Even as Pushpa: The Rise – Part 1 continues to set records at the box-office, after emerging the biggest blockbuster in recent times, South style icon Allu Arjun has praised its makeup and prosthetic character designer Preetisheel Singh D’souza and her team at Da Makeup Lab for his stunning look in the film.
Speaking at an event, the superstar who plays the forceful character of Pushpa Raj in the film said that the team of Da Makeup Lab were the “main reason” for the success of his look in the film.
Humbled by Allu Arjun’s gesture Preetisheel shared the clip of Allu Arjun and wrote, “When an actor, so versatile like @alluarjunonline appreciates your work… it only encourages you to do better. Thank you so much for such kind words. It means a ton to the whole team!”
The lab is also behind the makeovers of Rashmika Mandanna and Fahadh Faasil in the film, with their looks too receiving tremendous praise from critics and fans alike.
In fact, Da Makeup Lab, at Versova, Mumbai, has emerged as the number one outfit for makeup and prosthetic requirements in the entertainment industry. It has been the undisputed leader for many years. The studio has been responsible for handling challenging look transformations for many movies such as Padmaavat, Bajirao Mastani, 102 Not Out, Housefull 4, Mom, Bala, Chhichhore, Bunty Aur Babli 2 and another Southern megahit Master.
Their forthcoming films include very interesting names such as Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiwadi and Akshay Kumar starrers like Bachchan Pandey, OMG 2 and Ram Setu.
“This level of appreciation is a real blessing,” says makeover specialist Preetisheel
Telugu superstar Allu Arjun’s highly-anticipated action-thriller Pushpa: The Rise created a storm at the box-office soon after its nationwide release in various languages. The Part 1 of the movie broke all the records to become India’s biggest grosser of 2021, with a worldwide collection of Rs 173 crores on the first weekend.
Fans who watched the movie flooded social media with appreciation about Allu Arjun, Rashmika Mandanna and Fahadh Faasil’s performances, their unique looks and makeovers. Some called it a masterpiece for the direction, while others appreciated the actors’ looks and transformation that makes the characters look more realistic and believable.
The talent behind all the makeovers (from Allu Arjun’s to Rashmika Mandanna and Fahadh Faasil’s), Preetisheel Singh D’souza, finds herself a little short of words to express her happiness. The makeup and prosthetic character designer remarks, “It’s always a pleasure to hear good things about your work, but this level of appreciation is a real blessing.”
Allu Arjun, who plays a truck driver involved in red sandalwood smuggling, dropped his ‘style icon’ image and donned a rustic look – ruffled hair, tanned skin, rugged beard and sharp-piercing eyes. “He patiently sat on the chair for hours for the transformation and gave all the liberty to experiment,” informs Preetisheel. The hard work indeed paid off as fans are going gaga over it.
She adds, “It was a challenge to create the looks. Whether it was the dramatic avatar of Allu Arjun, the deglamorized version of Rashmika Mandanna, or the bald look of Fahadh Faasil, a lot of work went into making them look the way they do in the film. I am happy that people are finding these drastic transformations interesting.”
But that’s not the only reason for Preetisheel to be happy. This has been a rocking year for her. Besides the success of Pushpa: The Rise, another Southern film Master, where she worked on Thalapathy Vijay, emerged a mega-hit at the box-office. Her film Chichhore where she had designed the old and new looks for all the cast including Sushant Singh Rajput, won the National Award in the Best Film category. She earned a lot of critical acclaim for the various makeovers in Bunty Aur Babli 2. Apart from that her character designs for Divya Agarwal in the ALT Balaji web series Cartel won tremendous praise.
Moreover, her studio Da Makeup Lab in the posh Versova locality of Mumbai, which she runs with her work and life partner Mark D’souza, has emerged as the number one outfit for makeup and prosthetic requirements in the entertainment industry.
What’s more! 2022 looks as promising as 2021. Preetisheel is gearing up for the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiwadi and Akshay Kumar starrers like Bachchan Pandey, OMG 2 and Ram Setu next.
Last but not the least, Chhichhore will be one of the first international films to hit Chinese theatres in 2022. With its release date set for January 7, the first Friday of the new year, some are even talking about it as a sign of thawing of ties between China and India in the coming year.
