Mid Day did a very interesting spread on how publicists work in Bollywood. The unnamed publicists gave the readers an idea of what it’s like to be a PR manager for the stars in Bollywood. Along the way, they also dropped several blind item type of news and we have it all for you here. We have also highlighted the interesting parts of the interview, just so you can get to read it. Take a look below. Have fun guessing who is being spoken about here.
Bollywood Star Publicists
When a publicist got fired
Example: Shilpa Shetty shared her views on the books that should be taught to children in school. Like anyone would believe that Shilpa spends her time reading children books. Anyways, she messed up by putting ‘Animal Farm’ in that list. People on the internet made fun of her and she even had the hashtag “#ShilpaShettyReviews” trending on Twitter as they made fun of her low IQ. Obviously ashamed, Shilpoh went on Twitter and announced that it wasn’t her, who gave this book’s title as she had never read it. So, who gave that list? Her publicist. Apparently, the publicist went online and searched for a book that ‘teaches you how to care for animals’! Shilpoh was so embarrassed that she fired that publicist.
The actor I was in charge of was someone known to be controversial. There was hardly an interview of hers that didn’t make the news for all the wrong reasons. That day, we were at a hotel, and the actress was promoting a two-heroine movie she was a part of. The journalist, who was from a top TV channel, asked her about her equation with another actress (there has been rumours about the two not getting along), and my client blew her lid. She attacked the channel, called their line of questioning tacky and stormed off the sets. It was ironic because she had been asked if she handled catfights maturely. That’s what this actress was famous for — throwing tantrums. We realised she was doing this for her own publicity, and that it didn’t make sense to go into damage control. The channel, in turn, got back with a story on the tacky films the actress had done.
Ranbir Kapoor was mad that Kareena Kapoor outted him as a avid gossip site reader
Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma got into a sticky situation with the entertainment website, Pinkvilla, in October this year. Kapoor got upset at being asked to verify his cousin Kareena Kapoor‘s statement that he read Pinkvilla “five times a day”, and resorted to saying that he only read it as it published s***. He then challenged the website to carry that video. Pinkvilla not just published the video but carried a rejoinder which talked of how celeb’s publicists beg for positive stories.
Publicists of superstars get to choose who they want to talk to for their films’ promotions
Most of the bigger stars in the industry need someone to whet the interviews for them. We do that job. I handle a few “superstars” and, ahead of every release, of the requests they receive, they accept only three. It’s we who help them decide which three.
Actresses are more needy
They require constant validation of how they look — if their dress is fine, if their hair is right. They also like being seen with an entourage. So, if they have to go for an event, and don’t have a friend to go with, they will take the publicist along. It’s ’embarrassing’ to make it alone.
How young stars get on the cover of popular magazines and newspapers
You have to get them into magazines and newspapers, even if it means half-inventing stories they can be part of. For example, I may tell a journalist that I will make sure a certain celebrity is on the cover of their magazine, if they do me a favour and carry an interview with a new actor. It doesn’t sound right but that’s how it goes.
Things publicists do that they shouldn’t be doing
Sometimes, a publicist may give a journalist a story about their client, without the celebrity’s knowledge, just so the journalist owes them a favour later.
Some actors leak their own dating stories and their vacation pictures
Often, ‘who’s-dating-whom’ stories are leaked by the actors themselves, and later, they could feign ignorance. This is done in compliance with the newspaper/channel/magazine. For example, an actor couple may leak pictures of themselves on vacation, and in another interview speak of the media not giving them their space.
Actors want publicists to control news and pictures of them
They ask us to dictate headlines and determine which photographs will be published.
Actors get mad at their publicists when the truth comes out to the press
We are pulled up when the truth appears in the press, and are asked why we didn’t stop it. Many a publicist has lost the account because the celeb got bad press.
Actors think they can dictate their own movie reviews
Actors also think they can control movie reviews. But readers are way too smart. The stars do it anyway, and the publicist becomes the go-between in this ‘doctored’ publicity.
Publicists even arrange romantic dates for the actors
I have even heard, though not encountered, of stars getting the publicist to manage the lover; reaching out, fixing a date. You can’t say, no.
Publicists have to plant stories about their clients’ rivals
We also sometimes have to plant stories about the client’s rivals — things we have heard on the job, that are usually true.
Publicists also plant fake stories about their clients
For example, you may tell a journalist that an actress has a foreign director pursuing her. But the director may never have heard of her. Or, you may try and sell a story that two actors didn’t get along during a shoot, when in fact, things were fairly polite.