Many Bigg Boss Contestants Face Depression,” Reveals Bollywood Publicist Dale Bhagwagar
We have noticed that most of the top contenders and even past Bigg Boss winners are out of the entertainment industry by now. No one talks about them. Many often wonder why they fade away.
“The biggest reason is that most of the Bigg Boss participants do not understand PR. So they either go into the show without hiring a publicist or think they can rely on their Twitter fans to do the job. Both methods are PR disasters,” analyses Bollywood’s only PR guru Dale Bhagwagar, in an interview on the commerce site Business Upturn.
Apart from being India’s leading media man, Dale is considered a specialist with Bigg Boss, for having handled the news media publicity for 20 contestants of the reality show.
“One needs a professional to spin and maneuver through the ups and downs that Bigg Boss Housemates face almost on a daily basis inside the show. A solid crisis management exercise in mainstream media, coupled with hype, can help contestants sail through with ease,” he explains.
That’s true! Because the publicist’s Bigg Boss PR clients including Aarya Babbar, Aman Verma, Amar Upadhyay, Kashmera Shah, Mandana Karimi, Pooja Misrra, Rahul Mahajan, Rakhi Sawant, Sambhavna Seth, and Sonali Raut have all benefitted with a strong PR presence.
But then, many BB contestants completely fail to understand the need for PR. “Some even become arrogant by the time they come out of the show,” Dale points out. “They think that by being on national television for three months and sharing screen space with megastar host Salman Khan has made them a star. So they start behaving like one.”
Then they don’t get work and the media hype starts dying after the show ends. In a few months, they are back to square one and start fading into oblivion. That is the time they think of being proactive and about hiring a good PR to publicize themselves. But by then, it’s too late. No media is interested to speak about them.
“Many BB contestants face depression in this phase. Some come out of it. Others destroy their careers due to it. It’s sad. But it’s the ugly truth,” reveals PR specialist.
Twitter plays an important role in forming and maneuvering public opinion, which is essential for PR. There are fan clubs formed for most top contestants and the best part is that they tag themselves and fight with each other like cats and dogs.
This activity happens not only throughout the season, but a lot of Twitterati even defends their favourite contestants for years after they have won or lost on Bigg Boss.
“From a PR point of view, the interesting part is that people’s emotions can be swayed very easily through Twitter,” says Bollywood’s only PR guru Dale Bhagwagar, in an interview to commerce site Business Upturn.
The PR specialist is considered to be an authority on Bigg Boss by the media, simply because he has handled PR for not one, two, or ten — but for a full 20 contestants who have been on the show since its inception.
Dale adds that there are many “dubious nameless handles on Twitter, relentlessly working day and night to fulfill ‘agendas’… or should I say hidden agendas.” For this reason, he feels that Twitter does not do justice to the reality show. “With such people on Twitter, it’s hard to think of any journalistic or PR ethics. There is no control on Twitter, just people playing with emotions and mostly wasting their energies and time.”
But Dale makes an honest and shocking confession in the end. “For a manipulative PR like me, Twitter feels like my circus, with me as its ringmaster.” Now that’s some admission!
Bollywood’s only PR guru Dale Bhagwagar is an authority on Bigg Boss, simply because he has handled PR for not one, two, or ten — but for a full 20 contestants who have been on the show since its inception. We ask the Bigg Boss PR specialist some tough questions.
Indian audience, specially the youth, is changing fast. People are largely watching shows and movies on OTT (Over The Top) platforms? Do you think this is the reason behind low TRPs (Total Rating Points) for Bigg Boss?
My feeling is that Bigg Boss TRPs fluctuate for many reasons. The first among them is the show’s deviation from the core format. Please understand, Bigg Boss began as a hardcore reality show. Then over a period of time, probably to heighten the drama quotient, many tasks and entertainment props were introduced. That makes it look like any other game show now. The ‘reality’ element has gone down, and the viewer understands that.
The other aspect is that Bigg Boss is not available on the most popular web platform YouTube. Then, some journalists say they do not receive the regular updates like daily synopsis and pictures. So they have to resort to lifting content. This may be hampering the hype.
