Sharad Malhotra believes talent alone is not enough for an actor to bag a project; it’s the social media following that dictates the verdict. Social media followers play a huge role in an actor’s career, believes Sharad ‐ who has one million followers on Instagram – so much so that one may either get or lose a project depending on their popularity.

“People form an opinion based on the number of followers one has on social media. Fortunately or unfortunately, such is the power and impact that many times the casting for a project also is dependent and gets a little influenced based on your popularity in the social media world,” he says. The actor seems saddened that talented people might end up losing out of work in the social media age.

“Unfortunately, talent gets overshadowed and someone much more deserving could lose out on work just because he/she might be less popular on social media compared to his contemporaries,” Sharad, who gained immense appreciation for his phenomenal acting in “Naagin 5”, observes. Likewise, the decision makers including producers, directors and casting agencies also scrutinize who is most revered among the audience.

“Especially with the influx of digital shows and the OTT world booming right now casting agencies/directors/producers all like to keep an eye on who’s popular and who’s influencing the space in its maximum capacity,” he says.

He further points out the advertisement world also banks heavily on this notion. “Brands also like to associate and collaborate with only those who have a good number of followers with a very good engagement ratio,” he says.

Eventually more traction on social media may result in big-fat cheque as well. “The monies keep getting bigger as the followers keep rising and if you touch the million followers mark everything and everyone wants to be on your verified page. With some talent and a million followers you might just grab an opportunity of a lifetime and get good roles too,” Sharad concludes.

Sharad icreated waves with “Naagin 5” co-star Surbhi Chandna for a music video recently.