MUMBAI: Yes, ’twas a bumpy, jumpy and tedious three hour ride when some 300 odd people were waiting for Aamir Khan to chat with them live on his official website, which was launched on 10 October. But in the end Khanâ€™s fans were disappointed and yet not!
Read on to know more about this paradox.
Lots of technical glitches apart, Khanâ€™s small fan base (300 is not a huge number keeping in mind the vast world wide web) that was online at the given hour waited for things to fall into place. Additionally, although ironically there werenâ€™t too many people, the 300 odd were a tad too many handle.
A first of a kind initiative taken by an Indian film star, the live chat with the webcam intact was a treat for the actorâ€™s fans who were waiting patiently for him to come online. And as was expected from the perfectionist Khan, he sprang up on the computer screen at sharp 9 pmâ€¦â€¦ or did he?
What one saw on the webcam screen was someone else laughing away to glory and chatting under Khanâ€™s name and telling the actorâ€™s fans he had fooled them all this while and that it wasnâ€™t Aamir at the other side of the computer who had been interacting with them! It then rained expletives from angry fans!
Of course there was frenzy amongst them and they believed the worst â€“ that Aamir Khanâ€™s website had been hacked. Ten minutes into the typical filmy drama, Khan indeed came in front of the camera and greeted his fans.
And then there was mayhem. Bloggers and chatters (if there is a word like that) went crazy greeting him. As an onlooker, it was impossible to catch what each one of them was saying. Reason: when compared to the screen size, the people chatting were one too many. A headache is what one got and of course there were complaints from his fans too about the same.
Hardly had Khan begun chatting that he went offline. And so it kept happening all thanks to either technical glitches or a problem with his laptop. Anxiety levels rose in the chat room. There was no way of even remotely gathering what his fans were saying as it was way too fast. (Something that definitely needs to be looked into)
Twenty minutes laterâ€¦. there was still no hope of having a decent conversation with the actor. Patience is what one needed to keep intact. Then one got a blog post from Khan saying â€“ â€˜Technical troubleâ€™. (As if we hadnâ€™t figured already!)
So the story goes – 9.30pm So sorry guys. Have been so looking forward to this chat, but we seem to be having some technical trouble. In fact the only time that it was working alright, I think, was when my friend Bhaga was online playing the devil. I barely got to the comp when it started to give up on me. The backend team is trying to workout how to solve the problem. Perhaps it is my comp, I told y’all machines don’t like me. What I’m going to do is I am getting into a car right now and driving to the office of the tech team. So if all goes well I should be on chat in 45 mts. In the meantime I will keep updating this post from my car. Like they say when you want to make God laugh tell him your plans! See you’ll soon … God willing. Love. Aamir.
Well, the dedicated actor was adamant on not disappointing his fans. And so they waited.
Half an hour later, pop comes another blog post. This time it read – 10pm. In the car and on my way. Hope that the traffic is kind to me. Wait for me. Am really disappointed this happened. Sorry guys.
â€˜Weâ€™ll waitâ€™ said they in unison.
The clock’s arm moved a quarter moreâ€¦. The actor blogged cursing Mumbai traffic – 10.15pm Bombay traffic, sometimes it reminds me of Bangalore. There is a bus driver in front of us who has jammed to road. Grrr.
And so they waited yet again. Yes they did! Some logged off but logged back just in time to catch Khan chatting again.
Ten minutes more into the hour and they were informed that they had to wait another 15 minutes. But no one was complaining because at the end of the day Aamir was making the effort and for who but his fans! Khan wrote – 10.25pm. I should be there in 15 mts. Thank god for this blog. At least I can keep you’ll posted. Am using my wirefree connection on my laptop to stay online. Was using this same laptop to chat. Was not having any problem with the net connection. For some reason my chat window was hanging on me. I believe the tech team at the office are testing the chat and I am told it working from there. Almost there now.
It was at 10.35 pm when he finally reached his designated place and logged back in. There were celebrations in the chat room. Their star was back.
Khan picked some five â€“ six fans to chat exclusively with him and was greeted with a surprised and filmy â€˜Haailaâ€™ (courtesy Andaz Apna Apna) from the first fan he spoke to!
Along came some more of them and Aamir chatted asked them where they were from, what they were doing and also picked up a challenge for a game of chess with one of the regular bloggers who incidentally had coined a new term â€“ â€˜Aamirianâ€™ for the actorâ€™s fan base. The bottom line â€“ he charmed his way in despite all the technical mishaps.
From the designated one hour (9 pm â€“ 10 pm) that he was â€˜supposedâ€™ to be there, Aamir stayed on for much longer. It was close to 11.50 pm when this writer had had enough. But of course the chat went on for some more time, wherein Khan also took a quick pee break!
Aamir Khan also revealed the first look of his directorial debut Taare Zameen Par â€“ via its official website â€“ www.taarezameenpar.com.
The initiative is much appreciated and other actors from the film fraternity must take a cue from Aamir and hop on to their official websites too. A website where fans can interact with them, post their views, get authentic information about the stars and much more can be the cynosure of all eyes.
On the other hand, technical glitches can play quite the spoilsport and users over the internet can get nasty if they donâ€™t get what they want. Moderating comments is yet another thing that needs to be looked into. Why let some anti-social elements spoil the fun for others?
Additionally, a good user experience is what one looks forâ€¦ so this official website still has miles to go. An easy-to-the-eye chat window, friendly features, no clutter etc is what is desired.
As compared to a handful of stars who have their official websites, this one seems to be more promising for sureâ€¦ all thanks to the live chat and blogging features one experiences. That personal touch from someone who is touted as being the most inaccessible sure works wonders and brings the â€˜WOWâ€™ factor in.
All said and done, not too good but not too bad either (the latter only coz he made that extra effort to overcome an unforeseen glitch). However, Aamir Khanâ€™s fans will surely hold him to his promise of constantly developing and evolving the website with additional features. And knowing the perfectionist Khan, heâ€™s sure to deliver on that.