How to prepare and survive war from home

As appeared on Medium

Original article link: https://medium.com/@mediamughal/how-to-prepare-and-survive-war-from-home-f83adec23c72

Tensions often grow between countries to the extent when things come to a boil and bring nations on the brink of war. Of course, no sensible person wants war, but in case it has to happen, you need to know how to be prepared for it. Mass Media student Anchal Sujanti spoke to PR guru Dale Bhagwagar to find out how people could prepare and survive war from home. Here is a summary from her conversation with the public relations expert.

Stock up

During a war, everything becomes expensive. Retailers might want to take undue advantage of such a situation. After a point, shops near you could close down as well. Black markets may thrive. So you need to stock up on food with longer shelf life — items such as wheat flour, rice, pulses, cooking oils, frozen foods, packed instant noodles, jams, honey, sugar, tea, coffee, biscuits, snacks, energy bars, corn flakes, oats, dry fruits — stuff that could not only feed you and your family, but also maintain energy levels.

Not to forget, lots and lots of drinking water to keep you hydrated. There are high chances of electricity cuts during war, and these can quickly lead to water shortages. Also remember vehicle fuel and cooking gas supplies.

Filling up the fuel tank could be a good idea, in case you need to make any emergency trips. Keeping some raw vegetables and fresh fruits in your initial stock can help, in case of lack of cooking gas supply. Some with a wider vision, may stock up immunity boosters and anti-septic naturals like turmeric, garlic and ginger.

A helping hand

In a crisis, life is more difficult if you try and survive alone. But if you have the support of your family members, close friends and trusted neighbours, you could share resources, which could make things easier. Plus, caring communities can also be of great moral support and reduce fear. Help the injured. Don’t forget that you too could be in their place and would want others to help you. Children too need to be explained rules and the importance of discipline in the event of any possible mishap.

Find sources of correct information

During a war, it is vital to find authentic news from the right sources. In such situations, the government normally sets up websites and helplines which could keep you aware of developments. In case your phone, cable TV and internet networks are down, you could tune in to the radio to get authentic news updates. Whatever be the case, beware of fake news and false propaganda, whether it is through the internet or through rumours. When in doubt, cross check and double check.

Keep these basic tools ready

At such times, the administration generally switches off electricity at nights and instructs people to keep lights off, so that enemy planes cannot easily spot places to target and bomb. You might be instructed to draw curtains and use very dim lights when necessary. In such circumstances, you will need a decent torch and a good stock of candles.

Also, batteries to keep your phones, radios and laptops charged and running for news flow and to react on emergencies. Whichever gadgets require USB charging, keep them fully charged in advance.

Your building society should also ensure that your building has all the firefighting equipment like fire extinguishers in a working condition. For worse situations, face masks could also be kept in handy, in case a fire breaks out in the building. Mind you, in such situations, many collapse due to the smoke first.

Decide on your personal shelter space

During the World Wars, there used to be huge bunkers and shelters, where people could go and hide during bombing air-raids. But in today’s time and age, we do not have such bunkers in cities. Neither does the government have means to build shelters for a large population at short notice. So the best place where one can be safe is probably their own house.

Every house has a place where you can hide a bit, in case of a bombing. When war breaks out, your family immediately needs to decide on nooks and corners inside your house where you can take shelter, in case you spot any enemy planes approaching. You need to plan in advance and designate places you would want to duck in, whether it is a wardrobe enclosure, bathroom, or under tables or beds.

This is mainly done to safeguard yourself from any debris that may fall from the ceiling or any portion of your house which may collapse with the impact of a bombing. Make sure you do not designate such spaces in the kitchen or near glass windows or mirrors. You need to make a Plan A, Plan B and even Plan C, because in a deep crisis situation, you will not have time to understand what would happen at the next moment. It is important to understand that wars are not fought in the conventional way anymore and weapons of mass destruction are more and more powerful now.

Don’t forget cash

One of the most important things you would need is cash. If nearby banks are closed, you would need cash in hand to buy whatever available goods you can. So, withdraw and keep a decent amount of cash at home, which can come of help to survive the war period. Also, be prepared to barter stuff with your friends and neighbours.

Do you have your medical supplies?

Also make sure that you have a proper first aid kit, along with all the basic medical supplies you might need — like paracetamol tablets, adhesive bandages, sterile gauze pads, cotton bandages, topical antiseptic liquid etc — and also your daily medicinal, vitamin or protein requirements, if any. Though it may sound trivial, you could also pay some attention on stocking up personal hygiene items like soap, toothpaste, health oils and other bathroom essentials.

Keep calm, smile and survive

Last but not the least, you need to remember that when you panic, you tend to make wrong decisions. In a crisis, stress management is crucial. When the situation gets aggravated to such a great level, people can snap often and tempers can flow. So one needs to pay a lot of attention to keep the mind calm.

This can be done through listening to music, watching movies (if you have the means), reading inspiring books, watching motivational videos and keeping yourself busy with some entertainment to reduce stress throughout the day. Meditation could also help.

Since one can’t stay indoors all day, you would also need to find a safe space to move around and exercise, as movement is crucial to a healthy mind and body. Maybe a corridor, your building lobby or even the basement. Of course, a little bit of sunlight could be a bonus.

Remember that war can bring untold disasters like black-outs, riots, societal corruption, martial law, and even biological, chemical and nuclear events. The key is to be mentally as well as physically prepared for any situation that is thrown upon you. These points will definitely go a long way in helping you and your family survive. Take care, stay prepared, protect yourself and keep smiling. Rock on.

How Bollywood PR has evolved over the last 25 years

As appeared on Medium

Original article link: https://medium.com/@bollywoodfeatures/how-bollywood-pr-has-evolved-over-the-last-25-years-a9adf7743453

Entertainment PR has evolved from straight-forward propaganda to notorious manipulative tactics. Anchal Sujanti takes you through the journey of Bollywood PR over the past 25 years, as she gives you insights about people and situations that gave shape to this current brand of public relations.

A few days ago, a journalist wrote a tweet criticizing PR professionals. “The role of PR machinery is to facilitate communication between journalists and corporates. But it seems PRs take a call on what stories to be pitched and to which paper. Sad!” she wrote. Her tweet generated some interest. However, the most significant response came from Bollywood publicist Dale Bhagwagar.

The Twitter screenshot.

In a shocking admission of the PR-state-of-affairs, he responded to the tweet, saying, “Role of PRs is not only to “facilitate.” It’s to convince, brainwash, manipulate journalists to agree; and influence public opinion using them, the same way scribes use PRs to source stories. Just as scribes have right to refuse, PRs can decide whom to pitch.” Woah! What a brutally honest answer! Dale went on to add a link of the legendary Bob Dylan song, ‘The Times Are A Changin’ to the tweet.

And who can forget those famous lines:

“Come writers and critics

Who prophesize with your pen

And keep your eyes wide

The chance won’t come again

And don’t speak too soon

For the wheel’s still in spin

And there’s no tellin’ who

That it’s namin’.

For the loser now

Will be later to win

For the times they are a-changin’.”

How relevant they still are to the changing times in journalism and PR. While admitting to the devilishly mischievous manipulative ways of PR specialists, Dale knew exactly what he was talking about. After all, he has been one of the Indian entertainment PR industry’s most significant agent of change. Which is why, it is impossible to sum up how Bollywood PR has evolved in the last 25 years, without understanding the phenomenon he created for the profession.

