What’s Your Mobile Number?

How integral  the cell-phone  has become  to stardom. Simply put, you can’t be  a star and  not be connected by the cell-phone to the rest of  humanity. How much so, is  the star’s  choice.

 Some like Urmila Matondkar give  their cell number to a privileged few. “It becomes  very  embarrassing when  my phone starts ringing in my purse  right after I’ve told someone  I don’t carry one,” she giggled conspiratorially.

     Others like Karan Johar use the cell-phone  for their own   enjoyment.  I  remember Sushmita Sen  grabbing Karan’s ringing mobile and pretending to be  his secretary.

   Akshay Kumar would hand the phone to you and offer, “Tu Akshay banega? le baat kar.”

  For  a telephone person like yours truly who lives and works out of  Mumbai, stars are synonymous with cell-phones. I can almost tell  what they’re up to  by their phone behaviour. If  the phone is engaged  for  long hours it means  they are almost for sure  into  a new relationship. And if they suddenly start calling you  more, it means they’re just out of a  relationship.

                That’s  how I had found out about  Kareena  and Shahid Kapoor. Her phone got unusually busy.Incidentally Kareena  and Karisma’s cell numbers   were separated by only one digit until recently).

      Several  stars including Amitabh Bachchan,  Aishwarya  Rai, Sushmita Sen  and Akshay Kumar have the same number for as long as I’ve known  them. Most stars choose to change their numbers only when the ‘wrong’ kind of calls start coming too frequently . Admirably, Akshay has kept  the same number in spite of threats and crank calls.  “Too much  of a   problem  for those who have to be  informed of the change,” he argues.

     As  for Mr Bachchan, no one threatens  India’s greatest  showbiz  icon. So why should he change  his number?

    “Thank God  for  the mobile. You know exactly where the kids are, and what they’re doing,”   says AB Sr.

  It must be mentioned here that several  stars  carry two mobiles. One  of  the numbers is strictly  for  family and close friends. And if a star gives you his second number you  know you are part  of  the inner circle.

       The most frequent cell -number changers are Ajay Devgan, Preity Zinta  and Priyanka Chopra . If you speak to them  once every two months you are in  for trouble. But not to worry…there are touts  and   other elements  on their sets who would more than willingly give you your favourite stars’ numbers  at   a  price range from Rs 2,000 to Rs.12,000.

  Yes, believe it or not, you can actually BUY stars’ numbers. 

    Not everyone  is  comfortable with  the mobile culture . The Nightingale Lata Mangeshkar   started reluctantly carrying a  cellphone.  “I can  even read SMS messages. But I  cannot send SMS,” she reveals shyly.India’s  most treasured  artiste is now on WhatsApp.

Javed Akhtar  until recently couldn’t use  the SMS   services  on the phone. His wife Shabana  taught  him  how  to . And now   when he  isn’t writing  lyrics he writes lyrical messages  to his friends.

 Yash Chopra  couldn’t  SMS. If you sent  him one, he’d call you back  to answer. And if you call or SMS his son Aditya, he won’t respond. Period. 

    That  other poet-extraordinaire Gulzar  must be  one  of  the few prominent people  in the industry   who refused  to carry a mobile for  a very long time. “I  think  it’s an outright intrusion. And  I hate the way it intrudes on every conversation. Besides, I’m dressed  in a  kurta-pyjama most of  the time.  So where will I keep it ?” he  argued

Now  of course Gulzar Saab carries  a mobile, and yes I  have his  number.

                 The only  other film persons I know who don’t carry a  mobile are John Mathan  and  Dharmesh Darshan . Om Puri carried one. But he doesn’t give the number to anyone at all.

  If  Preity and Priyanka  change their numbers the most frequently,Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Ram Gopal Varma   get  the  prize for being the most frequent cell-phone losers. And the   most frequent cellphone user will have to be…  Varun  Dhawan. When he’s not in a shot he’s bound to be on phone ,to  the extent  that his friends wonder whom he’s in earnest conversation with all the time  these days! Hmmmmm…..

     The most diligent and meticulous responses  to cellphone calls and queries always come from the Top  3: Amitabh Bachchan and   Hema Malini     No message or call to them  goes un-returned. 

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