Although Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan did not deliver a box office hit in 2011, this did not stop him from being crowned India’s Twitter king.
Big B was the most popular Indian celebrity on the micro-blogging site in 2011, with over 1.85 million followers on Jan. 1. The host of India’s edition of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” claimed last year’s title after overtaking 2010’s Twitter queen Priyanka Chopra, who came a close second, ending the year with around 1.84 million followers.
What’s the secret behind Mr. Bachchan’s Twitter success? Not only is he one of the best-known Bollywood names globally: While celebrities often refrain from tweeting on their private lives, last year Mr. Bachchan has been anything but reclusive on Twitter.
In June he broke the news of his daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai’s pregnancy and in November he tweeted in excitement after the birth of his second granddaughter, who was immediately dubbed “Baby B.”
Following Bollywood diva Ms. Chopra is cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, who ranked third with over 1.78 million followers, most of whom have been eagerly awaiting his 100th ton since March last year. Though the little master seldom tweets, ardent cricket fans have set him trending on the micro-blogging site pretty much each time he set foot on the pitch.
Bollywood’s “King Khan” is unlikely to shy away from popularity rankings. Sure enough, he came fourth with over 1.61 million Twitter followers, over 100,000 ahead of actor Aamir Khan, who ranks fifth. The other Khan, Salman, came sixth with around 1.5 million followers.
Twitter’s year-end statistics for India are more Bollywood-heavy than last year’s, when the followers of politician Shashi Tharoor outnumbered both Mr. Bachchan’s and Mr. Tendulkar’s. The Congress party lawmaker is still the most followed tweeter in Delhi, but with around 1.2 million followers he comes nowhere close the top five nation-wide.
Indian celebrities were no match for global superstars, many of whom have a fan following on Twitter in the 10-to-20 million range. Pop diva Lady Gaga tops the list with over 17 million followers followed by teenage sensation Justin Bieber, who has 16 million followers. Not a single Indian made it on the list of the top 100 most-followed celebrities of the year, which includes the likes of U.S. President Barack Obama, the Dalai Lama and Brazilian soccer star Kaka.
To spot the first Indian, you have to dig 12 pages deep into the list after which Mr. Bachchan finally appears at No. 244.
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