All these and many more, could be the reasons ultimately responsible for the TRP fluctuations. But TRP is a game of numbers and Bigg Boss can play it better. Remember Bob Dylan’s song “The Times Are A Changin”? The world is changing fast and I feel BB needs to keep pace. I may be wrong, but this is what I have come to understand over a period of time.
Most of the top contenders and past Bigg Boss winners are out of the entertainment industry by now. No one talks about them. Why do they fade away?
That’s a good question and many have tried to answer it before, but missed the mark. I believe that the biggest reason is that most of the Bigg Boss participants do not understand PR.
So they either go into the show without hiring a publicist, or think they can rely on their Twitter fans to do the job. Both methods are PR disasters. One needs a professional to spin and maneuver through the ups and downs that Bigg Boss Housemates face almost on a daily basis inside the show.
A solid crisis management exercise in mainstream media, coupled with hype, can help contestants sail through with ease. My Bigg Boss PR clients including Aarya Babbar, Aman Verma, Amar Upadhyay, Kashmera Shah, Mandana Karimi, Pooja Misrra, Rahul Mahajan, Rakhi Sawant, Sambhavna Seth and Sonali Raut have all benefitted with a strong PR presence. But then, many BB contestants completely fail to understand the need for PR. Some even become arrogant by the time they come out of the show.
They think that by being on national television for three months and sharing screen space with megastar host Salman Khan has made them a star. So they start behaving like one. Then they don’t get work and the media hype starts dying after the show ends. In a few months they are back to square one and start fading into oblivion.
That is the time they think of being proactive and about hiring a good PR to publicize themselves. But by then, it’s too late. No media is interested to speak about them. Many BB contestants face depression in this phase. Some come out of it. Others destroy their careers due to it. It’s sad. But it’s the ugly truth.
Do you think the Twitterati does justice to Bigg Boss?
No, but Twitter plays an important role in forming and maneuvering public opinion, which is essential for PR. There are fan clubs formed for most top contestants and the best part is that they tag themselves and fight with each other like cats and dogs.
This activity happens not only throughout the season, but a lot of Twitterati even defends their favourite contestants for years after they have won or lost on Bigg Boss. From a PR point of view, the interesting part is that people’s emotions can be swayed very easily through Twitter.
There are many dubious nameless handles on Twitter, relentlessly working day and night to fulfill ‘agendas’… or should I say hidden agendas.
With such people on Twitter, it’s hard to think of any journalistic or PR ethics. There is no control on Twitter, just people playing with emotions and mostly wasting their energies and time. But for a manipulative PR like me, Twitter feels like my circus, with me as its ringmaster.
Must say, that’s a very interesting observation. And it’s surprising that you so coolly admit the fact that you are a media manipulator. Can you name 12 contestants from previous seasons who can be put together once again in a season to set the TRP charts on fire?
Ha ha! As far as I know, Bigg Boss does not repeat contestants and even if they do, those are either special guests or don’t really make it to the end of the show. However, since you’ve asked me the question, I will name my choice of 12. Here we go: Aksahdeep Saigal, Amar Upadhyay, Armaan Kohli, Diandra Soares, Gautam Gulati, Imam Siddiqui, Mandana Karimi, Mandeep Bevli, Pooja Bedi, Rahul Mahajan, Raja Choudhary and Shweta Tiwari, with Dolly Bindra, Kamal Rashid Khan, Sapna Bhavnani as Wild card entries.
According to you, who have been the highest paid contestants on Bigg Boss?
In my opinion, Navjot Singh Sidhu was the highest paid. I think other highly paid contestants could include Anup Jalota, Pamela Anderson, The Great Khali, Hina Khan, Tanisha Mukherjee, Rahul Dev and Shweta Tiwari. Contrary to general public opinion, I don’t believe Shilpa Shinde was among the highest paid. That news could have been a PR plug.
Who do you think have the best chances for winning Bigg Boss 13 and why?