His ways, good and manipulative, brought about a paradigm shift which benefits all PR professionals in this day and age. Over the years, the publicist has handled PR for more than two hundred actors including names such as Hrithik Roshan, Govinda, Shilpa Shetty, Priyanka Chopra, Vivek Oberoi and movies including Don and Rock On!!, apart from various contestants of India’s biggest reality show Bigg Boss. He also handled publicity for Shilpa Shetty during the time she participated in and won the worlds №1 reality television show Celebrity Big Brother in the United Kingdom.

In the testimonials section of his website, you can find some of the who’s who of mainstream media praising him. Sudhir Chaudhary has called him “a very good publicist,” while Prabhu Chawla has termed him “one of the most efficient PRs in Bollywood.” The most controversial publicist of the world Max Clifford, has described him as “the best PR to go to in India,” while Shobhaa De has called him “an on-the-ball (well-informed) publicist.” What’s more! There are some words of praise even from media magnate Vineet Jain, the Managing Director of Times Group, saying, “You have done a remarkable job for Shilpa Shetty.”

The PR giants

Research reveals, a little before the 90s there were some PR greats who ruled the roost in Indian film industry. These included stalwarts such as Bunny Reuben, Gopal Pandey, Hilla Sethna, RR Pathak, Raju Kariya, Rajendra Rao, Keshav Rai, Arun-Gaja and Ajit Ghosh.

Bollywood PRs of the 90s: Gopal Pandey, Peter Martis, Indermohan Pannu, Alok Mathur, Neelam Guupta, Shahid, Parag Desai, Dale Bhagwagar, Wasim Siddique, Pritam Sharma and others.

Currently, apart from Dale, there are some great individual PRs and independent PR agencies doing amazing work in the entertainment media. There are prominent agencies like Prabhat Choudhary’s Spice PR, Rohini Iyer’s Raindrop Media, Parag Desai’s Universal Communications, Anusha Srinivasan Iyer’s Naarad PR & Image Strategists, Nilufer Qureshi’s Hype, Parul Chawla’s Picture N Kraft, Himanshu Jhunjhunwala’s Dwapar, Dolly Bhattar’s Brand N Buzz, Neelam Guupta’s NR2 — The Image Engineers, Vipul Sipani’s Media Monster, well-known names including Parull Gossain, Prashant Golecha and Pritam Sharma, and digital PR agency Everymedia.

Change is constant

But the industry scenario was very different in the nineties compared to how it is now. There was no online media back then. India’s №1 Bollywood trade analyst, Taran Adarsh reminisces, “I remember when I used to work in Trade Guide in the 80s, PRs used to send the news handwritten on paper or on a typewriter. They would invite journalists to mahurats, shootings and even at song recordings. It used to be a long process back then. The media was not so widespread, and only 20–30 journalists would be there at press screenings.”

“We had Bunny Reuben and Gopal Pandey as PRs in the early days. Now we have a new breed of publicists who know how to create a buzz. I would not like to go into names, but they are young and bright minds, who know how to use technology really well,” adds Adarsh, who is one of the greatest forces to reckon with in Bollywood journalism since decades.

More Bollywood PRs of the 90s: Ajit Ghosh, RR Pathak, Hilla Sethna, Rajendra Rao, Raju Kariya, Keshav Rai, Dale Bhagwagar, Parag Desai, Susheel Sharma and others.

Veteran journalist-cum-publicist Indermohan Pannu echoes, “In the 90s, we had no emails or WhatsApp and sometimes press releases would be accompanied by handwritten request notes from PRs. It used to be a tedious job. Box-office collections from across the country used to be sent via telegrams. Couriers were also not well-serviced at that time. PRs used to get press releases typed, xeroxed and couriered in the hundreds along with multiple photographs. All of this was very time-consuming.”

He adds, “There were no channels dedicated to Bollywood and only a few publications were there. Many newspapers did not have dedicated sections or supplements for Bollywood news. I remember that Navbharat Times used to carry film news only on Fridays, while The Times Of India waited to carry the film reviews on Sundays.”

“In the olden times, there were PRs like Bunny Reuben who used to handle the publicity for actors like Raj Kapoor. It used to be a relation-based industry and artistes used to keep PRs on retainer with fixed salaries for long. When technology came in, many PRs could not adapt and stopped getting work. Some of the huge names who had been in the profession for decades, disappeared from the scene within 5–6 years. PR agencies, including corporate firms, came into the picture. Technology is the key, which Dale Bhagwagar has been using most extensively over the years,” concludes Pannu.

The paradigm shift

“Beginning in PR around mid-nineties, Dale brought more respect to the profession as he emerged as one of the classiest to deal with. He had that spark in him to bring about change in the way business was carried in the profession. Though at that time, not many would have predicted his rise,” says senior journalist and eminent author Chaitanya Padukone, who has been in entertainment journalism for over three decades.

A little more probing and internet research about the changes Dale has brought to the profession, and a clearer picture emerges. Apart from his PR press releases and handouts to journalists being in impeccable English, Dale also insisted that all his clients sign legal agreements. In those days, Bollywood deals worked more-or-less on word-of-mouth, and PR agreements were almost unheard of. So he began convincing his PR clients for agreements on his agency letterheads, and then moved on to legal agreements.

He also introduced the practice of monthly advance payments to the profession, in order to safeguard himself and others. At a time when all content, including images, was sent on paper, he was the first publicist in the industry to adopt to email. He goaded journalists to check their mails regularly, so that they wouldn’t miss out on the latest content, along with high-resolution pictures he sent. He began writing PR columns in film trade magazines. Dale also became the first PR in the entertainment industry to adapt to the web, launching the world’s first free of copyright website then, which was inaugurated by none other than the veteran PR Bunny Reuben.

Entertainment PR industry veteran Bunny Reuben at the inauguration of publicist Dale Bhagwagar’s PR agency website.

“Dale’s constant focus on change has resulted in him being leagues ahead of many. PR practices he brought to the profession then, have now become the norm. He is one of the longest surviving PRs in Bollywood, and still sets the agenda on how PR evolves in the industry, by talking about it on PR websites, television channels, social media, in various colleges, PR forums, blogs, etc,” points out public affairs consultant Rahul Jain, who has worked in corporate PR agencies Perfect Relations, Edelman and Avian Media.

Futuristic, the buzzword

Vipul Sipani, a social media expert and the founder of Media Monster, one of Bollywood’s leading media agencies says, “Since the last few decades, all PRs have been trying to adopt to changing times. But no one had understood the need for future generations of publicists like Dale has. Just look at his Google presence and you will understand what I am saying.”

A few years ago, Dale began addressing the media as a spokesperson to all his clients whenever they would fall into controversy He even went out of his way to take time to train gen next by giving multiple guest lecturers to mass communication students on journalism and PR.

He is also the only celebrity publicist who has been quoted in every prominent newspaper and television channel in India, as also in various international media outlets such as BBC, CNN, The New York Times, Sky News and The Washington Post. As a matter of fact, he has been quoted in as many as thirty countries, which places him amongst the ranks of the most talked-about and extensively-quoted film publicists in the world.

