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Vivek’s an idiot: Salman
Vivek’s an idiot: Salman

24 Nov 2008,. Vivek is an idiot. He belongs to that group of people who take pangas with celebrities so that they can get their photograph placed next to that person’s in a newspaper or magazine.Salman Khan on Vivek Oberoi in a recent interview to Filmfare 

Wonder what happens to film publicists who handle warring clients? Do they tell their clients to ‘shut up and bounce’ or add more fuel to the fire by instigating both in the name of professionalism?Publicist Aloke Mathur, who at one point in time used to handle both Salman and Vivek and now handles only Salman’s work, says, “Initially, there was no problem. But later on, one of them became uncomfortable. I never dictate what a star will say in an interview. You never know when they will kiss and make up. I don’t wish to be later criticised for inciting animosity.” 

But what about allegations that it was he who called the infamous Vivek press conference? To that, Mathur says, “No, the whole media turned up at his place then. Later on, I too joined the conference.”Dale Bhagwagar, publicist for Vivek, says that simultaneously dealing with warring clients is a cakewalk if a PR learns to treat every client as an individual identity. “I can easily handle Salman Khan and Vivek Oberoi simultaneously. It’s important that I keep their secrets to myself. After Salman called Vivek an idiot, I’d prefer him to say: ‘I guess, I’m such an idiot’ and then smile and wink. That would take care of things, in a cool way and not ruffle the person who said it too, especially when the person is Salman. Had I to handle Salman now, I’d make sure that he is perceived as a darling and a rootha hua kid who doesn’t mean any harm. Once that perception is created through smart PR, he can be himself and shoot his mouth off. But when the perception has changed, people will look at his quotes differently,” says Bhagwagar.Rohini Iyer, managing director of a company that also handles publicity of stars, including Saif Ali Khan, Shahid Kapoor, Kareena and Katrina, says, “Most controversies are media-generated and hence, I try to ignore them. Such petty rivalries actually happen between B-grade starlets. Stars themselves are too secure. Of course, we do have a strategy in place while dealing with individual clients. But, stars don’t need to be spoon-fed. Since I don’t discuss each star’s work with the other, I’ve been able to work with them for so long.” 

Celebrity publicist Parull Gossain also had her share of warring clients. “They’ve trusted me enough to know that I wouldn’t do any harm. Though I’m their well-wisher, they know I’m not a slave. I’ve often tried to diffuse the tension, she says.” But, there have been times when publicists have also cashed in on the war of words. Take the case of publicist Flynn Remedios, who handles Rakhi Sawant and Shradha Sharma, who has allegedly stolen the item girl’s ex-boyfriend Abhishek. “There was an accident when a reporter chanced upon Abhishek and Shradha together in a car. Once the report was out, I saw it as a god-sent opportunity. I’d be a fool not to exploit it,” says Remedios. 

So, don’t be surprised if Shradha’s claim in an open letter of convincing Rakhi’s ex-boyfriend to apologise on her birthday on the November 25 comes true, because Remedios is 
monitoring both drama queens and keeping a tab on the allegations and open letters each is sending out on the media. Suffice it to say that publicists are now like lawyers who can argue both sides of the case. The only difference is that, they often end up arguing both sides of the same case. 

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