Shenaz Gill is quite a character and that makes for good entertainment. Whether she can convert that into votes, remains to be seen. Paras Chhabra has been playing well too. His friendship with Mahira Sharma has given her a stable footing. Talking about Mahira, she’s a now-on now-off contestant and only provides drama in installments. But somehow I feel, she can be a dark horse if she really wants to. Asim Riaz has been a good friend to Siddharth Shukla and has played the dosti part well, but there’s not much to him unless he decides to come completely on his own. Rashmi Desai is a strong contender for being a cool package of drama and decent entertainment. But she should immediately come out of her Siddharth-fascination and get brownie points for her own personality. Now coming to Siddharth, he seems to attract the wrong kind of attention all the time, which makes him a perfect TRP-hogger. If he wins Bigg Boss, the Boss will be the loser.
Bollywood’s only PR guru Dale Bhagwagar is also the only specialist on Bigg Boss. Having handled the PR for a full 20 contestants while they have been on the controversial show, Dale also has guts to call a spade a spade. He boldly addresses queries in this exclusive no-holds-barred interview to QNA India.
Bigg Boss 13 has shifted from Lonavla to Filmcity Studios in Goregaon, Mumbai. Do you think it’s a good move?
Dale Bhagwagar: That fresh breath of Lonavla air that the Bigg Boss Housemates felt in the garden area is missing. Also, knowing that they were far away from Mumbai city, gave the contestants a feel of being separated from their near and dear ones, which went perfectly with the show’s concept. That is now missing too.
But being at Filmcity, has its own share of advantages too. Availability for props, food items, staff etc would definitely be better when in Mumbai. Travel time for staff and Salman Khan is less.
Moreover, security is better as Filmcity has two security gates before one reaches any studio floor. The distance between the first and second gate is almost 2 kilometers. So for any anti-Bigg Boss protest morchas to walk all the way, would be quite a task, and also provide the makers ample time to call for police help, just in case any protest morcha breaks through the first security gate.
Will Bigg Boss 13 get better TRPs than last season?
Dale Bhagwagar: I have a feeling Bigg Boss TRPs may not rise with the passing of its seasons now. The reasons are many. The attention span of people have changed. Also, most youth want to watch shows on the go, and not sit in front of television sets anymore. Though on Voot, the show has limited its visibility by being absent on YouTube; the most popular platform for videos.
Another reason is that the show has deviated from its original concept of being truthful to reality television, and feels more and more like a game show. Being a publicist in the entertainment field and having handled the PR for the maximum Bigg Boss contestants and watched them closely, I’m of the impression that the media publicity for the show also needs more innovativeness and improvement.
Many more journalists need to receive its daily synopsis and publicity images. The PR images for the media could be of better size, correct format and higher resolution too. This would make the journalist’s job of covering Bigg Boss, easier. Scribes may then refrain from searching and lifting random images from FB pages or channel website, which may not satisfy their needs for a great image-resolution.
Apart from all this, one has to also understand that Gen Z does not sit and watch TV serials. So most of the times, they identify quite less with the TV stars which feature more and more on Bigg Boss nowadays. All these and many more transformational changes could give the fortunes of Bigg Boss a punchy boost.
Bigg Boss approaches a lot of celebrities, but only a few of them finally go to the Bigg Boss House. Do you think this is a promotional ploy by the makers to create a wider buzz for the show before it rolls?
Dale Bhagwagar: Ha ha! It seems you have stumbled upon some secret. Yes, this does create a buzz initially, as not all who are approached are aware of the secrecy clause in BB contracts. So they yap and talk and hint, or tell their friends that they have been approached for Bigg Boss. Some even pompously write on FB that BB approaches them every year. But I don’t think that kind of PR buzz helps them. If they really want to be on the show by getting in the limelight, or catch the attention of the makers, there are other intelligent PR strategies and methods.
What if the selection process goes on public voting?
Dale Bhagwagar: That could be an interesting turn. But the public will have to see the drama quotient of the contestants and judge by that. Only then will it work well. Hai na.
Is it better to have only celebrities in Bigg Boss or is it better to have common people with celebrities?
