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Afraid to have an opinion

As appeared on Asian Age

http://www.asianage.com/entertainment/bollywood/150219/afraid-to-have-an-opinion.html

THE ASIAN AGE. | OISHANI MOJUMDER

Young actors of tinsel town have often been lip-locked about matters of political conflict.

Collectively, Bollywood has rarely taken a stand on socio-political issues.

 Collectively, Bollywood has rarely taken a stand on socio-political issues.

Bollywood and politics have always had a love-hate relationship. Recently, Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt during an interview were asked about their stand on the underlying political message in the song Azaadi – a track from their recently released movie Gully Boy. Brushing aside the question nonchlantly and their claim to be “apolitical” and too “busy with their personal lives” to comment on politics did not sit with their fans, viewers and the netizens. Both the young stars were called too “privileged” enough to be able to call themselves “apolitical” in the current environment of the country.

But the industry has had its fair share of political razzmatazz, with movies portraying political honchos to the touchy topics of religion, mythology, sex and terrorism. So what prevents today’s young stars from providing any comment which has the slightest political slant?

Says Bollywood publicist Dale Bhagwagar, the primary reason is fear. “The fear is not only of ostracization but also fear of losing monetary value – in terms of upcoming movies being boycotted, infrastructure being broken or releases being stalled. This has nothing to do with the current government. Rather, this has been happening through the ages,” he says, citing examples of various political parties known for their pressure tactics.

“Shiv Sena is infamous for violent protests against films – ranging from burning posters to vandalising theatres. The Congress too, which is known to be a fairly balanced political party, has a student wing – NSUI – that has also participated in such vandalistic protests,” he adds.

Abhishek Thukral, another celebrity manager is of the opinion that every actor is selling their film, and that making a political statement will definitely hamper the marketing of the film. “A comment that can be blown up by the media completely takes away from the film or the project that they are promoting. And the media, out of the entire press conference, will pick up that one political statement, instead of giving any mileage to the film whatsoever,” explains Thukral, adding, “Actors do speak about their views and current affairs when there is no movie being released. But there is so much negativity and hatred in the country with regards to politics that celebrities get death threats, actresses get rape threats. The situation can get very nasty.”

Resonating with a similar idea, Dale says, “Earlier, when print was one of the only media of news dissemination, a reaction to a celebrity’s comment would come as letters to the editor and a controversy would take at least a day to brew. Then with the boom of television, one got to know of controversies in a matter of hours. Now, with the advent of social media, not only does the controversy spread like wildfire but with apps and technology, it has become very easy to cut, edit and distort a statement given by a celebrity. Sensationalism is not the only issue now, fake news tops the list. And therefore celebrities are wary and rightfully so.”

But it is not only personal comments that celebrities refuse from making. Collectively, Bollywood has rarely taken a stand on socio-political issues. Take the case of the recent #MeToo wave in India, where no one much came out in support of the survivors and victims in India’s tinsel towns.

Dale Bhagwagar explains, “One needs to first understand that Bollywood is not a family or a fraternity. It is an industry with extremely insecure people where each person will have another’s back only till the favour is returned. So for Bollywood to stand together against a common evil is a far cry. Everyone is looking out for themselves, unlike Hollywood, where they are a very professional industry.”

Celebrity manager Prabhat Chaudhary opines that if people are looking up to actors and actresses as role models, then the country is facing a major ideological bankruptcy. “We expect actors to act well, be well-read, be aware of current affairs and be a role model all at once. That is unfair. Actors are people who do their jobs and earn money. In the process of their jobs, they get famous. But they are in no way obliged to make political statements if they do not want to,” he concludes.

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Afraid to have an opinion

As appeared on Deccan Chronicle

https://www.deccanchronicle.com/entertainment/bollywood/150219/afraid-to-have-an-opinion.html

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | OISHANI MOJUMDER

Shiv Sena is infamous for violent protests against films — ranging from burning posters to vandalising theatres.

Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt during the interview with Anupama Chopra.
Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt during the interview with Anupama Chopra.

Mumbai: Bollywood and politics have always had a love-hate relationship. Recently, Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt during an interview were asked about their stand on the underlying political message in the song Azaadi — a track from their recently released movie Gully Boy. Brushing aside the question nonchlantly and their claim to be “apolitical” and too “busy with their personal lives” to comment on politics did not sit well with their fans, viewers and the netizens. Both the young stars were called too “privileged” enough to be able to call themselves “apolitical” in the current environment of the country.

