Is this actress dating this leading man? Or is she not?
Is there a split between this celebrity couple? Or is it just a minor tiff?
Has this actor stormed out of his mentor’s next film? Or has he been thrown out?
Practically every day one comes across such headlines, with debates and counter-debates to follow, one ends up wondering if this is yet another publicity exercise on display. It is indeed a sorry state of affairs when the overdose of PR plugs are rampant and the line between truth and lies has diminished so much that even a regular member from the ‘aam janta‘ has stopped reacting to such tales by considering them fake, when it could truly be a fact.
As for the ‘news pieces‘ being released from inside the industry, there is a severe requirement for reinvention, considering the fact that old age formulas have already gone for a toss.
Says Milap Zaveri, writer of quite a few superhit films, who is now directing Sunny Leone in Mastizaade:
I believe that nowadays with social media like Twitter and Instagram, the audience as it is has a greater insight into what a star is doing. While PR is important for a film that’s about to release, I feel creating fake news about oneself is passé and one shouldn’t indulge in it.
It isn’t about just fake vs real if producer Ashwin Varde is to be believed. He counter argues:
I don’t blame the producers or the actors at all. Today, we (I count myself in that bracket) are faced with a bigger issue. Even if we have genuine news that is front-page worthy, we are asked to pay if we want to get it published in the leading papers. When the media puts itself out for sale even for genuine content, what is wrong if some producers and actors sell their ethics and morals to get attention with manipulated stories?
Ouch! While this indeed hits where it hurts most, Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, who comes from a management background and is now making films, is cognizant of the ground realities. He says:
In this world of mass consumerism, everything is PR driven. Now there are two kinds of people who believe in printed word and ones who know that everything is paid for.
This means that while marketing teams and media are expected to do their job in rolling out stories that make for a spicy read, it all boils down to coffee table discussions that may or may not result in anything meaningful, but prove to be engaging enough for some time at least.
Adds Suleman Mobhani, Co-founder and Director at Bollywoodhungama.com:
People don’t care what news it is as it serves as fodder for discussion for everyone in the cycle. From PR perspective, it gives them front page access without having to spend a dime. Also, PR firms can claim ownership to this devised strategy which helps them retain and attract new clients.
Sab ganda hai par dhandha hai ye! Now this could well be the underlining message here if Ashwin is to be believed.
He has the final word here:
Harmless PR disguising itself as news is an old phenomenon. Stories about romances between on-screen pairs or fights between working mates have been making their way into print from the 80s; perhaps from even before that. I think as long as consenting adults are involved, there’s no harm in it from the point of view of the people involved in it.
Hmm, well, that’s an argument as well!