Dear Rani Mukerji We Love You But We Won’t Give In To Your Marketing Team’s Bullying

Dearest Rani

I’ve known you for years. We’ve had our ups and downs. To your credit you’ve never held any of my write-ups about you, against me no matter how negative it was. I  remember I had once written a specially nasty tabloid piece on you for which KaranJohar(rightly) rebuked me and (wrongly) asked me who put me up to it.

To your credit, you didn’t say a word to me.You just kept quiet and when I  apologized you accepted gracefully and we moved on. Yes, we had a rapport,I would like to believe we still do though now your over-enthusiastic marketing team from Yash Raj films decides whom you speak to and whom you don’t.It’s like you’ve handed over the key to your better judgement to people who claim to know better but usually don’t.

 It doesn’t stop there. These ultra-efficient marketing maestros determined to justify their pay-checks,  resort to open bullying to get their way with journalists. It’s all about controlling the news about their clients. Most media persons including editors give in to their absurd demands. As one harassed editor-friend puts it, “What do I do? I need the stars to come to my awards function. And the only way to reach them is through their marketing team. I can’t afford to antagonize them. It’s the love-me-love-my-dog syndrome. If you want the stars you have to bear with their PR team.As simple as that.”

The problem here is  one of perception. I  don’t WANT the stars.  You, Rani, are  not a star for me.You are the friend whom I  met through my closest friend in Mumbai Sanjay Leela Bhansali. We shared some  super times together. Do you remember the  evening after the release  of Black when out of sheer uncontrollable joy, you jumped on top of the dining table at  Sanjay’s residence and did a  jig?

I was pleasantly stunned.  Aditya Pancholi who was also there looked like he would suffer a seizure.

These are the times, unhampered  by PR-giri, we shared. Do we really need your PR team  to decide when and how  we talk? Regrettably this is the PR-otocol that all mediapersons today are expected  to  follow. But  the determination to exercise complete control over  the entertainment media does not end with monitoring the interviews.

I was  asked to give an undertaking that  I will henceforth not write anything about Yash Raj without informing their marketing teamIrefused , as any selfrespecting journalist would. In  that case, I was  told politely, the interview with  you, Rani , is off.

If this is  not armtwisting what  is?  Most of  the PR companies thrive on  controlling the written word  about their clients, whch need not  be  a good thing.I know of PR companies  that misinform their star-clients  deliberately to  create a  rift with mediapersons that the  PR company doesn’t like. One such trouble-maker recently tried to ruin my professional rapport with my dear friend FarhanAkhtar and his partner Ritesh Sidhwani.

 You  would think  that seasoned intelligent denizens  of the entertainment  industry would know better and not encourage  these busybodies, these selfappointed custodians of  showbiz , to rule their careers. But now. The PR companies are alarmingly predominant in  the entertainment business. They tell the media what to write, when to write it ,  what font-size to use  and which pictures  to put with the  writeup, on threat  of  cutting the umbilical cord with stars .

But sorry , I am not giving in. Rani,I wait to see  you dance on that gleaming table-top once again. But  without your marketing team monitoring  every move. Until then,we shall have to live with all these hichkis. Hic to that.

Sincerely yours

Subhash K Jha

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