoot or at a cafe regularly. But Neha says she is doing “moderately well” on the app.

“I am not at the numbers other guys (influencers) are, I don’t know what they do but they have those numbers, because of which they are getting work. I don’t know how to explain that. My fans are because of the work I have done, the films I have done. They know my work, for which I have immense gratitude. But being relevant is not something you can control.”

The actor says the sudden media interest towards her and Aisha happened during Covid, when paparazzi didn’t have “many huge stars” to cover.

“So they organically started covering Aisha and me. Now it has become a big thing, for which I am grateful. Stars align to help you; you never know how and why. My social media is not something I put too much into, I feel like I can’t control it. So, whatever is happening is organic. I am okay with 15 million followers, people who know who I am, my actual fans follow me, so I am really okay.”

Source: indianexpress