Recently, while preparing for the shoot of Umesh Shukla’s102 Not Out, makeup, hair and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh got busy working on the look of veteran actor Rishi Kapoor.
The much-awaited film has Kapoor playing a 75-year-old grumpy son to a 102-year-young cheerful Amitabh Bachchan. Its trailer and songs, including Badumbaa and Bachche Ki Jaan Loge Kya, are already a hit.
“Rishi Sir said he found the look seamless and flawless,” recalls Preetisheel. Saying that it looked extremely real, the veteran actor called her a “magician”. “A comment so flattering from a person of his talent and stature is something I will cherish for life,” quips the makeover wiz.
It’s been a roller coaster ride for Preetisheel this year. After garnering acclaim for her work in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat where she designed the looks for the complete cast along with Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor and Deepika Padukone, she went on to win the Power Brands – Bollywood Film Journalists Award too.
Meanwhile, her film Nanak Shah Fakir, which bagged her the National Film Award for Best Makeup, has been re-released by Viacom18 Motion Pictures, albeit amidst controversy.
Next, the lady is looking forward to Vikramaditya Motwane’s Bhavesh Joshi Superhero starring Harshvardhan Kapoor and working on Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s look for the Abhijit Panse-directed movie Thackeray; the biopic on Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray.
POINTERS: National Award-winning make-up, hair and prosthetic designer Preetisheel Singh
After Bajirao Mastani, Sanjay Leela Bhansali repeated Preetisheel Singh for Padmaavat. She designed the looks of all the main starcast including Ranveer Singh (as the evil ruler Alauddin Khilji), Deepika Padukone (as the legendary queen Padmavati) and Shahid Kapoor (as the Rajput ruler Ratan Singh). Viewers and film critics alike, have been awestruck with the results, with Preetisheel emerging the undisputed No.1 make-up, hair and prosthetic designer in the film industry.
Videos of look tests during the making of Padmaavat:
Preetisheel has created the look for Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s in Thackeray… the biopic being made on Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray. Its teaser was released some time ago by Uddhav Thackeray and Amitabh Bachchan and received widespread critical acclaim.
She has worked on Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s look earlier too in the movie Mom, where her make-up and prosthetic work was highly appreciated.
She has also done the make-up and prosthetic for actors in films like Shivaay, Haider, Hawaizaada, Housefull 3, Rangoon, Brothers, Talwar, Finding Fanny, Parched, Ghayal Once Again and the Tamil/Hindi film 24.
After Padmaavat, Preetisheel has also begun receiving a lot of offers down South. She has just accepted a Tamil film called Boomerang, where she is working on the looks for famous Tamil actor Ataharvaa Murali.
She received the ‘National Film Award for Best Makeup’ for the pre-Mughal historical epic Nanak Shah Fakir based on the life of Guru Nanak, wherein she designed the looks for all the characters in the movie. The film has recently re-released through Viacom18 Motion Pictures amid controversy.
Preetisheel’s work of creating believable ghost-figures for the recent horror film House Next Door has also been praised a lot. The film, which released in three languages (as House Next Door in Hindi, as Aval in Tamil and Gruham in Telugu) garnered critical acclaim and once again earned a lot of positive reviews for her work.
For the upcoming film 102 Not Out directed by Umesh Shukla, Preetisheel has designed the looks for Amitabh Bachchan as a 102-year-old man, as well as for Rishi Kapoor playing his 75-year-old son. Its trailer and songs, including Badumbaa and Bachche Ki Jaan Loge Kya are already a rage.
Apart from Mulk and Thackeray, her work as a make-up, hair and prosthetic designer will soon be showcased once again in upcoming movies such as Vikramaditya Motwane’s film Bhavesh Joshi Superhero starring Harshvardhan Kapoor. Its teaser has just released, revealing Harshvardhan’s look as a vigilante and it’s been the talk of the town.
After this, there is Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas, the debut film of Sunny Deol’s son Karan Deol.
Preetisheel has also set up India’s first make-up and prosthetic lab called Da Makeup Lab and her goal is to bring standards of make-up and prosthetic in India at par with Hollywood.
At the onset, I should mention that the views in this article are my own and the website may or may not agree with them. I am starting with this disclaimer because what I am about to say could ruffle feathers. And if it doesn’t, then a lot of media people should delve into their conscience.