Innovation rocks

Meanwhile, there is another major shift in media due to the prominence of social media. Fenil Seta, an accomplished journalist and upcoming filmmaker feels, “The workload for PRs has definitely increased. But PRs have become more creative. They don’t want a film to have the usual formula kind of promotions. Now they bring ideas and strategies which are customized for specific projects.”

He goes on to give examples of Ranveer Singh visiting a naval ship during the marketing of Simmba, and the promotions of Shah Rukh Khan’s Zero which took place at a venue that was made to resemble Meerut, replete with a paan shop, jalebi stall etc. “The visuals and pictures of these are shared by the attendees and the novelty factor helps this content to trend online and get talked about,” remarks Seta.

The internet of things

“There has been one more change in the approach of PRs. Compared to the traditional print media, many publicists have begun focusing more on web media as they are giving more and more importance to the archive value of news,” says Vipul Sipani.

“Nowadays, there is a media blitz and PRs rely more on sensationalism and controversy to hype their clients, like the #MeToo campaign,” remarks Chaitanya Padukone.

Freelance journalist Noyon Jyoti Parasara, who has also worked with The Times of India’s leading tabloid Mumbai Mirror admits, “We are fast moving from print and radio towards television and internet mediums. PRs are also changing tactics in the emerging scenario. The media boom has created a situation where there is so much to do, and we are falling short.”

When spin sucks

Parasara points out that though Dale was the first publicist to target web media, he has been taking too many risks. On probing more, we find out a dark side of Dale. Turns out, he is not only known for positive developments in the media, but also notoriously famous for beginning the practice of PRs cutting off their clients’ direct access to journalists. “After Dale began handling scandals and controversies for his clients, he asked them not to speak directly to journalists and editors. He is said to have even added restrictive clauses in his PR agreements, stating that he would be a ‘one-stop contact point’ between actors and media. This kind of manipulative PR control hardly happened before he came in prominence,” reveals Parasara.

True! An article on the net describes an instance when Dale came under heavy criticism from industry folks like Mahesh Bhatt, Konkana Sen Sharma and Anupam Kher. The reason — he got portions of a film review changed on a website, just because he felt the reviewer was unkind to one of his clients. Though journalists snarl at such PR censorship, Dale’s clients seem to love the hand-holding and big-daddy approach.

He is also accused of ‘prioritizing’ media to ‘selectively’ release photo-shoot images of his clients. On condition of anonymity, a veteran journalist divulges that “a decade ago, Dale began giving access to photographic content only to his friends in media and only those publications and websites who would let him have control over their stories. His reasoning was that journalists could create written content without his support, but they would have to come to him if he choked the supply of photographic content. Of course, that approach hardly works today, as journalists can easily pick up content from the net.”

“His worst arm-twisting tactics for journalists were when he would sometimes insist on copy approvals (going through journalist’s stories before they appeared in print) and even the practice of offering new controversies to journalists in return for killing certain stories on his PR clients,” discloses the source.

The source exposes the publicist further, stating, “he also has stealth means of news distribution, and even has some journalist friends double up as his spies in media. Plus, he has tied up with a few upcoming PRs to plug and plant content for him. In fact, he has even pompously admitted to such guerrilla PR tactics on his Facebook and blog.”

Finding morality in spin!

But how is that even possible? The source explains, “Dale does not have any dearth of new PR people willing to toe his line, as he has guided and mentored many of them through his lectures at colleges. Some of his students even work in other PR agencies, but stay in touch with him and respect him for training them. And he uses their connect for his gain.”

With such a network in place, Dale may have enough influence to plug and plant stories or even spread rumours in the film industry to benefit his PR clients. The strange part is, this PR does a balancing act between morality and spin.

As publicist Rahul Jain puts it, “Dale has always talked about journalistic and PR ethics in most of his interviews. And inspite of his PR maneuvers, no one has doubted his moral values and integrity. Since he is a loyalist to his friends and a master of words, he can well juggle these topics.”

Great PR is now about control

Meanwhile, times continue to change. The use of smartphones is increasing and gen Z wants everything easy and fast. Social media helps in doing so, by providing breaking news within seconds. To quote Mumbai’s leading social media specialist Sampath Iyenger, “It’s important for an entertainment industry person to have a website, a Twitter account, an Instagram account and also a Facebook account and Page, all managed professionally, with posts at regular intervals.”

World in your hands

Digital PR expert and founder director of Sarvashreshtha Solutions, Mayura Amarkant has some interesting insight. “Just travel in a city local train and observe how the poorest person carries a smartphone and watches content on the internet. There is a constant fight for eyeballs among apps, social media platforms, and independent entertainment avenues. Gaming has also taken over the screen time.”

She makes it a point to add, “With screens getting smaller and each individual having their own handheld device, the challenges in the entertainment PR industry are getting bigger.” In the past, Amarkant has been the Head of Communication Management at the high-profile Whistling Woods International — School of Media & Communication located at Filmcity, Mumbai. She is also a National Award Winner as Woman Business Leader in Digital Marketing and PR.

But new-age filmmaker and freelance journalist Prashen Kyawal feels that the increasing use of online media has made us complacent and careless. “The time saved due to digitalization should have been used more in quality writing and editing, but that’s not happening! Also, the respect and grace associated with television journalism has been nose-diving because of too many media portals competing for the same celebrity’s bytes.”

Sampath Iyengar notes, “The moment somebody does a web search on an entertainment industry person, all the relevant stuff should come up — for example, one’s personal website, Wikipedia page, IMDB page, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram accounts, and most importantly, news features on prominent Bollywood websites. The main point is that the sources of information should be authentic and reliable. Industry people should also have a good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) team in place to manage web content.”

Is print media really dying?

Whenever one talks about changes in media, we often gets to hear the line ‘Print media is dying’. So is that really true? “Not at all,” says Fenil Seta. “Print media is still as relevant as before. Newspapers still have a wide reach. Morning newspapers are a habit, and that won’t go away so easily. It’s like saying restaurants have become irrelevant, because online delivery apps have entered our market.”

While Vipul Sipani and Prashen Kyawal agree with Seta, they feel that print media may not survive beyond 15–20 years. They observe that since the youth finds newspaper reading quite an effort, they will soon depend only on electronic gadgets for all of their news.

The last word

Taran Adarsh who has shifted to digital media, sums it up. “The biggest advantage of online media is speed. You can get the latest news instantly, that too on your phones. Videos and pictures can also be uploaded from anywhere and have a global reach. We are in an age where ‘information drives business’. What more can one ask for.”

‘Feminism’ is bad for women, feels Bollywood publicist Dale Bhagwagar

As appeared on Urban Asian

Original article: https://urbanasian.com/whats-happenin/2017/03/feminism-is-bad-for-women-feels-bollywood-publicist-dale-bhagwagar/

“Being a PR guy talking about ‘feminism’, may seem as if I am siding with some of my controversial hoity-toity Bollywood clients. However, I feel that people from the Indian film industry often objectify the word,” says Bollywood PR guru Dale Bhagwagar who has been a publicist to some of the grittiest female celebrities.

As a Bollywood public relations professional and a spokesperson to many celebrities, over the years you’ve worked with several female clients who have been scrutinized by the media in one way or the other. What was your journey like, working with women in the spotlight?

