Home Bollywood Spoiler’s Ahead by Rajeev Masand: How Bollywood defanged the paparazzi

Spoiler’s Ahead by Rajeev Masand: How Bollywood defanged the paparazzi

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Most people would agree that the term “paparazzi” conjures images of pesky photographers jumping over fences and hedges to train their telephoto lenses into the high-walled homes of famous movie stars. Or, go after a reclusive celebrity to catch an elusive shot that will be talked about for years to come. Or, spend hours or even days on a small boat in the Mediterranean staring at the latest Hollywood power couple and capturing their cooing on their private beach. In any case, the constant element of initiative, defiance or boldness led them to take this once-in-a-lifetime shot.



The job role of a Mumbai “dad” seems to be different. You can just scroll through the Instagram feeds of the top Bollywood paparazzi and notice that most of them have been selected by the system. Much of their work involves filming celebrities on glamorous red carpets at movie premieres, award shows and parties of all kinds. Of course, they showed up every morning outside the gym frequented by Sara Ali Khan and Janhvi Kapoor and coaxed them to stop for a few brief photos before the cast went home after a sweaty workout. You can be sure they will be at the gate when Deepika Padukone pulls up and heads to the terminal to board her flight to Cannes.




Sarah Ali Khan regularly ‘snacks’ outside the gym

But no one does the scoop these days. I remember when Demi Moore came to Mumbai in the mid-90s at the invitation of Deepak Chopra. Shortly after questions and photos at a hastily organized press conference, the Disclosure star retired to her suite at the Taj Mahal hotel, where reporters seeking “scoops” were turned away. But an enterprising 20s photographer at rediff.com (sadly, I forgot her name) refused to call it quits and parked herself in the corridor outside the actress’s room, every time she was chased away by security They all pretended to leave, but almost three hours after hanging, Moore was going out to a party hosted by Parmeshwar Godrej for her. The young girl’s perseverance paid off, and before being rushed to the party, she was featured in the only photo of a Hollywood star in a pink saree and sporty trench coat on her hands.



“Discover” PR

The truth is, in the age of overzealous managers, publicists, and image consultants (not to mention the very savvy celebrities themselves), it’s nearly impossible for stars to let their guard down. They’re pretty much all retouched and prepped and ready for 24×7 close-ups. Bollywood has found a way to keep the “bap culture” alive and use it for profit. Did you know that “star finds” — or dads’ accidental encounters with movie stars — are actually the result of carefully orchestrated whistleblowers by the star’s publicist? So, the next time you see a photo of the upcoming actress outside the hot producer’s office, remember that the photographer was out of luck. So the “discovery” could lead to expected speculation that the actress may be landing on the filmmaker’s next big project, they were told.




Jahnvi Kapoor is another celebrity who regularly has sex outside the gym

About two years ago, I expressed my surprise to another actor I met that day when I learned that a rising star actor was paying to make sure he was in the news regularly. Another actor embarrassed to reveal that he has hired a group of photographers himself: “When I left here, they were downstairs waiting for me to take pictures.”



Today, almost every publicist has a monthly label for public service to their clients. And since “everyone does it”, let’s face it, there’s almost no embarrassment (or shame) in what should be pretty weird – how people pretend to be surprised when your dad shows up at the restaurant you’re taking ? “Aap idhar bhi pahun gaye? An actress innocently asked a group of photographers waiting outside a restaurant as she walked in with her family.


Taimur Ali Khan has been a paparazzi darling from birth



India is better?

Every now and then the paparazzi will sell something…organic. Until recently, that was little Temur Ali Khan. There’s always Urfi Javed and her puzzling clothing choices.Currently Nito Kapoor and her lovely answer to the nosy question Bahu Arya and her grandson on the way. Reality TV stars are also popular.

You might argue (and you might be right) that it’s better to have a culture where photographers work with celebrities and basically post endorsed content, rather than a culture where celebrities are seen as prey. To avoid the appreciation of initiative and perseverance being misinterpreted as foolishness, it’s important to consider that it was the aggressive paparazzi who played a part in Britney Spears’ spiral and Princess Diana’s death. .



Rajeev Masand is a former film journalist who is currently responsible for Mumbai Talent Management Agency

From HT Brunch, July 9, 2022

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