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.”

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.

Kajol article sparks Bollywood PR hoopla

https://pragenciesinmumbai.com/bollywood-pr/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.

Are Jasleen Matharu and Anup Jalota in a PLATONIC relationship?

As appeared on Fully Filmy

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

— Dale Bhagwagar (@DaleBhagwagar) September 19, 2018

“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 RoshanShilpa 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.

Bigg Boss SENSATIONAL: Battle lines drawn as season 12 makes a roaring start

As appeared on Santa Banta

http://www.santabanta.com/bollywood/127223/bigg-boss-sensational-battle-lines-drawn-as-season-12-makes-a-roaring-start/

Bigg Boss SENSATIONAL: Battle lines drawn as season 12 makes a roaring start

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 12 may bring more dramatic value to the firebrand show

As appeared on Mango Bunch

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://t.co/wrVkafwOKP @BiggBoss#BiggBoss12 #BB12

— Dale Bhagwagar (@DaleBhagwagar) August 16, 2018

“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.

Salman Khan may come early with Bigg Boss Season 12

As appeared on Mango Bunch

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 SawantRahul MahajanPooja MisrraAman VermaDiana HaydenAshmit PatelAmar UpadhyaySherlyn ChopraAarya BabbarSonali 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.

— Dale Bhagwagar (@DaleBhagwagar) July 20, 2018

“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 RoshanShilpa ShettyPriyanka 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.

Page 1 lead

It’s been an interesting beginning of the day for me today. 🌞 Have been extensively quoted in the Page 1 lead story of the entertainment supplements of Deccan Chronicle, the No.1 English Daily in the South. 🗞

In fact, in eight Deccan Chronicle – Entertainment city editions — Hyderabad and Karimnagar editions (from Telangana), along with their Vizag, Rajahmundry, Vijayawada, Nellore and Anantapur editions (from Andhra Pradesh). 🌇

Thank you Oishani Mojumder for the fantabulous story. And yes, must say, you sure are a very introspective journalist. 😀😀 Thank you once again. 🙏

Preetisheel Singh in Hindustan Times

Got my PR client Preetisheel Singh speak to Hindustan Times for a feature which appeared as a front page lead in HT City. Special thanks to Shreya Mukherjee for it.

PS: Sorry friends, HT has been putting more and more restrictions on its free epaper, as it expects people to pay and login et al for full functionality. So I wasn’t able to download a good resolution image for the article.

Thank you, Chaitanya :) :)

TESTIMONIAL: “Only you can make media miracles happen, Dale. You are the media monarch with the midas touch.” -Chaitanya Padukone, eminent senior film journalist and author

What’s new? This is!

My PR client Preetisheel Singh has made a rocking start this year too. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Last year, she handled the makeup, hair and prosthetic for actors in Padmaavat, 102 Not Out, Mulk and Andhadhun. 🤩 She’s started this year with the look for Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Thackeray. Coming up are RAW, Chhichhore, Housefull 4, Bharat, Panga, Raat Akeli Hai, Boomerang, Om and PM Narendra Modi. 🎯 Audiences…. dil, jigar aur chair handles thaam ke baitho. 🎞 🎲  -Dale Bhagwagar

Thank you, Preetisheel :) :)

TESTIMONIAL: “You the magic man, Dale.” -Preetisheel Singh, India’s numero uno makeup and prosthetic designer

Thank you PreetisheelMark… rock on with Da MakeUp Lab 😀😀 Great to work with you guys. 🤠 -Dale Bhagwagar