Bollywood’s most lovable crooks are back with Bunty Aur Babli 2. The trailer is out and the film is about to release soon. While Rani Mukerji and Saif Ali Khan are playing the senior con artistes, Siddhant Chaturvedi and Sharvari Wagh are the upstarts who are out to rob the ‘brand name’ of the original pair.
While the various looks of the much-awaited film are the talk of the town, one person who is really really happy with the tremendous response is makeup and prosthetic character designer Preetisheel Singh D’souza. The lady who is known for creating transformative looks for actors in numerous films like Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat, Housefull 4, Haider, Rangoon, Mom, 102 Not Out, Thackeray, Bala and Chhichhore, has once again outdone herself curating various looks for Bunty Aur Babli 2.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride,” quips Preetisheel, who recently also acquired a lot of critical acclaim for the various characters played by Divya Agarwal in the ALTBalaji web series Cartel. “When the pandemic hit, everyone was worried about the pace of the film industry. But the way things are picking up, it’s as if we are rolling at double the speed. And I for one, am not complaining,” she cheerfully adds.
Of course she has all the reason to celebrate. It’s been one of the most momentous years for her. Chhichhore won a National Award for best film, her Tamil action thriller where she curated the look for Southern superstar Vijay broke box-office records, and apart from Bunty Aur Babli 2, she has got yet another huge project in Allu Arjun’s multilingual Pushpa: The Rise – Part 1 coming up for release.
For the record, apart from being the No. 1 hair, makeup and prosthetic look designer in Bollywood, she runs India’s premier outfit Da Makeup Lab along with her partner husband Mark D’Souza. The lab’s building is a landmark in the posh Versova locality of Mumbai.
‘Black is beautiful’ is a line synonymous with fashion. But who thought that an inanimate object in Mumbai will bag the tag. But that’s what has happened with the office of Da Makeup Lab; touted as India’s first hair, makeup and prosthetic lab.
Emerging a landmark in the heart of Bollywood in the posh locality of Versova, Andheri, Mumbai, this four-storied imposing black building with coloured dots and huge face murals painted on it, has become a centre of attraction for many. So much so that passersby not only take pictures of it, but often stand opposite it to take selfies with it in the background. Yes, you got that right — selfies with a building.
As for the lab itself, it is buzzing with activity throughout the year, with the company being owned by Preetisheel Singh D’souza and her husband-partner Mark D’souza. While Mark takes care of the business, Preetisheel looks at the creatives, constructing astonishing character designs for a plethora of films including Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat, Haider, 102 Not Out, Chhichhore, Housefull 4, Thackeray, Bala and the upcoming Gangubai Kathiawadi.
She is a National Award-winner and was recently featured by international website USA Newshour among the top best 5 makeup and prosthetic designers in the world, along with Hollywood stalwarts such as Kazu Hiro, Christian Tinsley, Jordu Schell and Neill Gorton. Also, she was the only woman featured in this top list of world-famous makeup and prosthetic designers.
Meanwhile, the beautiful black landmark building stands tall at Versova main road and keeps amusing everyone. We won’t say, ‘don’t miss spotting it,’ because if you happen to be in that part of Mumbai, there’s no way you can miss it.
Compares them with Hrithik Roshan’s look transformations
The news media is going ga-ga over the various character transformations of Divya Agarwal for the web series Cartel. Designed by character designer Preetisheel Singh D’souza of Da Makeup Lab, the various looks show the Bigg Boss OTT winner in different stunning avatars.
An article in Desi Martini praises the looks to great heights saying, “The actress seems to have recreated Hrithik Roshan’s Doom 2 shape-shifting success with her role in Cartel.”
It notes that in one of the transformations into an old man, one “can hardly tell it’s her, thanks to the amazing prosthetics, and in another, she’s a cleaning lady, eons away from what she looks like in real life.”
Recently, Divya shared a time-lapse video of her transformation, diligently being done by makeup and prosthetic specialists of Da Makeup Lab which specialises in hair, makeup and prosthetics, having its landmark base in the high-end Versova locality of Mumbai.
