Jolie No. 1, a visual data story from the social network analysis of actors

social network analysis of actors
Reading Time: 6 mins

Excerpt: Jolie No. 1 is a video data story created for the data storytelling hackathon by doing social network analysis of actors and actresses from Bollywood and Hollywood. Here’s a short guide on how we created this data story.

There are more Bollywood actors in Hollywood. Some are even turning down Hollywood roles. So we wondered: How easily can a Bollywood actor connect to a Hollywood actor?

AnandKishoreNiyas created  “Jolie No 1,” a data video where Govinda announces (in our imagination) that he will act with Angelina Jolie in Jolie No 1, but declines to comment on who introduced them.

We solve the mystery of who introduced them in the Gramener data storytelling hackathon.

Jolie No. 1 Video data story created using social network analysis

Picking the Theme

The hackathon theme was “movies”. We explored 5 themes:

  1. Who acts most in cameo roles, and what’s the impact on revenue? (Based on the Numbers)
  2. Which actors acted often together? (Based on IMDb data)
  3. Which movies become hits on TV? (Based on BARC TV data)
  4. What is the social network of actors in individual movies (
  5. Correlation of TV series actors and their revenues

Exploring insights doing the social network analysis

We picked the first two themes because we liked them.

1. Cameo appearances

Some observations were:

  • Stan Lee starred in 45 cameo roles. No one even comes close. Some roles are:
    • A school bus driver in Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
    • Strip club DJ in Deadpool (2016)
    • Hot-dog vendor in X-Men (1995)
  • Jay Leno (25) and Larry King (21) follow, mostly starring as themselves
  • Alfred Hitchcock (16) has famous cameo appearances in most of his films, such as:
    • A Man mailing letter in Suspicion (1941)
    • The Man winding the clock in Rear Window (1954)
    • A Man walking the docs in The Birds (1963)

We didn’t have inflation-adjusted box-office revenues, so we couldn’t compare the revenues.

2. Which actors acted often together

Some observations were:

  • Top hero-heroine combo:
    • Overall: Prem Nazir & Jayabharati
    • Hollywood: Billy Dee & Mike Horner (pornstars)
    • Tollywood: Krishna Ghattamaneni & Jaya Prada
    • Bollywood: Jeetendra & Rekha
  • Top male combo: Sivaji Ganesan & Nagesh (more recently, Senthil & Goundamani)
  • Most female combination: Lalitha & Padmini
  • Top pairs:
    • Shah Rukh Khan: Rani Mukherji
    • Amitabh Bachchan: Hema Malini
    • Kamal Haasan: Sridevi
    • Rajinikanth: Sridevi
    • Sridevi: Krishna Ghattamaneni
    • Chiranjeevi: Vijayshanti
    • Dev Anand: Madhubala

The observations from the social network analysis of actors focus on Bollywood and Hollywood (because of our familiarity). However, there is a number of insights into Japanese and French films too.

We decided to go with this theme because it offered multiple storylines:

  • Some actors pair up with each other, e.g. Gemini – Savithri.
  • Some actors have a big “following” e.g. Rajinikanth, Kamal Hassan, Jitendra have acted most with Sridevi.
  • Some actors form cliques – working only with each other.
  • Often, comedians are the bridge between cliques.
  • It’s interesting to see how actors from one clique can connect to another.

Creating the storyline with the Social Network Structure

When exploring of actors’ connections, we found a clearly delineated network structure.

social network analysis of actors from bollywood, tollywood, mollywood, and kollywood.
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Social network analysis of actors from Bollywood, Tollywood, Mollywood, and Kollywood.

The group of densely clustered actors is the Bollywood-Tollywood-Mollywood-Kollywood nexus. It appears disconnected from the Hollywood cluster. (We excluded anyone who hadn’t acted together in at least 4 films.)

The data was created using this Jupyter notebook.

We realized that it’s tough for someone in Bollywood to connect to Hollywood. Maybe that could be the plot? For example, what if Amitabh Bachchan wants to act with Meryl Streep?

But this isn’t an interesting story. So we asked:

  • Who is the most desirable heroine in Hollywood? Our guess was Angelina Jolie.
  • Who would make a funny co-actor? We toggled between Rajanikanth, Brahmanandam, and finally picked Govinda.

The plot summary was: Govinda wants to act with Angelina Jolie. Who can connect them?

The analysis is in this Jupyter notebook.

Writing the screenplay

The morning of the hackathon was spent finalizing the screenplay and dialogues, written on Dropbox Paper.