But the industry has had its fair share of political razzmatazz, with movies portraying political honchos to the touchy topics of religion, mythology, sex and terrorism. So what prevents today’s young stars from providing any comment which has the slightest political slant?

Says Bollywood publicist Dale Bhagwagar, the primary reason is fear. “The fear is not only of ostracisation but also fear of losing monetary value — in terms of upcoming movies being boycotted, infrastructure being broken or releases being stalled. This has nothing to do with the current government. Rather, this has been happening through the ages,” he says, citing examples of various political parties known for their pressure tactics.

“Shiv Sena is infamous for violent protests against films — ranging from burning posters to vandalising theatres.

The Congress too, which is known to be a fairly balanced political party, has a student wing — NSUI — that has also participated in such vandalistic protests,” he adds.

Abhishek Thukral, another celebrity manager is of the opinion that every actor is selling their film, and that making a political statement will definitely hamper the marketing of the film. “A comment that can be blown up by the media completely takes away from the film or the project being promoted. And the media, out of the entire press conference, will pick up that one political statement, instead of giving any mileage to the film,” explains Thukral, adding, “Actors do speak about their views and current affairs when there is no movie being released. But there is so much negativity and hatred in the country with regards to politics that celebrities get death threats, actresses get rape threats. The situation can get very nasty.”

Resonating with a similar idea, Dale says, “Earlier, when print was one of the only media of news dissemination, a reaction to a celebrity’s comment would come as letters to the editor and a controversy would take at least a day to brew. Then with the boom of television, one got to know of controversies in a matter of hours. Now, with the advent of social media, not only does the controversy spread like wildfire but with apps and technology, it has become very easy to cut, edit and distort a statement given by a celebrity. Sensationalism is not the only issue now, fake news tops the list. And therefore celebrities are wary and rightfully so.”

But it is not only personal comments that celebrities refuse from making. Collectively, Bollywood has rarely taken a stand on socio-political issues. Take the case of the recent #MeToo wave in India, where no one much came out in support of the survivors and victims in India’s tinsel towns.

Dale Bhagwagar explains, “One needs to first understand that Bollywood is not a family or a fraternity. It is an industry with extremely insecure people where each person will have another’s back only till the favour is returned. So for Bollywood to stand together against a common evil is a far cry. Everyone is looking out for themselves, unlike Hollywood, where they are a very professional industry.”

Celebrity manager Prabhat Chaudhary opines that if people are looking up to actors and actresses as role models, then the country is facing a major ideological bankruptcy. “We expect actors to act well, be well-read, be aware of current affairs and be a role model all at once. That is unfair. Actors are people who do their jobs and earn money. In the process of their jobs, they get famous. But they are in no way obliged to make political statements if they do not want to,” he concludes.

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.

Kangana Ranaut’s sis says, Krish directed all of Manikarnika

As appeared on Filmy Sansaar

https://filmysansaar.com/blog/kangana-ranauts-sis-says-krish-directed-all-of-manikarnika/

By Saajan Verma

Kangana Ranaut’s sister Rangoli Chandel had earlier stated: “I officially declare Kangana shot 70 percent of the film (Manikarnika).” But responding to allegations and controversies from Manikarnika director Krish and Simran writer Apurva Asrani, Kangana’s sister changed her stance.

Rangoli who often doubles up somewhat as Kangana’s spokesperson, frustratingly tweeted: “@DirKrish, Chalo man Liya you directed the whole film now please calm down, still Kangana is the leading face of the film let her enjoy this moment of her success and great appreciation, please leave her alone, we all believe you now please take a seat” (sic).

Kangana Ranaut in a still from Manikarnika (Image courtesy - Internet.)

Kangana Ranaut in a still from Manikarnika (Image courtesy – Internet.)

But brand issues just don’t seem to leave Kangana. Apart from recent problems with Sonu Sood who walked out of Manikarnika – The Queen of Jhansi, the actress is also rumored to have reduced the roles of veteran actors Danny Denzongpa, Khulbhushan Kharbanda and Suresh Oberoi, making them look like wannabes in her movie, after she took over the directorial reigns.

Kangana Ranaut in a still from Manikarnika (Image courtesy - Internet.)

Kangana Ranaut in a still from Manikarnika (Image courtesy – Internet.)

With one controversy after another, Kangana’s name and brand are taking a solid beating in the Indian Film Industry. Bollywood’s only PR guru Dale Bhagwagar says its best Kangana changes this in the near future. “Kangana has a fiery brand; that is fine. She has transformed herself into a fashion statement and has a definite set of followers. But the thing is, what she seems to understand as attacks or defense in media, actually image disasters, ultimately warranting crisis management.”