Journalism, like PR, is turning into a business
We all know that in the advertising, marketing and PR agencies, copywriters write phrases, articles and catch-lines in favour of clients who pay them. In contrast to the copywriter, the more ethical profession of journalism has always attracted a lot of respect and privileges.
However, in recent times, most top newspapers are officially selling editorial space under what has come to be known as Paid Media or Paid News. The profession of journalism is turning into a business; just like my PR business. It’s simple — the client pays and in return, good things are written about and publicized, mostly in a glorifying and exaggerated manner. The moneyed people and projects get premium coverage, while others, more than often, are treated as not important; however credible their news might be.
Be a thought leader, not a policy follower
What I am about to ask now, is a very difficult question to ask. A painful one too. But someday soon, someone or the other is gonna ask it. So I thought to myself, why not me and why not today. Now the tricky part here (or call it irony) is that I am a publicist. And publicists are supposed to be media manipulators, spin doctors, schemers. Yeah, of course I am all that and more. I do plan, plot and plug content all the time.
Just like the old-school journalists, PR guys are the ones who build perceptions, remodel and remake them. Which makes them no less than thought leaders. And from this perspective, I feel I am equally suited to ask this question: Should Paid Media journalists be termed and credited as copywriters?
When it all started a couple of years ago in the print media, it began with one paper beginning to charge for articles and editorial space. Over the years, when it met success, one by one, other print media began charging for articles. They began competing in best pricing for articles and features in bulk packages. Patronising the payers and giving second-hand treatment to the non-payers became management policy. And now a time has come when it is difficult for the reader to differentiate news from promotional pieces. More than often the advertisement departments dictate terms to the editorial departments.
Print Media losing its spine
How ethical is it for a journalist (one who is expected to be fair in reporting news) to write an objective piece when his/her publication is busy patronising the paying clients? Of course, it’s not possible and many-a-times, ethics are dammed. And since quite a few media are involved in this whole process, the remaining ones stay quiet about it. I’d say, both Paid Media and their silent watchers have lost their spine. It’s just a matter of time and a spark, when some top celebrity, politician or business tycoon points fingers at them, followed a national controversy about it.
Print journalists turning into puppets?
When a journalist echoes the sentiments of the paper’s advertising department, or of the owner of the publication, one does wonder if the journalist is actually a copywriter… or maybe, even a marketeer or publicist. And the list of such articles and journalists is growing.
A wake up call
If the Paid News trend goes on, the day wouldn’t be far when there will emerge a lot of Donald Trumps in India, crying foul and screaming, ‘Fake News, Fake News’ for what he calls “dishonest and biased media.” Let this article written by a PR on a PR website be a wake-up call for print journalists.
Last but not the least, do note that this piece is not written to make any scribe feel bad. Its written for the sake of insight and introspection. Take it in the right spirit. If you are a journalist and can’t change the industry, maybe you could change yourself or the job. After all, self-esteem and pride has been synonymous with journalism and I am sure every aspiring journalist gets into the profession to enjoy that pride.
After spending your years in journalism, when you grow old and your grand-children ask you, ‘how did you contribute in the great information and communication age?’, you don’t want to say, ‘I pushed articles for those who paid’.
Wow, what an exposing article. Mr Dale Bhagwagar is what PR legends are made of. He talks about things no PR ever dared. Super entertaining fellow too. Talks as if he is narrating stories. I have him on my google alert from where I got this article. Follow this guy like a bhakt. Once he came to my college for a guest lecture. Before the lecture our coordinator said she will show a video of Mr Dale before he comes in to talk. Lights went off and someone entered the classroom and sat besides me. When the video was playing the guy told me this speaker in the video is talking bullshit. I said yes and wondered who this colleague was. When the lights came on I realised that it was the speaker sitting besides me. He cheekily smiled at me and went to the podium to begin his talk. I was so so so embarrassed. He turned out to be mind blowing in his lecture. Best part was when he was asked about PR fees. All wanted to know what a Bollywood PR charges. He told us his fees bindaas. That was something no one had told us earlier. We also never knew Bollywood PRs were so well paid. Some decided on our profession only after he spoke at my college. But throughout the talk, I was only wishing he wouldn’t mention about that yes I’d said.
