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09-01-2009, 10:43 PM #1
Deepika travels solo, but not Kat, Sallu
Is it insecurity, loneliness, or just love for company that drives Bollywood stars to ensure that they never travel alone? Meena Iyer analyses
When Shah Rukh Khan was put through secondary interrogation at the Newark airport recently, one thing that appeared odd was the fact that he was travelling without an entourage. On this occasion, SRK was travelling by himself except for his assistant Subhash Jain. His bodyguard Yasin Khan was denied a visa.
Bollywood actors rarely move alone. For most of them, being surrounded by an entourage consisting of personal valet, bodyguard, sycophants and agents, are par for the course.
When Priyanka Chopra enters a hotel lobby, or preview theatre, or a studio or an event, there is no way she can go unnoticed. With Priyanka are valet Raja, secretary Chand Mishra, PR agents, hairdresser Priyanka and a security person. Her group resembles a mini congregation with the star walking in the centre like a hard-nosed politician, and the entourage protecting her perfectly from close public contact.
Kareena Kapoor moves with secretary Zahid Khan, the girl from the celebrity endorsement agency Poonam, and also her close friend and filmmaker Lovely Singh. Zahid says it makes sense to accompany his actress wherever possible simply because she is the biggest Bollywood actress, and they can’t take chances with the crowds. Lovely Singh, who is a close friend of Kareena is her one-point contact with whatever is happening in the film world. Zahid says, “Bebo spends so much time working, it is imperative that she has a comfort group around her.”
Shahid Kapoor has no bodyguards but his PR manager Rajnigandha Shekawat who travels constantly with the actor says, “Post Kaminey, there is so much madness happening, a bodyguard is now mandatory.’’ The actor usually has best friend, choreographer-cum-filmmaker Ahmed Khan, with him to keep him company and also for cerebral games. Also, a part of his permanent inner group is the man who raised him from his childhood, Mamu. “Mamu stays as close to me as my shadow,” says the actor.
Deepika Padukone travels alone to most places, at least in Mumbai.
Katrina Kaif has manager Sandhya with her at all points. “Sandhya can fix everything from a switch in the house to organising my daily affairs with super-efficiency,” says Katrina, who has come to depend largely on her. Those on a flight with Katrina noticed that the actress wouldn’t even talk to the air-hostess, she always conveyed her needs to Sandhya and Sandhya in turn passed on the instructions.
Hrithik Roshan has his security guards and secretary Ashok Vasodia with him at all points, but he doesn’t encourage too many people to travel with him unless it is to a film shoot, where he then has his make-up man, valet and driver around.
In other words, the agents, managers, body-guards act as the wall of security between the actor and the junta. “Often they double as our friends,” says an actress. “I hate to admit this, but I do lead a very lonely existence in Mumbai,” she confesses. “My family is away and whether I like it or not, I find my manager doubling up as my friend, confidante and even soul-mate sometimes.” The only reason the actress doesn’t wish to be named is because she doesn’t want her audience to know how lonely it is at the top.
Dharmendra, who travelled everywhere with valet Bhanwar says, “Bhanwar has travelled with me to more destinations than either of my wives, Prakash or Hema.”
Amitabh Bachchan was one of the first actors to travel alone. Big B didn’t encourage any kind of sycophancy and he spent time between shots either reading, writing or as is the case these days, blogging. Today his valet Praveen travels with him even when he is on vacation because he needs to be given his medication on time and also to ensure his general well-being.
Akshay Kumar used to travel by himself once. Now, he has weight trainer Jenny, two bodyguards, make-up man Narendra and valet Nitin, plus one permanent hanger-on around him at all times.
Salman Khan travels with a team. He has his bodyguard Shera, brother Sohail, and a couple of small-time actors, who owe ‘bhai’ complete allegiance.
09-01-2009, 11:01 PM #2
09-01-2009, 11:06 PM #3
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