Along with the video, the actress penned a long note saying, “This is how I spent my birthday on 4th December 2019, friends and family were waiting for me at home for celebrations and I was just so proud to start Cartel on that day! This was the cast for my prosthetic makeup, took nearly 2 hours with all my senses blocked except for my nose! I was calm, composed and yet my heart was jumping! There were calls flowing in continuously for birthday wishes, I wanted to scream and share this good news but I couldn’t! somewhere I knew my birthday gift was special that year, it was my last birthday celebration with my dad and I told him I’m doing a web series of your favourite genre and he was very happy.”
Divya plays an assassin in the crime thriller which has been released on Alt Balaji. The series has garnered a very high 8.9 out of 10 rating on IMDb.
In the Ultimate Marvel universe within the pages of the Ultimate Origins #1, it is revealed that super-powered “mutants” were artificially created via genetic modification by the Weapon X program in a laboratory in Alberta, Canada in October 1943.
However, as far as India goes, mutants have now begun to walk in Versova, Mumbai.
Before you jump out of your chair, let us tell you that National Award-winning makeup and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh Dsouza, who curated looks of Ranveer Singh as Alahudin Khilji in Padmaavat, Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Balasaheb Thackeray in Thackeray and Ayushman Khurana as Bala in Bala, has gone ahead and begun experimenting with mutant figures.
Recently, celebrating the World Art Day on social media, Preetisheel shared a mutant face as an in-house experiment at Da Make Lab, her state-of-the-art makeup and prosthetic lab in Versova, Mumbai.
“Creative expression is our most cherished gift. Happy #WorldArtDay to all the creative artists. Reminiscing the process of creating this look from our first #AnimalXHuman mutant series,” she wrote, announcing that she is gearing up for more.
Must say, the mutant face she shared, does look super intriguing (reminds us a bit of Hellboy, but with full on horns) and we are looking forward to what she creates next.
National Award-winning makeup and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh who has designed the looks for actors like Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor, recently got to work with superstar Nagarjuna.
Starting off curating his look for a promo of Telugu Bigg Boss some time ago, she looks forward to work with him again. “Till last year, I was really looking forward to meeting Nagarjuna Sir, as I have grown up watching quite a few of his movies. When I finally did meet him, I found him to be such a warm and welcoming person,” says Preetisheel, complimenting the superstar who will be completing 35 years of his career next month.
“You wouldn’t expect such humility from a person of his stature but he is one of the most humble and grounded stars I have ever met. It was a pleasure working with him and I really hope that we work together again,” she adds.
For the record, Preetisheel Singh has earlier worked for many popular Bollywood films such as Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat, Chhichhore, 102 Not Out, Mulk, Bala, Andhadhun and Housefull 4. Along with her work partner-husband Mark D’souza, she has also set up India’s first makeup and prosthetic lab called Da Makeup Lab in Versova, Mumbai.
Makeup and prosthetic look designer Preetisheel Singh who created all the young and old looks for Chhichhore, feels Sushant Singh Rajput would have felt vindicated if he was alive today.
Congratulating Team Chhichhore on bagging the Best Film National Award, “There is hardly any bigger satisfaction to cherish for a creative people, than getting due recognition. The National Award has etched Chhichhore looks in public memory forever.”
Talking about Sushant Singh Rajput and his untimely demise, Preetisheel says, “He sure deserved much more and had a lot to achieve. This National Award for Chhichhore might have made him feel vindicated.”
In fact, Preetisheel herself won the National Award for her first film Nanak Shah Fakir. Apart from Chhichhore, she has earlier worked for huge box-offices successes such as Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat, 102 Not Out, Mulk, Bala and Housefull 4, and designed looks for many A-listers including Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor.
Preetisheel has also set up India’s first makeup and prosthetic lab called Da Makeup Lab at Versova, Mumbai. Her goal is to bring standards of makeup and prosthetics in India at par with Hollywood.
Half of Bollywood will be OUT OF WORK even after lockdown ends: Experts
Bollywood is in dire straits. After the Corona Crisis Lockdown, the entire industry is sitting at home and out of work. But what is most worrying now, is that experts predict that the situation is not going to go back to normal again. The new normal is going to witness around half of the film industry staying out of work. Business Upturn spoke to industry experts.
