Sumita Chakraborty, the editor of Stardust India has given an interesting, informative and insightful interview to Hamant Verma of BizAsia. She aptly describes how PR has taken control over perception-building in entertainment journalism. She also mentions how “hiring the right publicists and agents” can be one of the important aspects for British Asian actors “to build a successful career in Bollywood”. She talks about Upen Patel, whom I handled PR for when he entered Bollywood… and also Katrina Kaif, whose debut film Boom was publicized by me. All in all, Sumita’s interview is a fantabulous read.
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.
As Bigg Boss 8 moves from one week to another, a lot of eyes are falling on the lissome Sonali Raut. While the suave Gautam Gulati seems to be head-over-heels for the diva, the other guys too, are in hushed awe of the couple.
But Gautam’s extra attention towards the beauty, could be brewing jealousy and indifference in some. Like, Ali Quli Mirza has begun lecturing Sonali on how she should behave with Gautam on national television.
This week, he reminded her that unlike Housemate Upen Patel who is from UK, Sonali is a homebred Indian and should give thought to her conservative culture. He advised her against hobnobbing with a flirty Gautam, who had a stint with Diandra Soreas in the first week of the show.
In a way, Ali may be right. Because there are times we find Gautam talking lightly about Sonali behind her back. It makes us wonder, if he is commodifying her. Though, the couple have also been a support to each other, whenever the rest of the Housemates have ganged up against them.
“It’s nice of Ali to caution Sonali. But then, she is a new-age hip and open-minded girl. At the same time, ethical and strong-headed too,” says her publicist Dale Bhagwagar. “The guys don’t know what stuff Sonali is made of. But let me assure you, the girl knows her limits and knows them well. She will not forgo her dignity for TRPs,” he remarks.
“Sonali won’t be susceptible to anyone, unless conned,” adds the PR specialist. Now, now! Isn’t that exactly the worry?
Aarya Babbar seems to be a man of many shades. An actor, director, lover… and now even a writer. Yes! You heard it right. Soon after Bigg Boss, ‘Babbar sher’ (as he is fondly called) plans to release a fiction novel, whose name is being kept under wraps.
“Aarya was down with jaundice a while ago and that’s when he finished writing a book within three months of conceptualizing it. It will be released by Penguin Books India,” informs his publicist Dale Bhagwagar.
Actually, the thought of penning a novel had been lingering with him from quite some time. But he was too busy with his Punjabi films to dedicate time to it earlier.
One of the successful Punjabi films Aarya acted in, co-starred another Bigg Boss contestant Minissha Lamba. Recently, there was quite a hullabaloo on the reality show, when Aarya revealed that Minissha is actually his past girlfriend.
We also hear that the book has a mischievous title. Then, is the so-called ‘fictional’ book ‘inspired’ by his ‘real life’? “All I can say is that an airplane (which is also the theme of Bigg Boss Season 8), plays an important part in his book,” mentions Dale.
“Even on the show, Aarya has maintained that he finds an airplane a very romantic place,” observes the PR specialist, who seems to be using a co-branding tactic for the book with Bigg Boss.
Aarya is perhaps the only actor to pen a fiction novel, instead of writing on a subject revolving around Bollywood. Few are aware that he has enjoyed his flings with the pen since the tender age of fourteen.
He’s been writing poems, has scripted a play called Gorky+Tinku Ke Kaarnaame, and has even written a graphic novel titled Pushpak Vimaan.
The Aarya Babbar-Minissha Lamba Bigg Boss controversy is getting more and more intriguing with time. And everyone including Housemates, Twitterati and sections of the media are wanting to encash on it.
This has not gone well with Aarya’s sister Juhi Babbar, who has stated that she was misquoted in the media. A section of the media quoted Juhi saying, “Before the show, he (Aarya) had even spoken to Minissha and her family on the phone. He promised them that he would take care of her and never nominate her.” (sic)
Juhi clarifies, “That is a quote carried out of context and thus incorrect. Aarya did not speak to Minissha on his own. Since she called him and messaged him umpteen times, he returned her calls once or twice. He did not make the first move, neither did he bring it up in Bigg Boss.”
She adds, “Though Aarya had decided not to nominate her as she was his friend, he did not speak to her family, as mentioned in the article.”
“After Aarya revealed that it was Minissha who had made several calls and sent several messages to him before their entry into Bigg Boss, it has become clear once again that Aarya did not plan to plot from his side,” remarks Aarya’s publicist Dale Bhagwagar.
Minissha had falsely accused him of planning to plot a “romance” in the House, which did not go well with Aarya, who flared up and revealed his past with Minissha on the show. When provoked beyond tolerance, Aarya clarified on Bigg Boss that she was actually his girlfriend in the past, and it was he who also recommended her name for Bigg Boss. But he stressed that he did not plot a “romance” as she incorrectly claimed.
Earlier, Dale had mentioned that he had reminded and advised Aarya to abide by the rules of Bigg Boss, which do not permit a connect between speculated contestants prior to the show. But the Bollywood PR specialist had also pointed out that Aarya had told him, Minissha kept calling and messaging him, despite him ignoring her. This made him call her back out of courtesy; a fact he revealed on Bigg Boss this week.
“What is wrong in speaking the truth? What is wrong in admitting the past? Isn’t Bigg Boss a ‘REALITY’ show? Then why is Aarya Babbar being EXPECTED to HIDE the REALITY on it?”, questioned Aarya’s publicist Dale Bhagwagar, in response to the Housemates and select Twitterati blaming the Bollywood actor for revealing his past relationship with actress and ex-co-star Minissha Lamba on television.
“Why is Aarya being crucified for speaking the truth?,” reiterates Dale. “If a lady admits her past, it is fine. But if a guy admits it — that too, in a gentlemanly manner; and when provoked and asked — it is labeled as beizzati (disrespectful). Isn’t that double standards?”, asks the public relations specialist.
In a clarification last week, Dale had already mentioned about Aarya having told him that Minissha was desperately trying to meet and discuss Bigg Boss with him before the show rolled.
He had even said, Aarya could show phone call records and messages to the media, to prove this when he comes out. When questioned about their equation, Dale had even mentioned, “They had a thing for each other in the past.” Now Aarya has said the same things on Bigg Boss, establishing that his PR had the facts in place all along.
After an outburst on the Weekend Ka Vaar episode with Salman Khan, Aarya revealed that his relationship with Minissha had ended on a sour note, but they preferred to stay cordial with each other.
Aarya must have really been fond of Minissha, which is why, when he was asked by the Bigg Boss team before the show, if he wanted to recommend anyone else, he had taken Minissha’s name (another fact he revealed on the show). Little did he know that she would bad-mouth him behind his back and even call him a “Thali Ka Baingan” (a disloyal and fickle-minded person) on Bigg Boss; which led to his flare up.
What can we say! If one is chided by the Housemates and public for speaking the truth on a ‘reality’ show, others may attempt to hide truth in future!