Luckily, I have had a chance to work with some of the boldest and strongest ladies in the industry. I don’t know why they have an affinity towards me, but over time, mostly all my PR clients have blindly trusted me while I have been in charge of their brands and images. And that’s something I really feel proud about. Of course, my PR clients hire me for publicity, hype and crisis management… but I have always told them to follow their hearts. And you know what? The media automatically loves stars who do things from their heart.

Yes, we feel that is how Shilpa Shetty won Celebrity Big Brother in the UK while you were handling the media for her in the outside world.

I worked with her for almost seven years, and found her to be one of the most genuine persons in Bollywood. Apart from being a good actress, she has always been a compassionate human being. And all that goodness worked for her magically on the reality show. See, on a show like Big Brother where cameras follow you 24×7, one can’t follow a PR strategy or have a plan. Because it could all go for a toss there. The best plan is to be your real self and if one is a good person, that comes across on TV. But then, Shilpa is much more than just a good person. She is also a fighter and that stood her in great stead on the show. Apart from winning it, she emerged an international icon against racism — a kind of unique brand for the whole world to look up to.

Aha! Love the way you describe it. You also handled the PR for Priyanka Chopra in her initial days as an actress. Didn’t you?

Yes, I found Priyanka an extremely focused and professional person. After she became Miss World, during her initial days in Bollywood, she faced a lot of controversies and it was interestingly challenging for me to handle her media work for around two years.



You’ve had several instances where your female clients were subject to false rumors and defamation. How easy or difficult is it for publicists to control such rumors about women when compared to male clients?

I’ve worked with a lot of male artists too, like Hrithik Roshan, Randeep Hooda, Govinda, Vivek Oberoi and even with the evergreen legend Dev Anand; a charmer of women even in his eighties. But let me be brutally honest with you. Handling the media for a female artist is much easier than publicizing with a male artist. Because the media is always more attracted towards the female form. Television media runs for footage, and the print and internet media laps up their pictures for news, web wallpapers or photo galleries. While I was looking after the PR for Shilpa Shetty, yesteryears Hollywood superstar Richard Gere planted pecks on her cheeks at an event, and the media went gaga over it terming the pecks as kisses. The news hit front page headlines and I had an amazing PR time encasing the hype for almost a month across all media platforms. I wonder if the media would have gone berserk like that if say, Angelina Jolie had planted pecks on an Indian male actor’s cheeks. Do you get the drift?

Yeah! Talking about hype, do you think Bollywood is frivolous about feminism?

Being a PR guy talking about ‘feminism‘, may seem as if I am siding with some of my controversial hoity-toity Bollywood clients. However, I feel that people from the Indian film industry often objectify even the word.

Any instances of women empowerment that you have dealt with, which stuck with you or taught you a life-lesson, if any?

Oh, there have been lots. Writer and filmmaker Vinta Nanda who has been one of my longest-running clients, has been a crusader when it comes to women empowerment. And I have had a lot of chances to work on social awareness projects with her. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that I am the only spin doctor from Bollywood who has managed loads of mileage for charity and social causes. I’ve publicized an annual conclave called Elevate dedicated to the uplift-ment of women, been part of the Jaag India Movement during Mumbai floods, The Village Project NGO, a short-film festival Vastav – The Reality, and a civil societies revolution movement Staying Alive. Plus, I’ve worked of the PR for projects of The Third Eye program in Mumbai; in partnership between the ‘Asian Centre for Entertainment Education’ (ACEE), India, and ‘Hollywood, Health and Society’ (HH&S), Norman Lear Centre, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA, and funded by The ‘Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation‘. All of these have centered around women and spearheaded by Ms Nanda. Apart from them, I’ve worked for Renuka Chaudhary’s (a former Union minister of State for Ministry of Women and Child Development in the Government of India) daughter, Poojita Chaudhary’s documentary Gender Bender. Also publicized Miss World Diana Hayden’s contribution to building homes in Los Angeles under a charity project called Power Women, Power Tools. And yes, apart from some thirty odd movies, I’ve handled the PR for Priety Zinta’s woman-oriented super-hit starrer Kya Kehna during the time I started out in my profession.

That’s quite a lot indeed. But you mentioned the words “spin doctor” while answering that. As a PR specialist, do you even need to spin for social causes.

Lol. I should admit, you are good at catching words!! Yes, I do spin for PR of social projects too. Thing is, the media wants spice all the time and social causes would be drab for them to publish if I wouldn’t highlight the glamorous aspects in them. So I do play with words to an extent, as long as its ethical and I’m not bluffing or crossing the line. I’m pretty old-school. I’ve been a journalist before turning PR. Ethics matter a lot to me even when I have to sensationalize news for the gossip hungry media.

According to you what reforms are necessary in India to achieve equality?

The biggest reform should be to first banish the word ‘feminism‘. In my opinion, there shouldn’t be anything like feminism at all. Because the very word brings a thought, not about distinction, but about differentiation — which makes it bad for women. It muddles up the whole concept of equality. Feminism represents the fight to be equal. But when women are equal to men, why do they need the subject of feminism. The more people talk and scream about feminism, the more they highlight inequality. Isn’t it? But if we still have to use the word with the meaning it was coined with, then I feel ‘feminism‘ should be talked about in the sense of something to be felt and realized — not something which needs to be spoken about town or asserted in media. According to me, a true feminist would be a person who realizes its essence without having to speak the word ever.

While majority victims in domestic cases are females, males who face the brunt of domestic violence are often ignored. What are your thoughts on this statement?

Sometimes females do misuse their gender and explore loopholes in law. I have been approached by a couple of actresses who wanted to go to the police station or send legal notices to guys to attract media attention. It’s a PR, PR, PR world and I am not averse to that kind of publicity. But I cross-question such actresses and investigate with my past journalistic instincts to find out if their case is genuine. If it is, I personally accompany them to the police station with the media in tow. But if their case is not genuine, I do not support them in PR and even discourage them from trying to derive publicity with fake news.

Apart from the ones you mentioned, which are the other strong women celebrities you have worked with?

That would be actress and fashion philanthropist Evelyn Sharma, actresses and title holders like Miss India InternationalPooja Batra, Miss India International Priya Gill, Gladrags MegaModel winner Rupali Suri, Miss India Universe Nikita Anand, Miss University World and Miss India Talent winner Kashmera Shah, Miss India Natasha Suri, Rakhi Sawant, Godwoman Radhe Maa whose PR I handle through work for her patrons Global Advertisers, Bigg Boss finalist Mandana Karimi, International chess master Dhyani Dave, Pakistani superstar Meera, filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi for whom I handled a very controversial event once, the late superstar Rajesh Khanna’s partner Anita Advani, actresses Nandana Sen, Sameera Reddy, Shamita Shetty, Divya Dutta, Neetu Chandra, Arjumman Mughal, Sambhavna Seth, Bidita Bag, Narmmadaa Ahuja, Rakul Preet, Soma Mangnaanii, Sherlyn Chopra, Sonali Raut, plus singers Anaida and Carlyto Mohini. These are undoubtedly some of the strongest women I have handled PR for. Am proud of them all.

Diana Lydia

Diana Lydia

WRITER

How Bollywood Celebs Can Save Themselves From Cobrapost-Like Sting Operations!