Dale Bhagwagar: The hero of the show should be the concept. I feel, the best thing for Bigg Boss will be to focus on its original ‘reality television’ format and reduce the number of games and tasks. I also strongly feel that Bigg Boss should have two seasons every year — one with celebs and another with commoners.
What do you have to say about most contestants who win Bigg Boss, but are not able to remain in the news after winning? What could be the reason?
Dale Bhagwagar: The primary reason for this is that success goes to their head. The months they spend in isolation makes them believe that the show has made superstars out of them. When they meet their family and friends on the show, they hear stories of how they are being talked about in the outside world; about how famous they have become etc etc etc. They think they have ‘arrived’ and this thought goes to their head.
When they come out they are mobbed, first by the media and then by the people on the streets. They get a lot of instant recognition. In all this hullabaloo, most of them forget that PR plays an important role in the imaging, branding and consistency of any publicity exercise.
What they completely fail to realize is that long-term fame is not about hype, but about imaging and branding. That is why so many Bigg Boss contestants lose out in the long run, with most of these disappearing into oblivion. Even the winners.
Much has been said about singer Jasleen Matharu and her mentor Anup Jalota’s presence on India’s topmost reality show Bigg Boss. The last two days have seen them trending on Twitter, with loads of memes dedicated to the BB12 couple all over social media.
While it has been projected by host Salman Khan, Jasleen as well as Jalota as a relationship with romantic overtures, Bollywood PR guru Dale Bhagwagar has posted something quite contrary to that on his social media.
Anupji is a dude of dudes. But I have a feeling that Jasleen and the Bhajan Samrat’s relationship is platonic. #BiggBoss12#BB12
“Anupji is a dude of dudes. But I have a feeling that Jasleen and the Bhajan Samrat’s relationship is platonic. #BiggBoss12 #BB12,” he wrote on his Twitter. For the uninitiated, a ‘platonic relationship’ is defined as one that is purely spiritual and not physical.
Dale has handled PR for some of the biggest names in Bollywood, including Hrithik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty and Priyanka Chopra. But not many are aware that long ago, the publicist also handled the media for Jalota, something he has always proudly announced on his website.
When it comes to Bigg Boss, Dale’s ‘feelings’ on various topics have always come true! Wonder if the Bollywood PR specialist could be right about this one too! Only time will tell.
Wednesday, September 19, 2018 12:25 ISTBy Santa Banta News NetworkEven as Bigg Boss 12 completes its first 48 hours, the seventeen housemates — Dipika Kakar Ibrahim, Karanvir Bohra, Nehha Pendse, SreeSanth, Shrishty Rode, Jasleen Matharu and Anup Jalota, Kriti Verma and Roshmi Banik, Nirmal Singh and Romil Choudhary, Somi Khan and Saba Khan, Sourabh Patel and Shivashish Mishra, Urvashi Vani and Deepak Thakur — are already at loggerheads.
Megastar host Salman Khan may be happily boggled that the contestants made up of five singles and six jodis (pairs) have brought down the house with their infighting, bitching, crying and back-biting, apart from beginning to create lobbying for friends and forging new friendships.
“Bigg Boss is not just another brand. It’s Indian television’s biggest and best reality firebrand. If anyone was expecting anything less from the show, I’d say the person was in delusional fairyland,” smirks Bollywood’s only PR guru Dale Bhagwagar, who has handled the media for celebrities such as Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Vivek Oberoi and films like Don and Rock On!!
“If you mark minutely, most of the BB12 contestants have very defined personalities with varied nuances to their characterizations. The distinctive differences in their nature would soon create a psychological minefield, which would trap them in their own images,” he analyses.
Apart from being the top Bollywood publicist, Dale is considered by the press as an authority on Bigg Boss. Having handled the publicity for a full 20 contestants who have been on the show, he is also the guy who spearheaded the media hype for Shilpa Shetty during her iconic win on Celebrity Big Brother in the United Kingdom.
But the Mumbai-based publicist feels there is a slight drawback in Bigg Boss Season 12. Dale points out, “Almost 13 of the 17 contestants are strong and can hold on their own, which is a very high percentage to have right at the start. However, I feel that the chemistry which was expected out of the jodis, is almost missing.”
