Media plays a big role in defining our perceptions about stars, where we don't have any real access to them. Girish is fortunate to live in a world, which brings him to close proximity with celebrities. He thinks, that we often get carried away by our perception in denying due credit to the stars, which they truly deserve, for their noble deeds. He shares his personal experience about the philanthropy and charity in Bollywood.
Perception is an interesting thing, in fact the popular perception is even more interesting. We tend to make it with all the paraphernalia we have been served. The Newspapers, Satellite channels, Web, Radio and Social Networking sites add to our information and incite us in developing certainarray of perceptions. Our regular hang-outs and parties are dominated by the discussions based on these perceptions and often make us long to spend time with like-minded mortals who share the same information (read perceptions). We create our own world (read closet) based on our perceptions and become mirror to many others, who have been in ambiguity or are still struggling to opinionate. Interesting are those, who often defy these perceptions and standout.
Information commonly available (read Media) makes us believe in dyslexia of Abhishek Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan, the Casanova streaks of Emran Hashmi and mood swings of Salman Khan. It popularizes the immoral ways of certain starlets who keep on changing partners. The typical Page 3 crowd, whose pictures are flashed so often in dailies make us wonder if they ever dine at their homes. The feud between Superstars, the visits of Celebs in Ganesh Visarjans and dandiyas, the drunken stupors of a few wannabees, the astronomical figures of Celeb-remunerations and the box-office hits and duds; all pushes our envelope too far; making us believe that these two Worlds are pole apart. We are real and the other is reel. The perception developed over considerable time drifts our attention to mere publicity-hogging ventures of these Celebrities rather than any real-life like endeavors they engage with.
I, fortunately entail on both corners. While I receive them and stand closely (read show-off) with Celebs in large majority of Promotional campaigns, I also travel with them to obscure Charity Homes and Offices of NGOs. I have been the part of several rallies where the Celebs address social issues. Be it a flood or an earthquake or a train accident or more recently Anna's support, I have seen them instigating the masses and coming out on the streets. I have observed Ashok Pandit and Mahesh Bhatt vocal on various social issues; Gul Panag working on environment campaigns and Celina Jaitley supporting the cause of LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals). I witnessed Sanjay Dutt visiting a terminally ill kid who wanted to meet him and was brought together by an NGO – MAKE A WISH FOUNDATION which works towards granting the wishes of terminally-ill children. Several Charity Screenings have been organized in all these years on behalf of Vivek Oberoi for the benefit of Cancer Patients initiated by NGO – CPAA (Cancer Patients Aids Association). A whole lot of renowned Ghazal singers gather every year for an Annual Ghazal Festival “KHAZAN” in aid of CPAA. The much revered NGO “BEING HUMAN” was launched for the benefits of street children with the star cast of Partner years back where several kids were monetarily aided and gifted by various brands at Cinemax – Versova, Mumbai. Lara Dutta celebrated her birthday with Cancer Patients while Sushmita Sen organized a special Screening of Chingari for destitute women sometime back at Cinemax – Sion, Mumbai. In my tenure of more than six years at Cinemax, I have distinguished almost a charity in every month.
This association provides me with a better space for analysis. When we hosted the Music Release of MAI KRISHNA HU in presence of Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif on this Saturday, the whole perspective needed a brief revisit. The film is produced by a “boy” of Hrithik and a “Hair-dresser” of Katrina. It's a small budget film embracing a “cameo” by Hrithik. When they unveiled the Music for this movie, Hrithik categorically stated that he treats his “boy” like a brother and is proud to be the part of this film. Katrina also was generous in her praise for her hairdresser and stood there to support the film. This gesture was indeed overwhelming. Supporting this small film by Stars of the stature of Hrithik and Katrina naturally elevates the film to a different level. This camaraderie was heartwarming and uplifting.
I remember Deepak Sawant, the Make-up Man of Amitabh Bachchan who produced Bhojpuri film “GANGA” and Mr Bachchan attending the Music Release and stating that it was his “turn” to favor Deepak. Salman Khan made sure that his Bodyguard, Shera's security Agency “Tiger” is promoted well in all Promotional campaigns of BODYGUARD and went onto the extent of making him feature in a Promotional song. While we hear stories of Mithun Chakraborty and Jackie Shroff working on procuring larger monetary help for junior artists, I have seen instances where the “boys” and Secretarie smake/produce films with the support of their Bosses/Stars. The philanthropy is the order of the day in Entertainment Industry and whenever I come across a small film with Big names associated, I get the hint. The perception-game changes and how... Amen!
Girish Wankhede is Head of Marketing at Cinemax, a leading multiplex chain in India. He also looks after Film Promotions and Brand Alliances at Cinemax. Girish has been closely associated with the film industry for 15 years, including a stint in production and has unparalleled access to the people who create magic on screen, every Friday. A passionate movie lover and ardent music aficionado, Girish is someone who literally lives movies 24x7. He has pionered film special screenings in India and has been instrumental in hosting several film festivals of national and international repute, including MAMI during his tenure.
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