As appeared on Bollywood Couch

Original article link: https://www.bollywoodcouch.com/how-bollywood-celebs-can-save-themselves-from-cobrapost-like-sting-operations/

by Akshay Patil – February 22, 2019

Dale Bhagwagar

Controversies like Cobrapost stings dent celeb reputations. Celebs need to earn big bucks from time to time, to support their brand and lifestyle, and maintain their larger-than-life aura. Such controversies when unchecked, slow down business opportunities for celebs and that’s not a good thing, says Mumbai-based PR guru Dale Bhagwagar.

Cobrapost Sting

Even before the dust settles on the #MeToo movement in India, thanks to the Cobrapost stings, the film industry is once again in the dock. But recently, Bollywood’s only PR guru Dale Bhagwagar has put up a post on his Facebook, which actually makes for a fantastic case study on how celebrities can be vigilant and save themselves from sting operations.

Or even how they can hire a crisis management expert to boldly tackle or spin the situation in their favour after the sting, in a way that the stinger himself/herself gets exposed.

Stinging the sting

Here is what the public relations specialist has posted: “Got to know that most of these latest Cobrapost interviews doing the rounds, were actually done a year ago. They reminded me of an interesting incident. Four months ago, a girl claiming to be a budding actress befriended me on WhatsApp,” writes Dale who has handled the personal PR for top filmstars such as Hrithik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty, Priyanka Chopra, Vivek Oberoi, publicity for movies starring Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif and others, apart from PR for 20 scandalous contestants of India’s No. 1 reality show Bigg Boss.

Cobrapost Sting

Dale’s Facebook post describes the meeting with this so-called budding actress with some intriguing details. “We met over coffee at CCD (Cafe Coffee Day) in Oshiwara to discuss PR and proceeded for dinner at a nearby restaurant. In between our candid conversation about PR and the film industry, from the discussion and her body language, my sixth sense told me something was strange. She was encouraging me to talk and probing once in a while. Some of her choice of words were not those of an amateur or an upcoming actress. I suspected she was video recording me,” he writes.

Gotcha!

The Bollywood publicist elaborates, “So I casually glanced at her watch, dress buttons and accessories to check if there was any sting camera lens, but couldn’t spot any. I finally zeroed down on her handbag and specifically a metal emblem on it, but I still couldn’t spot any lens, as I was sitting at a metre’s distance from it. The handbag was kept at an angular position on the table. Just to make sure, on the pretext of admiring it, I leaned forward and subtly picked and moved it a bit.”

“As I did that, I marked her expression and reflexes. Flummoxed for a second, she immediately put the handbag back in exactly the same position with the same angle tilt. A few seconds later, she gave a stray look at it, as if to check it was facing the correct direction. The only thing she failed to realize was that my eyes were catching every nuance.”

Dale Bhagwagar

Playing the PR game

“But I did not let her know and went with the flow of the candid conversation. In fact, now I consciously kept it cool and spiced it up too. I even made up and exaggerated some statements… the kind we call ‘quotable quotes’ in journalism and PR. I also made sure that sat stylishly and smiled more than I normally do,” admits the Mumbai-based entertainment PR expert.

“But I’m still waiting for something like Cobrapost on me to come out somewhere. I do Crisis Management for actors in such situations. So it would be good fun for me to see how I deal with a similar situation on myself. #WhenDaleStungTheSting #BeingDale #GameOn #GoodFun #DaleHasEaglesEyes,” Dale concludes on Facebook.

Dale Bhagwagar

Celebs in the dock

For the record, the recent Cobrapost sting operation targeted 36 Bollywood celebrities. In an investigation dubbed Operation Karaoke, Cobrapost personnel are said to have posed as employees of a fictitious public relations agency, using aliases.

The sting operation revealed that actors Jackie Shroff, Vivek Oberoi, Sonu Sood, Shakti Kapoor, Mahima Chaudhry, Amisha Patel, Shreyas Talpade, Surendra Pal, Sambhavna Seth, Puneet Issar, Pankaj Dheer and his son Nikitin Dheer, and playback singers Kailash Kher, Mika Singh, Baba Sehgal and Abhijeet Bhattacharya were willing to post favourable messages on social media for political parties.

Bollywood stars

The list goes on

Other movie artistes on the list included Sunny Leone, Poonam Pandey, Rakhi Sawant, Aman Verma, Tisca Chopra, Deepshikha Nagpal, Akhilendra Mishra, Rohit Roy, Rahul Bhat, Salim Zaidi, Hiten Tejwani and spouse Gauri Pradhan, Koena Mitra, Evelyn Sharma, Minissha Lamba, comedians Raju Srivastava, Krushna Abhishek, Rajpal Yadav, Sunil Pal, Upasana Singh, Vijay Ishwarlal Pawar aka VIP and choreographer Ganesh Acharya.

Much ado about nothing

When we contacted Dale to ask if the targeted film celebrities should sue Cobrapost, his reply surprised us even more than the way he’d attentively caught the sting-in-progress.

Bollywood stars

“What Cobrapost has done is something any yellow journalism site would do. We can have an endless debate about breach of privacy, about media conning celebrities and making them scapegoats of their pre-planned agenda. But such desperate forms of journalism (if it can be called that) is not new and has happened a lot in America and Britain over the years. Some media outlets take undue liberties in the name of the freedom of the press,” remarks the top Bollywood publicist.

Having said that, he goes on to explain, “If we put emotions and the Cobrapost’s nationalistic spin aside, we will all realize that their videos have made much ado about nothing. Come to think of it, everyone, including political parties, need and indulge in aggressive marketing in today’s times.”

“They hire the best and topmost advertising, marketing and PR agencies to execute their strategies. And who better than popular celebrities to promote their agenda. It’s a cool thing and a done thing.” True that! After all, it’s a PR PR PR world.

Celebs unable to handle spin

“It’s just that Cobrapost seems to have scripted and edited stuff, and presented it as if it’s something jaw-dropping. It really isn’t. Cobrapost has given it a devious spin and our celebs seem to be struggling to manage this new crisis situation on their own,” analyses Dale.

Bollywood Collage

Guarding brand equity and business

“This Cobrapost controversy will disappear and die much faster than #MeToo, though part of the damage will linger, denting overall brand-value; just like #MeToo left an image-damaging trail,” he predicts. “Celebs need to earn big bucks from time to time, to support their brand and lifestyle, and maintain their larger-than-life aura. Such controversies when unchecked, slow down business opportunities for celebs and that’s not a good thing,” says Dale.

So what’s the way out of such situations for the future? “We can take a leaf out of Hollywood here. Like it happens in the West, Bollywood celebs need to cut off direct access outside their inner circle and let the professionals take over — managers, advertising personnel, marketers, social media experts, PR professionals, spokespersons, spin doctors and crisis management specialists. Actors need to focus on acting and earning, not on management.”

Dale feels “that’s the only way forward, if celebrities wish to keep their aura, image and brand intact in the fast-changing ruthless digital landscape. Otherwise, all this ruckus leads to an unnecessary loss of brand equity and business.”

Afraid to have an opinion

As appeared on Asian Age

http://www.asianage.com/entertainment/bollywood/150219/afraid-to-have-an-opinion.html

THE ASIAN AGE. | OISHANI MOJUMDER

Young actors of tinsel town have often been lip-locked about matters of political conflict.

Collectively, Bollywood has rarely taken a stand on socio-political issues.

 Collectively, Bollywood has rarely taken a stand on socio-political issues.