Read this exclusive article to know more and how to keep your personal brand alive and afloat in this time of impending financial crisis.
The lockdown has struck the most destructive and devastating blow to the entertainment industry. It has crippled the lives of thousands of daily wage workers, upcoming and existing talents, including actors, dancers, make-up artists, costume teams, technicians etc.
Bollywood going downhill
“Many would have already changed their professions and got into small time odd-jobs to somehow survive this phase with whatever they can earn here and there. The film industry has lost its way. Half of our industry’s workers will still be running helter-skelter for jobs and many of them will have to diversify into other fields and keep their participation in films to minimal,” says trade analyst Rajeev Chaudhari.
Amit Behl, senior joint secretary of Cine & TV Artists Association (CINTAA) echoes the sentiment. “Yes, half of Bollywood would definitely be out of work even if the lockdown ends. This is primarily because of specific reasons. One, because of the clash in directives between the State Government and the Central Government.”
“Plus, considering the hazards of COVID-19, there is a clear directive that actors above 65 and children below 10 will not be allowed to work till the time new norms come into place. Going by this rule, a lot of senior actors as well as child artistes will definitely be out of work, primarily when it comes to television. There have been huge budget cuts by the broadcasters and those budget cuts have been passed on to producers. So eventually it will go down to the cast and crew and the daily wage workers,” explains Behl.
Senior journalist Latha Srinivasan remarks, “The lockdown and its restrictions for more than 90 days has caused significant financial losses to producers, production houses, distributors and exhibitors. As a result, once the lockdown is lifted, it won’t be possible even for top actors in Bollywood to get back to work as businesses have to be realigned post examining the financial aspects and how best they can minimise further losses.”
Prepare for the worst
News of resumption of film and TV serial shootings has come out, but many technicians and actors are upset with the severe guidelines that have been issued along with insurance for all unit members etc. These additional costs of meeting the conditions of these guidelines are going to be challenging for the producers. Even if mainstream shootings will revive, there will be restrictions on crowd scenes, intimate scenes etc. with compromise in creativity and logistics.
Director Vivek Sharma who made the famous film Bhoothnath starring Amitabh Bachchan and featuring Shah Rukh Khan opines, “Thanks to film mafia, half of Bollywood was always out of work and post lockdown it will be the same. Television and web series’ actors will be in demand as these platforms need content to run their channels.” He feels that shoots will begin normally after September 2020 and that slowly people will get back in business.
To survive this lockdown and the fear its brought with it, Sharma suggests a lot of online interactions including workshops. “It’s a good time for people to learn and prepare for a time which will bring more and more changes and possibilities,” he says.
But Amit Behl is concerned about many other things than how one can make the most of this dismal phase. He worries about the fact that there is a “drastic cut in the crew members of the film shoots, which is about 30-35 percent slash in the number of people on the sets. That means a lot of people are going to be out of work. A lot of roles of junior artistes and actors are also going to face the axe because Indian daily soaps survive on family drama and a lot of wedding scenes, festival sequences and song and dance sequences, which will now have to be drastically cut or omitted altogether. There will obviously be no crowd involvement and no audience in any talk shows, game shows, reality shows and these kind of competition-based shows. Also, a lot of technical crew is going to be cut down, and all this is surely going to affect Bollywood as well as the television industry.”
Drawing our attention again to the state of affairs, Behl says, “The focus is now going to be about who all is essentially required on the sets and by the broadcaster. Those departments which can’t be avoided in shoots… those are the people who will get work for now. Of course, everyone is very hopeful that this crisis does not last beyond the end of 2020, but because of the dialogues I have had in the last three months with about 60 trade unions in 83 countries, I can say that the budget cuts and crew member cuts in other parts of the world are even more brutal than they are in India.”
Having said that, Behl points out that a lot of western countries have better technical finesse, so they can manage with the cuts. But we are a very manpower-heavy entertainment industry, so it’s going to hit us even harder and affect a lot more people than anywhere else in the world.
“But we can’t blame broadcasters for having heavily slashed their budgets. Because advertising revenue is down, the broadcasters don’t have much of an option. Its only the FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods) companies who are advertising right now and its slightly inhumane for companies to begin advertising products related to COVID… whether it’s for a cure or for a PPE Kit (Personal Protective Equipment Kit) or for sanitizers. So we are in hard times and just hoping for the skies to clear,” he adds.