    - Visual: Video of Govinda "declining James Cameron's Avatar" on Aap Ki Adalat
    - Niyas: On July 29, 2019, Govinda announces that he declined a role in Avatar.
    - Video:
    - Picture:

    - Visual: Show an interview video of Govinda and of Angelina
    - Niyas: Today, he announced his next film with Angelina Jolie.
             A “close friend” connected them, but didn't say who.
    - Kishore: Who is this close friend? Why is he not naming them?
    - Video: (Govinda)
    - Video: (Angelina)
    - Visual: Show the top 9 heroines Govinda has acted with.
                11 Neelam Kothari
                10 Kimi Katkar
                10 Karisma Kapoor
                 9 Raveena Tandon
                 9 Farha Naaz
                 8 Juhi Chawla
                 6 Anita Raj
                 6 Mandakini
                 5 Shilpa Shetty Kundra 
              Visualize this data with animation.
              One option is to have Govinda’s pic in the center,
              and have each of these 9 heroine’s images appear around him
              as a circle, with the number of pictures in a link.
              Or as the inverse link distance (e.g. 11 is closest)

    - Niyas: Maybe it’s because it’s one of his heroines?
             He’s mostly acted with Neelam, Kimi and Karishma.
             But none of them has acted with any Hollywood actor.

    - Visual: Add these actors with pics to the same visual,
              but clearly differentiated by gender. Also add their names.
                22 Shakti Kapoor
                18 Kader Khan
                13 Gulshan Grover
                 9 Anupam Kher
                 8 Dharmendra
                 7 Johnny Lever
                 6 Sadashiv Amrapurkar
                 6 Vikas Anand
                 6 Prem Chopra
                 6 Asrani
    - Kishore: So maybe this “close friend” is a male actor?
    - Niyas: He’s acted with Gulshan Grover, Kader Khan and Shakti Kapoor a lot.
    - Kishore: Shakti Kapoor is practically his boyfriend!

    - Visual: Zoom into Gulshan Grover and Anupam Kher.
              Build a network of film posters around them
              with their Hollywood films (max 2-4)
        - Anupam Kher
            - Bend It Like Beckham
            - Lust & Caution
            - Silver Linings Playbook
            - A Family Man
        - Gulshan Grover
            - Prisoners of the Sun
            - The Second Jungle Book
            - Marigold
            - Monsoon
    - Niyas: Gulshan Grover and Anupam Kher have acted in a number of Hollywood films
    - Kishore: But have they acted with Angelina Jolie?
    - Niyas: No, never with Angelina Jolie.
    - Kishore: But what if any of them connected him to someone who connected him to Angelina?

    - Visual: Show Angelina Jolie with ~100 actors around her. Highlight the following:
        - Jack Black, 3
        - Dustin Hoffman, 3
        - Giovanni Ribisi, 2
        - Robert De Niro, 2
        - Brad Pitt, 2
        - Elle Fanning, 2
        - Bryan Cranston, 2
        - 92 other actors with only 1 film each
        - Highlight Irrfan Khan — A Mighty Heart
    - Niyas: Angelina Jolie has acted with less than 100 actors.
             Dustin Hoffman and Jack Black, mostly.
             Only one of them is an Indian actor: Irrfan Khan

    - Visual: Expand the connection between Angelina and Irrfan
    - Kishore: So, Govinda needs to connect to Irrfan Khan somehow.

    - Visual: Connect Govinda to Irrfan Khan via
        - Gulshan Grover via Knock Out
        - Sanjay Dutt via Knock Out
        - Tabu via Saajan Chale Sasural, Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya (and 2 others)    
    - Niyas: That should be easy.
             Gulshan Grover and Irrfan Khan have acted together in Knock Out.
             So has Sanjay Dutt.
             But Tabu will be a better option. Govinda and Irrfan Khan have acted with her in 4 movies each.

    - Visual: Show path from Govinda to Tabu to Irrfan to Angelina.
    - Kishore: Then, Govinda must have connected to Tabu
               who introduced him to Irrfan Khan,
               who in turn connected him with Angelina Jolie.

Creating the video data story

Anand and Niyas created the visuals on PowerPoint, collaborating on Dropbox. This is the first version of the presentation. It uses morph transitions extensively.

PPT screenshot taken during creation of a data story on social network analysis.
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Niyas and Kishore recorded the audio in 2 parts on their phone, shared it with Anand via WhatsApp. We integrated these using the Windows 10 video editor. It’s simplistic but good enough for our purposes. Given the time constraint, simplicity was more important.

The process right from doing social network analysis to creating the video data story took 6 hours (from 8 am to 2 pm).

  • Writing the screenplay and dialogues: 1.5 hours
  • Creating the presentation: 2 hours
  • Recording the audio: 1 hour
  • Integrating into the video: 1.5 hours

At the last minute, we picked the title “Jolie No. 1” as a parody of Govinda’s No. 1 film series.

Finally, we published this social network analysis data story on Google Drive, and then on YouTube.

More Data Stories from Previous Hackathons

The Data Storytelling Hackathons is a tradition at Gramener. We organize it on the 2nd Friday of every month. You can join us through Meetup or by emailing us at For more data stories, check out the links to our early hackathons.

  1. Data Talkies: Video Data Stories and Visualizations with a Play Button
  2. Physical Data Visualizations: Did you know, you could touch data?
  3. Visual data Storytelling examples to inspire you to create data narratives
  4. Data Storytelling Bootcamp bestowed a flood of insights and stories
  5. 14 Data GIF Examples For New-age Data Storytelling

If you like this story, do let us know in the comments. Share it with your friends and excite them to create similar data stories. Share your stories with us on social media by tagging us @gramener.

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