Bollywood and politics have always had a love-hate relationship. Recently, Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt during an interview were asked about their stand on the underlying political message in the song Azaadi – a track from their recently released movie Gully Boy. Brushing aside the question nonchlantly and their claim to be “apolitical” and too “busy with their personal lives” to comment on politics did not sit with their fans, viewers and the netizens. Both the young stars were called too “privileged” enough to be able to call themselves “apolitical” in the current environment of the country.

But the industry has had its fair share of political razzmatazz, with movies portraying political honchos to the touchy topics of religion, mythology, sex and terrorism. So what prevents today’s young stars from providing any comment which has the slightest political slant?

Says Bollywood publicist Dale Bhagwagar, the primary reason is fear. “The fear is not only of ostracization but also fear of losing monetary value – in terms of upcoming movies being boycotted, infrastructure being broken or releases being stalled. This has nothing to do with the current government. Rather, this has been happening through the ages,” he says, citing examples of various political parties known for their pressure tactics.

“Shiv Sena is infamous for violent protests against films – ranging from burning posters to vandalising theatres. The Congress too, which is known to be a fairly balanced political party, has a student wing – NSUI – that has also participated in such vandalistic protests,” he adds.

Abhishek Thukral, another celebrity manager is of the opinion that every actor is selling their film, and that making a political statement will definitely hamper the marketing of the film. “A comment that can be blown up by the media completely takes away from the film or the project that they are promoting. And the media, out of the entire press conference, will pick up that one political statement, instead of giving any mileage to the film whatsoever,” explains Thukral, adding, “Actors do speak about their views and current affairs when there is no movie being released. But there is so much negativity and hatred in the country with regards to politics that celebrities get death threats, actresses get rape threats. The situation can get very nasty.”

Resonating with a similar idea, Dale says, “Earlier, when print was one of the only media of news dissemination, a reaction to a celebrity’s comment would come as letters to the editor and a controversy would take at least a day to brew. Then with the boom of television, one got to know of controversies in a matter of hours. Now, with the advent of social media, not only does the controversy spread like wildfire but with apps and technology, it has become very easy to cut, edit and distort a statement given by a celebrity. Sensationalism is not the only issue now, fake news tops the list. And therefore celebrities are wary and rightfully so.”

But it is not only personal comments that celebrities refuse from making. Collectively, Bollywood has rarely taken a stand on socio-political issues. Take the case of the recent #MeToo wave in India, where no one much came out in support of the survivors and victims in India’s tinsel towns.

Dale Bhagwagar explains, “One needs to first understand that Bollywood is not a family or a fraternity. It is an industry with extremely insecure people where each person will have another’s back only till the favour is returned. So for Bollywood to stand together against a common evil is a far cry. Everyone is looking out for themselves, unlike Hollywood, where they are a very professional industry.”

Celebrity manager Prabhat Chaudhary opines that if people are looking up to actors and actresses as role models, then the country is facing a major ideological bankruptcy. “We expect actors to act well, be well-read, be aware of current affairs and be a role model all at once. That is unfair. Actors are people who do their jobs and earn money. In the process of their jobs, they get famous. But they are in no way obliged to make political statements if they do not want to,” he concludes.

Afraid to have an opinion

As appeared on Deccan Chronicle

https://www.deccanchronicle.com/entertainment/bollywood/150219/afraid-to-have-an-opinion.html

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | OISHANI MOJUMDER

Shiv Sena is infamous for violent protests against films — ranging from burning posters to vandalising theatres.

Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt during the interview with Anupama Chopra.
Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt during the interview with Anupama Chopra.

Mumbai: Bollywood and politics have always had a love-hate relationship. Recently, Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt during an interview were asked about their stand on the underlying political message in the song Azaadi — a track from their recently released movie Gully Boy. Brushing aside the question nonchlantly and their claim to be “apolitical” and too “busy with their personal lives” to comment on politics did not sit well with their fans, viewers and the netizens. Both the young stars were called too “privileged” enough to be able to call themselves “apolitical” in the current environment of the country.

But the industry has had its fair share of political razzmatazz, with movies portraying political honchos to the touchy topics of religion, mythology, sex and terrorism. So what prevents today’s young stars from providing any comment which has the slightest political slant?

Says Bollywood publicist Dale Bhagwagar, the primary reason is fear. “The fear is not only of ostracisation but also fear of losing monetary value — in terms of upcoming movies being boycotted, infrastructure being broken or releases being stalled. This has nothing to do with the current government. Rather, this has been happening through the ages,” he says, citing examples of various political parties known for their pressure tactics.

“Shiv Sena is infamous for violent protests against films — ranging from burning posters to vandalising theatres.

The Congress too, which is known to be a fairly balanced political party, has a student wing — NSUI — that has also participated in such vandalistic protests,” he adds.

Abhishek Thukral, another celebrity manager is of the opinion that every actor is selling their film, and that making a political statement will definitely hamper the marketing of the film. “A comment that can be blown up by the media completely takes away from the film or the project being promoted. And the media, out of the entire press conference, will pick up that one political statement, instead of giving any mileage to the film,” explains Thukral, adding, “Actors do speak about their views and current affairs when there is no movie being released. But there is so much negativity and hatred in the country with regards to politics that celebrities get death threats, actresses get rape threats. The situation can get very nasty.”

Resonating with a similar idea, Dale says, “Earlier, when print was one of the only media of news dissemination, a reaction to a celebrity’s comment would come as letters to the editor and a controversy would take at least a day to brew. Then with the boom of television, one got to know of controversies in a matter of hours. Now, with the advent of social media, not only does the controversy spread like wildfire but with apps and technology, it has become very easy to cut, edit and distort a statement given by a celebrity. Sensationalism is not the only issue now, fake news tops the list. And therefore celebrities are wary and rightfully so.”

But it is not only personal comments that celebrities refuse from making. Collectively, Bollywood has rarely taken a stand on socio-political issues. Take the case of the recent #MeToo wave in India, where no one much came out in support of the survivors and victims in India’s tinsel towns.

Dale Bhagwagar explains, “One needs to first understand that Bollywood is not a family or a fraternity. It is an industry with extremely insecure people where each person will have another’s back only till the favour is returned. So for Bollywood to stand together against a common evil is a far cry. Everyone is looking out for themselves, unlike Hollywood, where they are a very professional industry.”

Celebrity manager Prabhat Chaudhary opines that if people are looking up to actors and actresses as role models, then the country is facing a major ideological bankruptcy. “We expect actors to act well, be well-read, be aware of current affairs and be a role model all at once. That is unfair. Actors are people who do their jobs and earn money. In the process of their jobs, they get famous. But they are in no way obliged to make political statements if they do not want to,” he concludes.

Baby-face Aamir may age more gracefully than Salman and SRK, predicts Dale Bhagwagar

As appeared on Medium

https://medium.com/@bollywoodfeatures/baby-face-aamir-may-age-more-gracefully-than-salman-and-srk-predicts-dale-bhagwagar-ecc07ed8c44b

The Khans — Salman, Aamir and Shah Rukh — have been ruling the entertainment business since ages. They have been beating every list and have stayed in best form and at the top of their game since three decades now.

And though all of them have faced disasters last year with their movies Race 3, Thugs of Hindostan and Zero, “there is no chance they are gonna slow down anytime soon,” feels Bollywood’s only PR guru Dale Bhagwagar.