Improve communication and PR skills
Amith Prabhu, founding Dean at School of Communications and Reputation (SCoRe) is more concerned about how to utilize this time in self-improvement and education. Like many other he is of the opinion that this is the time to hone your communication and PR skills.
He asks industry people to explore opportunities to create low-cost yet high-quality cinema. He feels this is also a time to reset lifestyles and suggests five things actors can do. Here are the pointers he puts forth:
1) First offer a free and then a paid masterclass to fans on social media.
2) Create a low-cost short movie series shot from home or from places where crowds can be avoided.
3) Learn something new with multiple courses available online.
4) Support a non-profit organisation by being a temporary brand ambassador with no cost to that organisation.
5) Write a monthly column on the advantages of communication in the world of TV and cinema.
Fees to drop heavily
Rajeev Chaudhari wants to bring people’s attention to box-office collections. “Now with this humongous loss in our industry, the prices that a regular TV serial used to fetch from a channel will come down drastically to less than 50% and a feature film cannot perceive box-office business in hundreds of crores anymore. Gone are those days.”
He feels that the film industry’s corporate status has crashed and its premium value has diminished. “Now with reduction in film and TV unit members, along with reduction in the number of films being made, work opportunities will be very less and fees in all the departments will drop heavily.”
Chaudhari points out that in view of above cuts, due to new guidelines and deep recession, even if the lockdown opens up, it will not be able to accommodate all workers and creative labourers with jobs.
Beware of depression, suicides, fear
“The Corona Crisis has taken a huge toll on the financial and mental health of the industry’s labourers and creative members, leading to depression and suicides. This severe catastrophic state has never been seen before in our entertainment industry,” he adds.
Latha Srinivasan feels, “Given the government regulations to be followed for shoots, one needs to see how many people are comfortable working in such an environment. Some actors may not want to shoot till they are 100% sure their health is not at risk and it’s anybody’s guess as to when the environment will be COVID-free, if at all.”
“Yes, it’s true. Barring three or four of them, most Bollywood celebrities are not even stepping out, so to come for work is not going to happen,” says Viral Bhayani, the most popular Bollywood freelance photographer on Instagram.
“Everyone is waiting for a cure and Mumbai the epicenter of Bollywood still remains at a huge risk. If the shoots begin and something unforeseen happens then it is all going to go in vain. I know it has badly affected everyone financially but we will have to be more patient,” he remarks.
Surprisingly, Bhayani admits to a stark reality for many in the industry by giving an example of his own case. “Just like many who depend on outdoor work in their business, for me too, the photography business has unfortunately been destroyed at the moment. I’ve faced the probability of shutting down completely. But I also know for a fact that once the cure is out, we are gonna rock again. Things will be back to normal. Somehow I feel it is going to happen soon,” says Bhayani, hoping against hope.
He remarks that right now we all have to survive on our past incomes till things get normal. “Some of the shoots have begun but they are all happening outside of Mumbai and there too, most unit members are extremely scared. So even after the lockdown ends, many will still be left with little work or no work at all.”
Bhayani also brings us to another aspect of this issue, saying that the commitment and sentiment right now is so low that no filmmaker will take a risk to make a film unless there is cooperation from the Government and technicians charge fairly as per the current situation.
Larger-than-life cinema could return
But veteran freelance journalist Rajiv Vijayakar disagrees with many such notions. “I do not think we can quantify how much of the industry will be out of work after the lockdown. I am looking at it in another way.”
“The days of niche movies pandering to the ‘intelligentsia’ and pseudo-intellectuals — the so-called ‘multiplex cinema audience’ — are numbered. With a plethora of such films as well as inferior commercial movies hitting OTT directly, it is clear that such products will make a small but secure profit, which, sadly, will keep cinematic excesses like Ghoomketu and Bhonsle coming. But the pan-Indian movies will thrive, as these alone will get returns commensurate with the investments, as in the past.”