Kangana Ranaut in a still from Manikarnika (Image courtesy - Internet.)

Kangana Ranaut in a still from Manikarnika (Image courtesy – Internet.)

“That situation could be rectifiable, but first the subject has to agree to accept it as an issue, be ready to understand the true difference between imaging and hype — then take measures to begin changing the situation step by step,” states the Mumbai-based PR specialist.

But Kangana has her fans and successes intact. Why would she want to change this bad-girl image? “Because, with a little course correction, she can make much bigger monies in advertising,” replies Dale. Ah! We never thought about that! Point taken.

Categories: FEATURED

After Manikarna director, now Simran writer blames Kangana Ranaut

As appeared on Talk of the Town

The list of complaints about Kangana Ranaut just doesn’t seem to end. After her recent issues with Krish (the director of her latest film Manikarnika – The Queen of Jhansi); now Apurva Asrani (the writer of Kangana’s popular film Simran), has come out complaining on Twitter.

We asked Bollywood’s only PR guru Dale Bhagwagar, whether this manipulative image of Kangana could ruin her career. But he replied in the negative! “As long as Kangana delivers successes, her loyalists will stick by her,” he predicts.

“She may not get many A-grade movies or top corporate advertising brands signing her. But mind you, she has already mastered the art of making a mark in the relatively lesser budget flicks. She has managed considerably well in the industry without the Khans, Kumar and Kapoors. That has been working wonderfully for her until now,” says the Bollywood publicist.

Meanwhile, trade critics have reported that Manikarnika, after a sluggish start, is doing brisk business in India and abroad. Opening in 2,900 screens across 50 countries, the film’s business has reportedly crossed 40 crores by now. It’s been released in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

Categories: FEATURED

Tanushree Dutta’s #MeToo takes Nana Patekar international

As appeared on Cine Eye

The world’s leading pirate site YIFY aka YTS normally only uploads Hollywood movie torrents. But seemingly because of all the uproar caused by motor-mouth Tanushree Dutta’s spin on Nana Patekar, the latter’s epic Marathi-language film Natsamrat seems to have found a coveted place on the international YIFY Hollywood-centric website this week.

“When Hollywood looks at the Indian film industry, it only pays attention to Bollywood’s Hindi films. It almost ignores regional cinema and the huge and tech-savvy South film industry too,” points out Bollywood’s only PR guru Dale Bhagwagar. “So inspite of this being a matter involving piracy, it’s interesting that a Marathi film has been put along with Hollywood films,” he remarks.

For the record, Femina Miss India and actress Tanushree Dutta who had fallen into near obscurity, returned to India from the United States of America last month, and dragged acclaimed actor Nana Patekar in almost a decade-old matter; alleging that he had looked at her with bad intentions, and wanted to touch and feel her on the sets of a film she was to perform an item number in.

The controversy-hungry media promptly fell for Tanushree’s words and labelled it a #MeToo episode, crediting her as the spearleader of the international #MeToo movement in India’s Bollywood, which earlier began in Hollywood with dozens of women accusing American film producer Harvey Weinstein of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse over a period of at least 30 years.

The Nana Patekar starrer Natsamrat (roughly translated as king of the theater) was directed by Mahesh Manjrekar and officially released in India in 2016, receiving tremendous word-of-mouth publicity. It portrayed the tragic life of a stage actor, who retires from acting, but is unable to forget his fond memories of theatre, drama and stage. Considered a classic, it emerged as the highest-grossing Marathi film of all time, until Sairat occupied that place later the same year.

YIFY has uploaded the film in 720p and 1080p resolutions. It is also worth mentioning that Natsamrat has garnered a spectacularly high 9.2 star out of 10 star rating on IMDB (Internet Movie Database).

Categories: FEATURED

Here’s why Aamir refused to star with Amitabh in Indra Kumar’s Rishta

As appeared on Cinestaan

https://www.cinestaan.com/articles/2018/sep/27/15921/here-s-why-aamir-refused-to-star-with-amitabh-in-indra-kumar-s-rishta

Bachchan and Khan will be seen together on the big screen for the first time in Thugs Of Hindostan. At the film’s trailer launch, the actors spoke about the project they were supposed to star in together in the 1990s.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

By MAYUR LOOKHAR

Amitabh Bachchan is a veteran, a legend of the Hindi film industry, while Aamir Khan, Hindi cinema’s ‘Mr Perfectionist’, has delivered hits one after the other in the last two decades.  

