PresenterGupta Kooshna - University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Panel49 – Public Knowledge: Audiences in South Asian Media and Screen Studies
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to connect virtually, providing wider access to social media platforms. YouTube, an interactive platform, offers primarily two purposes during those difficult times; as an entertainment portal that addresses diverse topics and as a supporting income source, giving birth to many amateur film critics. Binge-watching also became a trend during the pandemic, allowing audience to explore new cinemas and revisit some previous films. The interaction between Bollywood critic Youtubers and audience amidst all the controversies and debates became a pivotal point in the Indian media scene leading to many speculations on Bollywood film industry. Visualisation and audio content appear more convincing than traditional writing reviews. Using a conceptual framework and content analysis, this research will focus on popular Youtubers, “critics” of Bollywood, e.g. Deeksha Sharma (Filmi Indian), with more than three million subscribers. Each Youtuber has their style of presenting content and criticism based on their likings and understanding derived from their cinematic knowledge, experience as an audience, and inferences. This research seeks to understand Youtubers’ reviews’ influence on audience’s cinematic experience; how far watching a film from YouTuber’s gaze affects audience’s judgement, creating a sort of prejudice towards the piece of art. It also seeks to understand how far these reviews are genuine, free from YouTubers’ bias.