By Pragati Naik on 31st January 2018 – 2:43PM
Hopefully your spark of idealism will trigger a few fires and spread more light in a grey world of media/ journalism
By Sam Mohan on 31st January 2018 – 10:01PM
Yes. Paid journalists should be called copywriters But TOI Where the practice of paid news began, has done the reverse . In the good old days the bylines of the journalists would be followed by Times News Network And that of the writer reporting for the response department would have No Such tagline. This would at least differentiate between a journo and a response department writer. But now that distinction has been removed: so now response writers bylines that say ABC@timesgroup.com the same as that of a journalist.
By Kingshuk Nag on 31st January 2018 – 10:10PM
Dale has been the most famous Entertainment PR man from almost two decades in Bollywood. Plus, his website says, he was a journalist for more than a decade before he turned PR (something I wasn’t aware about earlier. I know Dale personally but he never mentioned that). I guess that also makes him the longest surviving journalist-publicist in Bollywood. No wonder he writes with so much depth about journalism and the malice of paid news. Top class analysis for the best in the business. You got an ace, PR Moment. This article is indeed a revelation for all those you do not have the privilege of knowing how corrupt journalism is becoming.
By Pramod Muntashir on 1st February 2018 – 9:29AM
the difference between dale and other bollywood publicists is that dale is fiercely loyal to his clients, even to the extent of defending them publicly and so many times in media. he is fearless. this has been his nature from many years. and that is why “ironically” (as this article says, he is also the one to point out media’s follies in paid journalism. sach bolna koi dale se seekhe. journalists have a lot to learn from this publicist.
By Ritwik Banerjee on 1st February 2018 – 11:56AM
I have know Dale from the days where he started his career in journalism. I remember an occasion, where I was alone with him in the editors cabin. He said, you know what I will one day be on the other side of the table. And surely he has come a long way. He has the guts to go ahead and voice his opinion. Well Dale, paid not paid, journalism will always have a grey side to it. It has been for decades, the growing technology of media and the medium, no one will have any control on it whatsoever. The upper hand will always be with the one who will negotiate well, how glorified it projects the news and last but not the least protects well if backfired. And don’t worry about the grand children as they will be much much ahead to all of us, to even question such credibility of ours.
By Vineeta Banerjee on 2nd February 2018 – 4:25PM
Good going Dale! Since we also worked together so you know I was a Journalist in the era when we worked for RP (Reader’s Pleasure) & not PR.
I left journalism the day I was asked to write a ‘positive’ article about an actor who was also a criminal & a bad human being.
Then I was on the other side, as a Film Producer/Director & I was asked to pay for every word that was printed. Couldn’t afford so my films suffered because of lack of promotion.
Today “Twitter” is Journalism, paid or otherwise! Every tweet makes a story for a journalist & sometimes its retweeted for publicity. Either way nothing is believable anymore!
Wake up my fellow Bollywood PRs. And do it like Dale does. 😉
1 Press Release / 24 hours / 40 links for my PR client Preetisheel Singh. Covering leading outlets The Times of India (and no, Dale never does Paid News. NEVER), Mid-Day, Times Now, Zoom, Santa Banta, Koi Moi, Yahoo, Bollywood Dhamaka, Bollywood Hungama and The Quint. And this without the help of UNI, PTI, IANS or Reuters.
Bigg Boss Season 2 contestant Rahul Mahajan, who re-entered the show as a Challenger as part of Bigg Boss Halla Bol, plans to help Gautam Gulati boost his zest factor on the show.
“Rahul and Gautam have been friends from before, and Rahul plans to help him feel more cheerful,” reveals his publicist Dale Bhagwagar. “Rahul told me, he felt Gautam was a bit low after Diandra left and he wants to pep him up.” With Puneet Issar out of the House this week, Gautam may welcome his old friend Rahul wholeheartedly.
Dale has also given Rahul loads of tips and ideas for Bigg Boss, including some for his equation with Gautam. “Rahul is a man on a mission to amuse, play and entertain. He is straight-forward and does not mince words. That is a quality which will stand him apart,” he points out.
The PR knows. After all, he is considered to be a specialist with many controversial Bigg Boss participants, having handled the media for names such as Rakhi Sawant, Kashmera Shah, Sherlyn Chopra, Pooja Misrra, Diana Hayden, Shamita Shetty, Vindu Dara Singh, Zulfi Syed, Salil Ankola, Anita Advani, Amar Upadhyay, Ashmit Patel, Season 8’s Aarya Babbar, Sonali Raut and even the re-entry Sambhavna Seth.