“The range of such movies, obviously, extends from Andhadhun to Sooryavanshi and the South kind of spectacles,” he adds. Vijayakar feels that all this will slowly, but surely, culminate in Hindi films reemerging as the mass-medium of entertainment which it was once upon a time, and which it should be. Accordingly, only the stars, filmmakers and composers who believe in such larger-than-life cinema will thrive.
Pandemic shall pass, but competition won’t
Casting director Ahana Mohammed says, one should simply accept the challenge the COVID-19 pandemic crisis has thrown on us and make it favorable. “Those who do not have Godfathers in the industry to provide big breaks, can start learning ways to sharpen their skills.”
“The best way to survive is to get yourself moving, even if it means virtually. Get connected to people, share your thoughts and emotions, be wise and utilize this time by learning ways to master your craft,” she adds.
She makes another point, saying that one needs to up his/her ante by getting professional help in this crucial time. “Get an agent on board, who can understand your talent. Follow this up with good PR activity, which is necessary to put actors — especially freshers — high up amongst the cutthroat competition. Remember, the pandemic shall pass, but competition won’t,” concludes Mohammed.
Star prices will normalize, nepotism will decrease
Veteran journalist Jyothi Venkatesh makes a very interesting observation on the same lines. “After the lockdown, only the fittest will survive in Bollywood whether it is actors or journalists or PR persons. The field will be automatically filtered and the best in their professions will continue. Star prices will normalize and nepotism will decrease, though not eliminated.”
“A lot of money will be saved and things will eventually turn for the better. Though with social distancing, it will be tough to show romance, content should improve. The biggest beneficiaries will be the OTTs.”
“In this scenario, only those who know their work and worth will be able to flourish and the rest will perish,” he adds. Venkatesh also points out that a change will be evident among film exhibitors. “The multiplexes will realise that they are here not to fleece the industry by charging producers and distributors rentals for trailers and standees, or milk the patrons with steep prices for samosas and Pepsi and also for drinking water.”
Need for brand control
New-age film journalist and blogger Diganta Guha says, “It seems quite incredulous that the bigwigs might not have any silver screen releases this year. Time is running out and they would have to be through with their pending projects. Crores are at stake and nobody wants to incur humongous losses just for the sake of delays.”
He adds that apart from the lockdown, actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s untimely demise has been a jolt from the blue. “At this point of time, we need strong personalities as a lot of worms are getting out of the can and Bollywood may take a drastic fall if this does not stop. What is probably needs right away is some PR control to avoid the tsunami of controversies destroying its reputation.”
Guha analyses, “A great PR like Dale Bhagwagar could be the ideal person to guide actors and actresses through this period. Over the years, this guy has been legendary, handling media publicity for so many stars such as Hrithik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty and Priyanka Chopra. He is best suited for helping new actors and actresses maneuver their way through PR during such a crisis situation. Otherwise, a lot of celebrities might simply fade away into oblivion by the time all this chaos ends.”
Rajeev Chaudhari echoes Guha’s views.”A seasoned publicist like Dale Bhagwagar can suggest new PR ways to help actors survive this period. Because, in such a time, an out-of-sight actor and actress, will now be out of the industry.”
He evaluates that “With this deep recession and fierce cut-throat competition, there will be scuffling struggle by industry workers and professionals to be visible to the employers of the film and TV industry. I think now is the need for a good Bollywood publicist who can salvage good talent.”
PR or perish
But Chaudhari cautions that “Bollywood publicists too will have to find new ways to ensure that their PR clients are actively present in the radar of the casting directors and filmmakers, by generating articles, features, interviews, news, healthy gossip and Press Releases which suit the situation. The market has become acutely competitive and an actor or a professional can’t afford to skip the help of PR services now.”
He adds that every professional should seek effective PR help to make his or her presence felt in these challenging times. “Actors will have to be doubly aggressive in their approach and struggle to acquire work from production houses. With good active PR support, actors and actresses can keep registering their names their faces in the public even when they are not working. Their constant presence on the best Bollywood websites as well as social media and other PR mediums, could ensure celebs and upcoming artistes a place in the minds of casting directors and filmmakers.”
