Celebrities make a lot of money. When talking about a celebrity, it obviously refers to those who have found success and are adored and admired by the masses. Whether it’s a movie actor or a sportsman. Cinema and cricket are such areas. that with a little hard work and a lot of luck, a person can be lifted to incredible heights.
India is a land of opportunities, especially after the 1990s when the economy of the country opened its doors to the world to be part of it, or rather as if it wanted the world to be part of the Indian economy.
A lakh has turned into a crore in the film industry. Amitabh Bachchan, assuming he was paid Rs 15 lakh per movie at his peak when he was the guaranteed box office draw, was now paid in several crores in his second run not like the hero of a film, but to play a character role.
Corporate culture had entered the Indian film industry with foreign investment. Multiplex properties had replaced single screens. Cinema ticket prices have soared to hundreds instead of Rs 2 to Rs 5! As a result, movie stars who used to be worth a few lakh, were now pulling in crores.
The stars were taking home Rs 50 crore to Rs 60 crore per movie, but they didn’t leave their greed behind. Some of our stars rank among the wealthiest taxpayers and make headlines in the media. Although they earn in crores, they still lean for an extra lakh.
Few actors who have become stars come from well-to-do families, most come from the middle class, even from the petty bourgeoisie, even from the poorest, should that make them greedy enough to renounce principles?
Fame brings prosperity and opens the doors to more wealth. Many stars/celebrities today make more money endorsing brands than they make from movies or a sport elevated to iconic status. Yet some ads should be taboo, even for them.
What about their moral duty? Previously, the trend was for models to do all the sponsorship (it was called modeling back then). Those that became popular were quickly picked up by filmmakers for film assignments. Over the years there were many like Kabir Bedi, Prem Chopra, Deepak Parashar etc. then there were contemporary stars like Jackie Shroff, John Abraham, Salman Khan, Arjun Rampal, Randeep Hooda, Anushka Sharma, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Sushmita Sen, Aishwarya Rai, Katrina Kaif, Siddhartha Malhotra, etc.
Yes, when it came to female stars, almost all of them were promoting the Lux soap brand, it’s been a tradition for years.
Actors of old were true to their moral values. They were movie stars and they stuck to acting in movies. They kept to themselves and avoided public appearances as much as possible, and maybe that’s what created an aura around them. They made people want more of those stars. They were not known to crave an extra rupee.
Where did it all start? It probably started with the calls from Dubai. The bosses made the decisions and there was no way a star could say ‘no’. Births, birthdays, weddings, just a party or a cricket match, the stars were there at the request of the donation. Their presence garnered some positive media coverage. They won a return gift, maybe a video player or a Sony TV, for such an appearance. These gifts were precious to the stars.
Soon the practice spread as far as India. A movie star attending your wedding ceremony, anniversary or any other reception could add sparkle and glamor to your reception. Among friends and relatives, the stars made concessions. Soon, they realized they could attach a price tag to such appearances.
A lakh for a few minutes blessing a function was bonus earning. A popular villain of the time even joked that for a few lakh he would even attend a funeral! They were in high demand among the new rich who wanted to display their wealth.
Originally, the trend was for models to aim for movie careers, soon, but now stars have become models, brand ambassadors, brand faces, and more. There were a lot of crores to do. the highest paid brand promoters! If it wasn’t a high, what else was?
It’s good if a star is popular and a brand wants to use that popularity to promote themselves. The stars are making money and the brand thinks their goal has been achieved. Or so they thought! How can you expect a star to promote the same or halfheartedly similar brands to give you the kinds of returns you’re looking for? Most of these advertisements turn out to be monotonous.
Take the case of Ranveer Singh. Does he have to play the jester in just about every commercial? With the image he likes, that of the larger than life Amitabh Bachchan, should he play in an advertisement where he begs for a cold drink from Arshad Warsi? Maybe ad agencies don’t care about a superstar’s image, but a star can’t trust his judgment.
Bachchan was criticized for promoting a brand of chocolate infested with worms (it wasn’t his fault) and he was criticized for promoting a certain drink deemed unhealthy, especially for children.
Stars who are trolled for bad publicity always end up making excuses and feigning ignorance about the harms of the product! You have a battery of lawyers at your command and you are supposed to have common sense (with which decide which scenarios are good for you and which are worth discarding.Beyond all of that, being a public figure and a movie star, you are supposed to have morals and a conscience.
If a star says he was just promoting “elaichi dana” by sharing the brand name “gutka”, he’s lying, because he knows exactly what he was doing. He also knows what a substitute promotion is.
For a long time since the Indian government banned the promotion of cigarettes, alcohol and “gutka”, advertisers have found a new way to promote these products through the alternative advertising channel.
A brand of whiskey is presented as a soda or even a collection of music CDs, a brand of “gutka” as “elaichi” (cardamom). And if some brands of “gutka” do not have tobacco, “supari” is still treated with harmful substances. If movie stars don’t use gutka, why do they promote it?
Is it a question of money? Stars have been known to attend weddings for cash, so much so that their fans have started calling them “bhands” (the traditional people who dance and perform at weddings for a living). Not too long ago, the biggest stars were seen acting as stewards at a billionaire family wedding! Awards ceremonies also started using these “bhands” because they started to get sponsored. These stars are made to dance for a price and money.
Actors of old never indulged in greed for money or were fooled. I don’t remember Raj Kapoor, Raj Kumar, Dilip Kumar or Dev Anand doing commercials! In fact, Dev Anand was offered one and is known to have turned down the offer, he didn’t believe in selling his life-created image for a little extra cash.
It’s not just about movie stars. Even other celebrities fall into the trap. MS Dhoni, for example, is promoting a game app and it has welcomed a kite enthusiast into the world of game apps. And to think all Indian elders regret that today’s youth have given up on outdoor activities/sports and turned to online games!
Social media is tough when a celebrity betrays their faith. Recently, Padma Shri Akshay Kumar was added to a surrogate advertising campaign of a brand known for its “gutka”. The product was so far promoted by Padma Shri Shah Rukh Khan and Padma Shri Ajay Devgn. It must have been the idea of the promoters of a multi-star commercial (maybe they were unaware of the recent multi-star with Akshay, Ajay and Ranveer, “Sooryavanshi”, flop!).
There was no reaction until Akshay was added to this substitution advertising campaign for a “gutka”. But all hell broke loose after Akshay joined the “featured cast”. The other two did, okay. But that was not what was expected of Akshay Kumar, so adored by the masses in recent years.
He was the crusader fighting against all bad things, such as smoking and open defecation, and also promoting the use of sanitary napkins. And here he was promoting a “gutka” maker.
Especially with Akshay, fans reacted with disappointment and accused him of betrayal of faith. Akshay, for his part, has publicly apologized to his fans on social media and elsewhere for his association with such a product. There is no such reaction to the other two, Shah Rukh and Ajay, doing the same ad, which also makes a statement.
In fact, what do these stars think? That people are crazy to believe that the stars are just promoting cardamom or that the public is smart enough to know it’s a “gutka” product and see it as such?
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