In fact, Dale says he is sure they will come up with “superb surprises and even more wonderful performances in the years to come.” When asked, how long does he think the audiences will patronize their brands, the Bollywood publicist says, “The one who manages to cater and appeal to the current school kids the most, should last the longest.”

And which Khan could that be? “Currently, its Aamir who seems to have that advantage. Though Salman’s craze is said to be more in the nook and corners of India, and SRK enjoys great popularity even abroad; its Aamir who understands PR and strategy better. So I won’t be surprised if the baby-faced Aamir lasts the longest.”

“Plus, having built much of his career on experimenting with roles and keeping that image intact film after film, he will be able to adapt better to change, and may even age more gracefully than many others in the industry,” analyses the Mumbai-based public relations expert. Whoa! That’s an interesting analysis indeed. Hai na?

And Aamir is now even expanding his market to China — the country with the highest population in the world. So yes, he has surely got his finger on the pulse of Gen Z.

Kangana Ranaut’s sis says, Krish directed all of Manikarnika

As appeared on Filmy Sansaar

https://filmysansaar.com/blog/kangana-ranauts-sis-says-krish-directed-all-of-manikarnika/

By Saajan Verma

Kangana Ranaut’s sister Rangoli Chandel had earlier stated: “I officially declare Kangana shot 70 percent of the film (Manikarnika).” But responding to allegations and controversies from Manikarnika director Krish and Simran writer Apurva Asrani, Kangana’s sister changed her stance.

Rangoli who often doubles up somewhat as Kangana’s spokesperson, frustratingly tweeted: “@DirKrish, Chalo man Liya you directed the whole film now please calm down, still Kangana is the leading face of the film let her enjoy this moment of her success and great appreciation, please leave her alone, we all believe you now please take a seat” (sic).

Kangana Ranaut in a still from Manikarnika (Image courtesy - Internet.)

Kangana Ranaut in a still from Manikarnika (Image courtesy – Internet.)

But brand issues just don’t seem to leave Kangana. Apart from recent problems with Sonu Sood who walked out of Manikarnika – The Queen of Jhansi, the actress is also rumored to have reduced the roles of veteran actors Danny Denzongpa, Khulbhushan Kharbanda and Suresh Oberoi, making them look like wannabes in her movie, after she took over the directorial reigns.

Kangana Ranaut in a still from Manikarnika (Image courtesy - Internet.)

Kangana Ranaut in a still from Manikarnika (Image courtesy – Internet.)

With one controversy after another, Kangana’s name and brand are taking a solid beating in the Indian Film Industry. Bollywood’s only PR guru Dale Bhagwagar says its best Kangana changes this in the near future. “Kangana has a fiery brand; that is fine. She has transformed herself into a fashion statement and has a definite set of followers. But the thing is, what she seems to understand as attacks or defense in media, actually image disasters, ultimately warranting crisis management.”

Kangana Ranaut in a still from Manikarnika (Image courtesy - Internet.)

Kangana Ranaut in a still from Manikarnika (Image courtesy – Internet.)

“That situation could be rectifiable, but first the subject has to agree to accept it as an issue, be ready to understand the true difference between imaging and hype — then take measures to begin changing the situation step by step,” states the Mumbai-based PR specialist.

But Kangana has her fans and successes intact. Why would she want to change this bad-girl image? “Because, with a little course correction, she can make much bigger monies in advertising,” replies Dale. Ah! We never thought about that! Point taken.

After Manikarna director, now Simran writer blames Kangana Ranaut

As appeared on Talk of the Town

https://www.talkofthetown.live/2019/01/29/after-manikarna-director-now-simran-writer-blames-kangana-ranaut/

The list of complaints about Kangana Ranaut just doesn’t seem to end. After her recent issues with Krish (the director of her latest film Manikarnika – The Queen of Jhansi); now Apurva Asrani (the writer of Kangana’s popular film Simran), has come out complaining on Twitter.

We asked Bollywood’s only PR guru Dale Bhagwagar, whether this manipulative image of Kangana could ruin her career. But he replied in the negative! “As long as Kangana delivers successes, her loyalists will stick by her,” he predicts.

“She may not get many A-grade movies or top corporate advertising brands signing her. But mind you, she has already mastered the art of making a mark in the relatively lesser budget flicks. She has managed considerably well in the industry without the Khans, Kumar and Kapoors. That has been working wonderfully for her until now,” says the Bollywood publicist.

Meanwhile, trade critics have reported that Manikarnika, after a sluggish start, is doing brisk business in India and abroad. Opening in 2,900 screens across 50 countries, the film’s business has reportedly crossed 40 crores by now. It’s been released in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

Tanushree Dutta’s #MeToo takes Nana Patekar international

As appeared on Cine Eye

http://cineeye.xyz/2018/11/15/tanushree-duttas-metoo-takes-nana-patekar-international/

The world’s leading pirate site YIFY aka YTS normally only uploads Hollywood movie torrents. But seemingly because of all the uproar caused by motor-mouth Tanushree Dutta’s spin on Nana Patekar, the latter’s epic Marathi-language film Natsamrat seems to have found a coveted place on the international YIFY Hollywood-centric website this week.

“When Hollywood looks at the Indian film industry, it only pays attention to Bollywood’s Hindi films. It almost ignores regional cinema and the huge and tech-savvy South film industry too,” points out Bollywood’s only PR guru Dale Bhagwagar. “So inspite of this being a matter involving piracy, it’s interesting that a Marathi film has been put along with Hollywood films,” he remarks.

For the record, Femina Miss India and actress Tanushree Dutta who had fallen into near obscurity, returned to India from the United States of America last month, and dragged acclaimed actor Nana Patekar in almost a decade-old matter; alleging that he had looked at her with bad intentions, and wanted to touch and feel her on the sets of a film she was to perform an item number in.

The controversy-hungry media promptly fell for Tanushree’s words and labelled it a #MeToo episode, crediting her as the spearleader of the international #MeToo movement in India’s Bollywood, which earlier began in Hollywood with dozens of women accusing American film producer Harvey Weinstein of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse over a period of at least 30 years.

The Nana Patekar starrer Natsamrat (roughly translated as king of the theater) was directed by Mahesh Manjrekar and officially released in India in 2016, receiving tremendous word-of-mouth publicity. It portrayed the tragic life of a stage actor, who retires from acting, but is unable to forget his fond memories of theatre, drama and stage. Considered a classic, it emerged as the highest-grossing Marathi film of all time, until Sairat occupied that place later the same year.

YIFY has uploaded the film in 720p and 1080p resolutions. It is also worth mentioning that Natsamrat has garnered a spectacularly high 9.2 star out of 10 star rating on IMDB (Internet Movie Database).

Here’s why Aamir refused to star with Amitabh in Indra Kumar’s Rishta

As appeared on Cinestaan

https://www.cinestaan.com/articles/2018/sep/27/15921/here-s-why-aamir-refused-to-star-with-amitabh-in-indra-kumar-s-rishta

Bachchan and Khan will be seen together on the big screen for the first time in Thugs Of Hindostan. At the film’s trailer launch, the actors spoke about the project they were supposed to star in together in the 1990s.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

By MAYUR LOOKHAR

Amitabh Bachchan is a veteran, a legend of the Hindi film industry, while Aamir Khan, Hindi cinema’s ‘Mr Perfectionist’, has delivered hits one after the other in the last two decades.  