Apart from this, he has handled the publicity for BB8’s Upen Patel during the initial years of his career in Bollywood. He is also acquainted with inmates RJ Pritam Singh, and has interacted with Karishma Tanna, Ali Quli Mirza, Sambhavna Seth and Sana Khan before they entered the show.
For now, Rahul Mahajan has jumped the wall of the Bigg Boss House (something he was punished for during his first stint on the show). Only that, last time he had jumped it to escape; this time he has leaped to enter the House. What a way to enter. Lol. We are already amused.
Sonali Raut seems to be hitting all the right notes with her fans on the world wide web. Even as the diva wows in Bigg Boss, her fans seem to be on a different trip of scanning every bit of her past on the net.
After a topless pic showing her back in a photo shoot with Ranveer Singh caused quite a ruckus and debates on Twitter a fortnight ago, this week, a few of her bikini pics from the same shoot are making the rounds of social media.
“Fans are fans and if they are digging up stuff, it only shows that they are intrigued and interested in Sonali. That’s not a bad thing, neither are bikini pics. They are a gorgeous lot from a shoot she had done for Maxim India magazine,” says Sonali’s publicist Dale Bhagwagar.
Meanwhile, the Bollywood actress has come to be known as the only contestant in Bigg Boss Season 8 who is carrying on completely on her own steam. Neither has she forged a romantic liaison on the show, nor is she part of any camp.
Moreover, the gal has been part of maximum nominations for eviction earlier, and is now ‘permanently nominated’ by Bigg Boss; as part of a punishment for slapping a contestant. But Sonali has survived. As the publicist tweeted, “She is a fighter on cruise mode. She glides, where others flap.”
“Bigg Boss needs to stick to his stand for womenfolk when he takes one,” feels Bollywood publicist Dale Bhagwagar, who is handling the public relations for Season 8 contestant Sonali Raut and ex-contestant Aarya Babbar.
A few weeks ago, Bigg Boss took away Ali Quli Mirza’s privilege of becoming a Captain of the House again, as a punishment for inappropriately touching Sonali Raut without her consent. But seemingly going back on his stand, he offered Ali an option to have the ban removed, during a task this week.
“The Boss is looked upon as the righteous, mightiest, fairest, wisest, discerning, non-deceiving watcher and protector of the contestants. Will it be alright for him to RETRACT from his stand, especially when he has taken it for the RESPECT of a lady?,” questions Dale.
“Once the Boss banned Ali from becoming a Captain again in this Season, what is the logic and sense of offering him that privilege now?” the PR further asks. “Earlier too, Bigg Boss gave a re-entry to Puneet Issar just a day after being nishkasit (evicted) for being violent towards Aarya,” he points out.
“After the way Ali has behaved with Sonali as well as other contestants later, wont it be disrespectful to them all if the ban is removed?”
It can be noted that apart from disrespecting Sonali, Ali has made fun of Karishma Tanna by keeping on ‘barking’ (imitating an irritating dog) in the presence of none other than megastar Salman Khan.
He has earlier badly yelled at Diandra Soares and also questioned the “auqaat” (status / true colours) of a lady, in his argument with Dimpy Ganguly Mahajan. Apparently, teaching him a fitting lesson for his consistent indecent behaviour, Sonali is shown to have SLAPPED Ali on the reality show today.
Actress Preity Zinta who is known for her dare-bare attitude has singled out another Bollywood actress Sonali Raut for praise amongst this year’s Bigg Boss contestants.
“Sitting in NYC and catching up on my Bigg Boss 8 episodes. Can you believe it? Love Sonali Raut for being a cool cat in that mad house,” tweeted the fiery Zinta.
“Some cats purr, some claw, some rave, some paw. But when one cat meows to another, its true love for sure,” responded Sonali’s publicist Dale Bhagwagar, who had once handled PR for Zinta’s superhit movie Kya Kehna!
Meanwhile, media maverick and film producer Pritish Nandy is also gaga over Sonali Raut. “There is something special about Sonali Raut,” he tweeted. Following up, Nandy explained, “I will tell you what’s special about Sonali Raut, since so many of you asked. It’s attitude. I like her insolent attitude.”