The Bigg Boss specialist adds that this ‘missing chemistry’ element between the pairs may not change soon. “But as equations shift, there will be new pairs of friends and frenemies, and these can well make up for the loss of chemistry which we may feel now. Plus, eventually, since there has to be one winner, the Boss may be forced to break up the pairs anyway.” Oh yes, amidst all the hype about jodis, we never thought about that!
Bigg Boss is the undisputed No 1 reality show on Indian television. But some BB fans are said to have found the new promo of Bigg Boss Season 12, a little weird. Highlighting the concept of jodis (pairs) for BB12, megastar Salman Khan is seen playing a school teacher, replete with his typical bizarre antics; like riding himself on a foot-ruler under his crotch… eww.
However, Bollywood’s only PR guru Dale Bhagwagar, who has handled the publicity and crisis management for a full 20 contestants of Bigg Boss points out, “It’s not really odd to have Salman doing awkward antics. In fact, that adds to his dabangg, bindaas, bad-ass brand, which he knows how to play to the hilt.” True that!
So all those who found the BB12 promo somewhat crude “need to take heart,” says the Bollywood publicist. “I’m pretty sure, things will only get more interesting from here and add to the dramatic value of the firebrand that the show is. After all, we are talking about the House of Scandal,” he winks.
Dale has also sourced and posted a little video of some of the past Salman Khan promos of Bigg Boss on his Twitter to prove his point.
“Found something interesting on YouTube just now. Bigg Boss promos from past seasons featuring the inimitable Salman Khan. Check ’em out… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWS3iiVWd8Q … @BiggBoss #BiggBoss12 #BB12,” wrote the public relations specialist from Mumbai.
The video, with promos right from BB4 to BB12, tracks an interesting journey indeed. Let’s hope Bigg Boss12 turns out to be as interesting and controversial as always.
A file pic from Bigg Boss (Image courtesy – Internet)
Normally, Bigg Boss begins in the first week of October every year. However, if reliable sources are to be believed, this season, India’s number one reality show will begin earlier.
Bollywood’s only PR guru Dale Bhagwagar, who has handled the media for some of the reality show’s best and most controversial contestants like Rakhi Sawant, Rahul Mahajan, Pooja Misrra, Aman Verma, Diana Hayden, Ashmit Patel, Amar Upadhyay, Sherlyn Chopra, Aarya Babbar, Sonali Raut and Mandana Karimi, has tweeted that he feels, this year the BB12 showing may be preponed by a fortnight.
I have a feeling Bigg Boss 12 would make an early start this year, beating it’s normal October first week timing by a fortnight or so.
“I have a feeling Bigg Boss 12 would make an early start this year, beating it’s normal October first week timing by a fortnight or so,” tweeted the celebrity publicist, whose PR agency has also handled the publicity for some of the best Bollywood stars such as Hrithik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty, Priyanka Chopra and movies like the Shah Rukh Khan starrer Don and Farhan Akhtar starrer Rock On!!
The Bollywood publicist is well-known for his correct ‘feelings’ about matters of the entertainment industry. So going by his post, we are best expecting BB12 to begin around September 16, probably with participants from major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
The anticipation for Bigg Boss is pretty high this year too, specially as it introduces the concept of jodis (pairs) as housemates. Which means, we may see participants getting in two-by-two; somewhat like girlfriends-boyfriends jodis, married couples, live-in relationship couples, brothers and sisters, friends, or even transgender or gay and lesbian couples — Bigg Boss is full of surprises, so we never know
Meanwhile, megastar host Salman Khan can have a consolidation of sorts, since his film Race 3 has done roaring business at the box-office, inspite of the media panning it. So now, all eyes on Bigg Boss Season 12.
There was a time political parties would break media offices and bash journalists. But times are a changin’. According to a new law passed by Maharashtra Government, violence against a media person or against premises of a media institution is now a cognizable and non-bailable offence.
Such cases will be required to be investigated by a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and will carry a prison term of 3 years and a fine of Rs 50,000. Plus, media persons and media institutions can recover compensation for any medical expenses or physical damage to their movable or immovable property.