However, Bachchan and Khan were never seen together on the big screen until director Vijay Krishna Acharya cast them in the action-adventure Thugs Of Hindostan. The much-awaited trailer of the film was released today (27 September).

A day before the trailer launch, Khan had posted a tweet saying it is a dream come true for him to be seen alongside Bachchan on the same poster.

While, there was no dearth of offers for the two actors to star together, the proposed projects never materialised. One such film, announced to star both Khan and Bachchan, was director Indra Kumar’s Rishta.

At the trailer launch of Thugs Of Hindostan, the duo was asked whether they were offered a film together. Bachchan replied in the affirmative and cheekily pointed out that it was Khan who turned such films down.

“The truth is that, we were offered many films, but bhaisaab [referring to Aamir] turned them down. it is my saubhagya [luck] that now I get to work with him,” Bachchan said.

To this, Khan replied, saying, “Now that Mr Bachchan had said it, I wouldn’t deny it. I’d like to remind that we were offered Indra Kumar’s film Rishta. It was announced years ago. Unfortunately, due to various reasons that film couldn’t be made. Indu [Indra Kumar] moved into a different life. Since that day, I have been waiting for this opportunity. I don’t have the courage to say no to him [Bachchan].”

Bachchan, who was in a jovial mood, appeared to be praising Khan, albeit in a tongue-in-cheek manner.

“I’d like to say that Aamir Khan is not just Aamir Khan. He is a producer-writer, director, music director, distributor, marketing genius, exhibitor and also a screenplay writer. After that, he is a brilliant actor. To compete with him is tough. All along, I have been telling him, ‘Brother, please direct a film and offer me some small role, but he hasn’t agreed yet. I have even given him 2-3 ideas. He said I’ll think and many years have passed by,’ Bachchan said, evoking laughter from the audience.

So why did Khan really quit Rishta? Back in the late 1990s, Kumar had announced the film and a press conference was lined up, too.

Cinestaan.com spoke to journalist-turned-PR professional Dale Bhagwagar, who attended the mahurat of the film two deacdes ago. He recalled an incident, which, perhaps, could have been the reason for Khan opting out of the film.

“I don’t recollect the exact date, but it was perhaps around 1995-1996. I was working for Cine Blitz magazine then. There was this mahurat held at Film City, Goregaon. The director, Bachchan and Khan were all present there. But, for some strange reason Aamir appeared reluctant to pose with Bachchan.

When a group picture was to be taken on stage, the cast and crew members gathered, but Aamir stood a few people away from Bachchan. The photographers kept on asking him to get besides Bachchan, as they were the casting coup, but he hardly budged. He finally did pose with him, but just for a few seconds and then moved away,” Bhagwagar said.

According to the source, Khan supposedly became too conscious of his height and felt he won’t look great standing alongside a towering Bachchan. “Aamir appeared to be very conscious of his height. I spotted that he was wearing these high heel shoes, perhaps 2-3 inche in height. He looked uncomfortable at posing with Bachchan,” he added.

We tried calling Indra Kumar, but he was unable for comments.

In an earlier interview with Rediff.com, Kumar had cited Ishq (1997) as the reason for Rishta not taking off. While Rishta was to bring together Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit Nene and Khan together for the first time, Ishq starred Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgn, Kajol and Juhi Chawla.

“I don’t know who gave the film the name Rishta. As far as I know, it was an untitled film. People just named it and it caught on. It never took off really. It was a film with Aamir, Madhuri and Amitji. It didn’t happen because I was busy making Ishq (1997) then. I thought I couldn’t manage two films at the same time. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to do justice to Amitji’s role,” Kumar had said during the interview.

With the Indra Kumar film shelved, Bachchan signed a film with Mehul Kumar. He has worked with Kumar in two films – Mrityudaata (1997) and Kohram (1999).

Indra Kumar had also claimed that he wanted to revive the project after completing Ishq, but things had changed by then.

“I told him [Bachchan] that, and he made a film with Mehul Kumar. Finally, when I wanted to start the film again, things had changed. So we got busy again with our commitments and didn’t make the film.

It was unfortunate that I couldn’t work with such a great actor. But, I definitely plan to make that film. In fact, I want to make it desperately. It was my bad luck that despite the film generating so much interest it fell through. There is a saying that god always keeps one bit of all good luck with him. I plan to grab that too and make it happen,” Kumar added.

Sadly, the project never took off, and the attempt to bring together Bachchan and Khan met fruition only two decades later. Thugs Of Hindostan, a Yash Raj Film’s project, is set to be released on 8 November 2018.

Kajol article sparks Bollywood PR hoopla

As appeared on Medium

https://medium.com/@bollywoodfeatures/kajol-article-sparks-bollywood-pr-row-96c13f4f5415

Megastar Shah Rukh Khan and the ever-sizzling Kajol.

“Actress Kajol kick-started her career in the showbiz in the 90s when the PR machinery was not in force. In the 90s, it was all about how actors conducted themselves in front of the media without the help of any PRs,” says an article on Bollywood Bubble.

However, Bollywood’s only PR guru Dale Bhagwagar has reacted in disagreement. “It’s incorrect to say that strong PR didn’t exist in the 90s. I’ve myself handled more than a dozen clients at any given time during the 90s too,” he tweeted.

“Though Kajol is a diva, Bollywood Bubble seems to be bumbling with ignorance about entertainment PR,” laughs Dale, who has handled the media for Hrithik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty, Priyanka Chopra and films like Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Don and Farhan Akhtar-starrer Rock On!!, apart from being a crisis management specialist to umpteen Bigg Boss contestants over the years.

“During the 90’s, there have been great PRs such as Gopal Pandey, RR Pathak, Raju Kariya, Ajit Ghosh, Hilla Sethna, Keshav Rai, Harish Sharma, Susheel Sharma, Peter Martis, Parag Desai, Indermohan Pannu, Shahid Khan, Arun-Gaja and Rajendra Rao.”

Filmstar Kajol — a diva she is. (Image courtesy: Internet)

“They have planned elaborate publicity campaigns, advised and guided actors with image-building, have been an integral part of PR strategies, and wielded much more influence on media than most of the current publicists. I know, because I have been there,” says the publicist who started out in PR in the 90s and went on to become a trendsetter.

Dale is one of the few actively surviving Bollywood publicists of that time and still leads the PR brigade in innovation. A simple search with his name brings up thousands of web results. The PR expert points out that public relations existed in tinsel town much before the 90s. “Bollywood PR has been thriving since the days of Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Sunil Dutt and Dilip Kumar,” remarks Dale, who also handled personal PR for Dev Anand as well as his last film Chargesheet.

A file picture of Bollywood’s only PR guru Dale Bhagwagar with actor Dev Anand, PR Bunny Reuben, and with other prominent Bollywood publicists from the 90s and later. (Image courtesy: Twitter)

“We have had PR greats such as VP Sathe whose publicity agency had a monopoly over media campaigns in the 50s and 60s. And then Bunny Reuben, who handled the PR for Raj Kapoor and films of Yash Chopra, BR Chopra, Basu Bhattacharya and GP Sippy. It’s been boom-time for PRs all the way since then.” Point taken.