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Not Bollywood stars, but their PR persons are the new almighty who rarely bless us

Uhh… okay! We are finally up for writing this piece. By the time we get done, the phones will probably ring another hundred time, and we will get ready to kill many. Never mind. What needs to be told, needs to be told.

Like India is a country of the people, by the people and for the people, we, the Entertainment journalists, are of the PR, by the PR and for the PR. In fact, getting through the PR persons has become more difficult than accessing the stars themselves. Every time promotions of a film kickstart, we are into the rat race of exclusives, associations, interviews and what not? But the back-breaking, grueling and grinding schedule that a journalist undergoes everyday is not what we are complaining about. If only PR officials understood that their association with the media is as beneficiary to them as it is to us!

And what all are we not expected to do? Attend every call or else be ready, your colleague’s phone is about to ring (often from a different number, but the caller is same, voila!). Religiously publish every press release (although it might make very little sense), because making it to the PR’s good books is extremely crucial. If you’ve been great at responding to their requests, you’ll probably earn a few minutes of stargazing at those super large group interviews. Want an exclusive? Either you’ve to be a big brand that deserves all exclusives, or the concerned celebrity has to be really petty, whose exclusives interest no one! Sounds harsh? It is. And after we are wrapping our heads around the mess and trying to cope, beautiful tantrums creep in.

#1

So these B-Town siblings are to appear together in a film inspired by a Hollywood flick. We are given a slot for a one-on-one on camera interaction. With great enthusiasm, our team plans the interview. The film’s trailer has already received a handful of negative reactions and we genuinely wanted to know how the actors perceived them. However, around an hour prior to the interview, we come to know that the PR wants to know what questions we’d be asking the celebs. Great, we send them in. Dayum! The stars don’t want to answer that particular question. Never mind. We let it go and head for the interview. But more bitterness was in store. “Only 5 minutes please,” the concerned PR person throws at us. Only 5 minutes would barely allow us to do a full-fledged interview and we would have to call off other activities. We do that. We spend a nice amount of money on arranging a crew of cameramen, lights, sound and what not; and come back with nothing.

#2

This time, we have written a story about a star-kid who debuted last year. We got our hands on few of his photos. In one, he seems to be enjoying a lovely lunch (or dinner) with a pretty model. In another, the macho guy is breaking out on a lovely smile at the camera, while posing for a selfie with the same lady. We’ve dug deep and found out who the lady in the photo is. Mind you, the report has no efforts of sensationalising their relationship or linking them up.

Cut to present. We’re at our desks in the morning, sipping coffee, munching sandwiches and sorting the day’s work while someone’s phone rings. It’s the celeb’s PR manager on the line. “It is a completely baseless story. My Boss is very upset. Please pull the story down,” the voice on the other side almost orders. Baffled, the reporter tries to recollect if we at all wrote something that could upset anybody or malign anybody’s reputation. The PR is informed we will recheck the story and get back to him. Ten minutes pass by, and we’re all clueless what’s wrong in the story.  The phone rings again. This time, it is someone else from the same organisation. “From where did you get those pictures?” the guy demands to know. Furious, the reporter almost tells him that we are not supposed to reveal our sources, neither are we answerable to a third party regarding any of the content that we publish. But we decide to talk it out. The actor in talks probably wants no link up rumours. We decide to sort it out. “Give us a quote from him, we will do a clarification story,” we propose. “No no, we can’t give any quote. Just remove the story,” the WhatsApp blinks.

Like, a big EXCUSE ME!

The concerned PR guys probably were so worried about their client’s reputation that they forgot how to converse with a journalist. Leave Alone the point that they can’t at all demand us to remove our articles, just because it doesn’t serve the best of their purpose.

#3

This magnum opus from a very critically renowned filmmaker has been in the talks for a long time. The film stars three A-listers from Bollywood; two actors and one actress. One of our sources recently told us how one of the actors was increasingly miffed with the director (the two share a close association and have collaborated previously) since he believed the other actor was receiving more attention than him. Ahem! We quickly did a story around it, only to receive a call from the film’s PR managers and be told how we should have cross-checked with them before doing the story.

Yeah sure. Very ambitious of you to expect that we’d call you before we do EVERY story.

However, we again politely ask for an official quote dismissing the story. As expected, there was none. “We will see,” they reply.

Okay then, we will also see!

#4

This upcoming romantic film has received much attention for the lead couple’s rumoured love affair. Following the recent trend, the makers picked up a popular Punjabi number and recreate it. We were quick enough to cover a song and didn’t forget to mention the original singer who gave the original superhit number. There you go! In no time, we have the film’s PR team telling us to remove the original credit. All the credit should go to the singers who sang the newest version. A big LOL!

And the list goes on, on and on.

To be very honest, it is very rarely the celebrity who throws tantrums. Manoj Bajpayee once gave hours of interviews although running down a fever of 103 degree temperature. Vidya Balan gives hours of interviews prior to her releases. Someone as veteran as Amitabh Bachchan is rarely late for interviews and mindfully answers every question asked to him. This is applicable to most of the stars we admire.

Never mind that journalists are made to wait for as long as five hours at times (We have all been there), that the interview is sometimes made to come to a halt within as little as 10 minutes and on reaching the venue, we are often in for a pleasant surprise that each group would consist of as many as 20 people (if not more).

It is probably the time this stops; otherwise we won’t be up for your super boring press releases anymore!  Believe it or not, you need us as much as we need you. *No offence*

 

       

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