“Sonali Raut makes tea for all in Bigg Boss, cooks great food, makes chapatis by the dozen, washes utensils, mops and cleans the House. She actively participates in most tasks and has even continued tasks with great zeal after falling and getting hurt. Even then, most Bigg Boss housemates are hell bent on calling her a kaamchor (lazy bum),” laments her publicist Dale Bhagwagar.
“All one can fault her for, is her unique flip-flap way of sweeping the floor. Or for her dialogue ‘Main kya yahan jhaadu maarne aayee hoon?’ But repeatedly targeting her for that, isolating and bullying her, and branding her a kaamchor, is hardly fair on the spunky girl,” he remarks.
True that. From the last few days, most contestants have been criticizing the Bollywood actress or bitching about her without reason.
Karishma Tanna says “Sonali feels she is meant for bigger things in life, than work inside the Bigg Boss House”. Pritam Singh and Diandra Soares allege, “she sleeps all the time”. Ali Quli Mirza says “Sonali does not listen to the Captain regarding work and does her own thing”.
Dimpy Mahajan’s issue has been that “Sonali does not make round chapatis”. But the Raut gal proved Dimpy wrong, when she made perfectly round chapatis when Salman Khan asked her to demonstrate during the Weekend Ka Vaar episode.
Even the House Captain Gautam Gulati who was head-over-heels for Sonali earlier, doesn’t miss a chance to bring her down these days. “No one will speak to Sonali for two hours from now,” is what he ordered other contestants when Sonali complained of being targeted.
Dale points out that most Housemates, except Upen Patel, have made Sonali their scapegoat. “They have also conveniently forgotten the fact that whereas someone or the other have always fought with them, Sonali is still the only contestant who has kept her dignity and not indulged in a single dirty fight on Bigg Boss.”
Returning from Bigg Boss, Aarya Babbar had to rush to Delhi for an urgent meeting today morning. But when he boarded his flight, he realized that it was not the same feeling as before.
Having spent the first few grueling days in a claustrophobic mock airplane, with the aircraft theme in Bigg Boss, Aarya got the heebie-jeebies recollecting the memories of the tiresome sleepless nights spent on a plane’s recliner seat on the reality show.
“Aarya told me he felt uneasy throughout his flight to Delhi as he relived the Bigg Boss moments,” mentioned his publicist Dale Bhagwagar. “He kept calling the airhostesses, asking for water and eatables; just to make himself feel the difference between the Bigg Boss aircraft and a real one.”
Now now! The food may have surely been more interesting, but we wonder if Aarya found the airhostesses more entertaining than his BB Airlines passengers Karishma Tanna, Soni Singh, Sukirti Kandpal, Sonali Raut, Natasha Stankovic and Diandra Soares.
“What is the logic and sense of giving Puneet Issar a re-entry on Bigg Boss in a day of being nishkasit (evicted)? Is being kicked out of Bigg Boss a joke? Are the sensibilities of viewers being taken for granted?,” questions Aarya Babbar’s publicist Dale Bhagwagar.
During a task on the reality show a day ago, Bollywood actor-director Puneet Issar, who once accidently injured Amitabh Bachchan during Coolie, became physically violent with Aarya, groping him around the neck and flinging him on the ground.
“Though Mr Issar’s violent behaviour was straightaway against the rules of Bigg Boss, strangely there was much discussion and deliberation, before Bigg Boss decided to condemn the move and evict him. More surprisingly, Mr Issar is back on the show just in a day. Obviously, Aarya would feel demoralized with this manipulation of Bigg Boss?,” Dale points out.
The PR specialist has a completely valid point. After all, we keep hearing that ‘Bigg Boss is not scripted’, ‘not scripted’, ‘not scripted’. So one wonders, how come Puneet Issar has managed to stage various exits and entries.
Puneet was kept in a separate room as part of a Secret Society first, then in the Bigg Boss House, then he was taken out with Minissha Lamba, then put back in the House, then he was nishkasit, and now he is back yet again.
“Moreover, Mr Issar’s name stayed put in the voting process even after being nishkasit. Does this mean, he was never out of the race?, asks the publicist.
“If Bigg Boss is a ‘reality’ show, then it can’t be a ‘game’. And if it’s not ‘reality’, but only a ‘game’ for the sake of ‘entertainment’, then Bigg Boss has to remain fair throughout,” he concludes.