From Sara Ali Khan To Aditya Roy Kapur: PR Spills Bollywood Secrets In A Reddit AMA

Manya Ailawadi

While some of us are always keen to understand more about our favourite actors and their lives outside the sets, we do not get to know a lot. There goes a lot of planning in keeping an image intact, given that all the eyes are constantly on these actors and celebrities.

But, there are some people who closely work with them, for that image and hence know a lot. A social media manager from a PR agency for actors and celebrities, conducted an AMA on Reddit. And, we’re surprised by how little we know.

Read what he had to say:

1. On being asked if PR professionals are honest with celebrities whom they manage:

No, because stars often spin the whole story the other way around, and this leads to our agency collapsing. It happened with an ex rival. For the most part, they listen to constructive criticism, and some even can’t function without PR. They know that even though they have such a large following, we can shape their perception. Some might be delusional, and we have to do what they say. Because in the end, we do care about money and goodwill. We advice the celebs who are humble enough to listen, and essentially become yes men to the ones who don’t.

2. On the immense popularity of Sara Ali Khan and if it is crafted:

All I have to say is that I shall take that as a compliment. She has the most carefully crafted image in recent history.

3. On fan accounts, and if most of them are paid:

Aside from a few paid accounts, most of them are genuine fan accounts. We do give positive news stories and fake likes or comments, but we haven’t really made a lot of fake fan clubs. It’s usually when the actors are at their earlier stages that we pop up a few fake ones. A few actors are against that, a few love the idea. We don’t take hate too seriously, and from research and experience, negative publicity is the last to affect die hard fans. A surprising thing to know for you might be that a lot of hate at times is faked so that the celebrity can speak up about it. We have seen rival PR agencies go to the extent of fake trolling a celeb.

4. On being asked to mention an actor who harmed their career due to lack of PR:

Aditya Roy Kapur had the looks, craze, and money to strike while the iron was hot. Having personally met the guy though, I could tell he doesn’t desire that level of fame.

5. On being asked about the PR budget of moderately successful actors: 

PR budget really depends a lot. A few celebs give upwards of 10 crore per year, but most are in the vicinity of 1-2 crore. A lot of them give a lot of gifts if everything goes well, so that’s there. I got 2 brand new iPhones and an iPad Pro this year.

6. On rivalry between PR agencies:

Oh, it gets ugly. It’s fierce because we often have rivals as clients. Every Goodwill one celeb earns makes the other insecure. Which leads to either them being more aggressive with their PR or making the public feel sympathetic. We all know that a celeb leaving our agency is disastrous too, so we do everything we can to make sure they don’t. It’s a symbiotic relationship.

7. On actors landing in troubles and the damage control after that:

Well that often doesn’t come into our domain, if the issue is public though, we either tell the celeb to ignore it or pen down an apology. Most celebrities are too arrogant to take blame, so we can only do so much. If it’s a small issue, we usually bury it before it goes viral, and that mostly works.

8. On actors like Pankaj Tripathi, Sanjay Mishra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, having an active PR team:

Almost everyone has a PR, but the actors you mentioned have a very mild one. Nawazuddin uses a lot of PR help whenever he gets negative publicity of any kind. Pankaj Tripathi is like a caring uncle, he is the kind of guy who hugs you after you work for him, tells ‘beta tum hamari problem ko mitane ki koshish karte ho, tumko koi problem ho toh befikar aana.’ Wholesome person.
India Today

9. On being asked if PR teams try and influence movie reviews:

The thing is, it can easily backfire on the celeb, it’s a huge risk. Our agency doesn’t indulge in such activities. We do try to bring positive buzz on social media, but our Agency is mainly responsible for maintaining a celeb’s life off-screen. I know a lot of other PR agencies that use innovative ways to even get one positive review. A few celebs often keep both agencies. Ours is renowned for managing off screen personas.

10. On interviews and if actors are coached for them:

It’s quite a known practise to integrate a few questions that showcase a celeb’s positive aspects during interviews, it’s a common practise. A few celebs are super particular about their media image though, and let us screen the whole interview before the final editing. Written interviews for some celebs are coached, we write their answers sometimes. If it’s an airhead, we just pray that they don’t screw over too bad. We can only do so much.

Looks like we knew nothing.

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