However, Bachchan and Khan were never seen together on the big screen until director Vijay Krishna Acharya cast them in the action-adventure Thugs Of Hindostan. The much-awaited trailer of the film was released today (27 September).

A day before the trailer launch, Khan had posted a tweet saying it is a dream come true for him to be seen alongside Bachchan on the same poster.

While, there was no dearth of offers for the two actors to star together, the proposed projects never materialised. One such film, announced to star both Khan and Bachchan, was director Indra Kumar’s Rishta.

At the trailer launch of Thugs Of Hindostan, the duo was asked whether they were offered a film together. Bachchan replied in the affirmative and cheekily pointed out that it was Khan who turned such films down.

“The truth is that, we were offered many films, but bhaisaab [referring to Aamir] turned them down. it is my saubhagya [luck] that now I get to work with him,” Bachchan said.

To this, Khan replied, saying, “Now that Mr Bachchan had said it, I wouldn’t deny it. I’d like to remind that we were offered Indra Kumar’s film Rishta. It was announced years ago. Unfortunately, due to various reasons that film couldn’t be made. Indu [Indra Kumar] moved into a different life. Since that day, I have been waiting for this opportunity. I don’t have the courage to say no to him [Bachchan].”

Bachchan, who was in a jovial mood, appeared to be praising Khan, albeit in a tongue-in-cheek manner.

“I’d like to say that Aamir Khan is not just Aamir Khan. He is a producer-writer, director, music director, distributor, marketing genius, exhibitor and also a screenplay writer. After that, he is a brilliant actor. To compete with him is tough. All along, I have been telling him, ‘Brother, please direct a film and offer me some small role, but he hasn’t agreed yet. I have even given him 2-3 ideas. He said I’ll think and many years have passed by,’ Bachchan said, evoking laughter from the audience.

So why did Khan really quit Rishta? Back in the late 1990s, Kumar had announced the film and a press conference was lined up, too.

Cinestaan.com spoke to journalist-turned-PR professional Dale Bhagwagar, who attended the mahurat of the film two deacdes ago. He recalled an incident, which, perhaps, could have been the reason for Khan opting out of the film.

“I don’t recollect the exact date, but it was perhaps around 1995-1996. I was working for Cine Blitz magazine then. There was this mahurat held at Film City, Goregaon. The director, Bachchan and Khan were all present there. But, for some strange reason Aamir appeared reluctant to pose with Bachchan.

When a group picture was to be taken on stage, the cast and crew members gathered, but Aamir stood a few people away from Bachchan. The photographers kept on asking him to get besides Bachchan, as they were the casting coup, but he hardly budged. He finally did pose with him, but just for a few seconds and then moved away,” Bhagwagar said.

According to the source, Khan supposedly became too conscious of his height and felt he won’t look great standing alongside a towering Bachchan. “Aamir appeared to be very conscious of his height. I spotted that he was wearing these high heel shoes, perhaps 2-3 inche in height. He looked uncomfortable at posing with Bachchan,” he added.

We tried calling Indra Kumar, but he was unable for comments.

In an earlier interview with Rediff.com, Kumar had cited Ishq (1997) as the reason for Rishta not taking off. While Rishta was to bring together Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit Nene and Khan together for the first time, Ishq starred Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgn, Kajol and Juhi Chawla.

“I don’t know who gave the film the name Rishta. As far as I know, it was an untitled film. People just named it and it caught on. It never took off really. It was a film with Aamir, Madhuri and Amitji. It didn’t happen because I was busy making Ishq (1997) then. I thought I couldn’t manage two films at the same time. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to do justice to Amitji’s role,” Kumar had said during the interview.

With the Indra Kumar film shelved, Bachchan signed a film with Mehul Kumar. He has worked with Kumar in two films – Mrityudaata (1997) and Kohram (1999).

Indra Kumar had also claimed that he wanted to revive the project after completing Ishq, but things had changed by then.

“I told him [Bachchan] that, and he made a film with Mehul Kumar. Finally, when I wanted to start the film again, things had changed. So we got busy again with our commitments and didn’t make the film.

It was unfortunate that I couldn’t work with such a great actor. But, I definitely plan to make that film. In fact, I want to make it desperately. It was my bad luck that despite the film generating so much interest it fell through. There is a saying that god always keeps one bit of all good luck with him. I plan to grab that too and make it happen,” Kumar added.

Sadly, the project never took off, and the attempt to bring together Bachchan and Khan met fruition only two decades later. Thugs Of Hindostan, a Yash Raj Film’s project, is set to be released on 8 November 2018.

Categories: FEATURED