True! Fact is that the situation is what it is and film actors and technicians can’t help it, but focus on their PR at the moment. The only thing in their hands right now is to survive this crisis by staying afloat and continuing to be in the news. Otherwise, by the time the Corona Crisis ends, a new lot of actors and actresses will be ready to take over all the roles and new-age platforms setting their mark. Those you will have kept themselves in the news, might have some chance of survival. Many will perish.
Jo dikhta hai woh bikta hai
In the world we live in, there’s this umbilical cord between fame and credibility. Here, visibility equals credibility. You cannot be credible unless you’re visible. And that’s where the PR professionals and PR teams come in the picture. many in the industry believe that staying put in the news through PR is the best way to tide over this crisis. After all, the dictum ‘Jo dikhta hai woh bikta hai’ has always worked in Bollywood.
Maybe it’s for this reason that we are now seeing an influx of Bollywood’s upcoming stars, flock to PR guys to keep them in news during the lockdown. Actresses and actors are desperately trying to strengthen their brand and image so that they would be the ones to get work by the time this whole downturn ends.
Earlier, we have reported how Bollywood’s PR legend Dale Bhagwagar has been getting a huge amount of PR offers suddenly during lockdown. The top Bollywood publicist has signed seven new PR clients during the lockdown and shows no signs of slowing down.
Stay relevant, stay connected
Talking about PR strategies, Latha Srinivasan says, “Many actors might still want to stay relevant and connected to the audience at this time given that they may not be able to shoot or their films may not be releasing. One of the key things celebs should do is use their social media platforms to amplify the good work being done by people, start a fundraiser and talk about health and safety. They should also use their social media to uplift the morale of people. For instance, they can shoot fitness videos or showcase their other talents which people are not aware of.” But she warns that all top Bollywood celebs need to be careful to not put out posts that showcase them as the privileged lot, as this will backfire on them and bring up the topic of nepotism again.
Vivek Sharma is also of the opinion that celebrities should improve and improvise on their PR at this time. “The world is suffering. Not only from the Coronavirus Crisis, but also from depression. There is a lot of fear. During such a time if we film industry people make positive motivational videos, short films and vlogs, we can be a pillar of strength for many people. We can give hope and share hope, umeed, jazbaat aur saath.”
Viral Bhayani brings new insight to this. He points out that celebs do a lot of things for the sake of earnings. And it would be difficult for them to monetise most of the stuff they put on the web. “For Bollywood celebs to make money online is difficult as even if they make short films for YouTube, it takes a lot of time to monetise them.”
He says that workout videos of filmstars are often trending but after a point of time the actors need to balance them out with more different hobby ideas like cooking, singing, family videos, pet videos, Instagram Live appearances and even participation on debate shows online. He suggests that filmstars can also do their own photo shoots and show their fans different looks, fashion trends, gym looks and glamour looks.
Whatever be the case, we pray that our favourite entertainment industry comes out of the terrible situation it’s found itself in. We have our fingers crossed for all those who have lost work and hope they would be able to recover the lost time, stay afloat in news and bounce back when their time returns.
For any passerby on Versova main road in Andheri, Mumbai, there stands this imposing black building with coloured dots and huge face murals hard to miss. Some people point at the uniqueness of colour and designs, some stop to take selfies with the building in the background, and some even try to enter it just to ask what the place is all about.
National Award-winning makeup and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh’s new four-storey office ‘Da Makeup Lab’ has fast become a landmark in the heart of Bollywood. It is Bollywood’s premier firm for all of the industry’s makeup, hair and prosthetic requirements.
Spearheaded by Preetisheel Singh along with her partner Mark D’souza, the dream team has worked on some of Bollywood’s topnotch movies such as Bajirao Mastani, Padmaavat, Haider, Mom, 102 Not Out, Thackeray, Bala, Chhichhore and Housefull 4.
The building keeps amusing everyone. “Is it a museum?,” a passerby asked at the reception once. “Is it a tattoo parlour?,” asked another. “Do you do bridal makeup?”; “Why is it painted black?”; “Is it a salon?”; “Is it a production house?”; “Do you do auditions?” — the questions are never-ending.
Once a group of people walked in saying, “The building looked good from outside, so just came inside to check out.” Gee! Didn’t we say this landmark building is hard to miss!!
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.
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.