NEW DEHLI: While Pakistani socialites call on Sukhbir or Stereo Nation to perform at weddings here, Indian socialites are dishing out millions for Bollywood celebrities.
Sanjay Dharewa, who owns a celebrity management company in the eastern city of Kolkata, explains that the rented “star guest” phenomenon is due to newly-rich Indian families seeking prestige to underline their wealth.
“Hiring Bollywood actors to make a guest appearance at a wedding is the best way to entertain guests,” he said. “It displays your spending power.”
Dharewa, who has a reputation for cutting deals with A-list names like Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan, says Bollywood actors are often willing to spare time to attend weddings when they are not shooting films.
“Sometimes if the families are willing to give a hefty fee then actors even change their work schedule,” he said, adding that families also plan their pre-wedding parties around the stars’ diaries.
“Even though everyone knows it is a financial deal, the actors make the family members feel as if they are genuine friends. They hug the groom and bride, crack a joke: all this is just to lift the couple’s status,” Dharewa told AFP.
In 2004, the marriage of industrialist LN Mittal’s daughter, Vanisha, epitomised how modern weddings can match the extravagance of India’s lost era of maharajahs.
It was held in a French chateau with performances by Kylie Minogue and Khan - and cost a reported $60 million.
In 2009, Khan reportedly charged over INR30 million to perform at the wedding of real estate magnate Kanti Govani’s nephew. Bipasha Basu, Rani Mukherjee, Emraan Hashmi and Neil Nitin Mukesh also performed at the wedding.
Other actors who are up for dancing at weddings include Hrithik Roshan, Sushmita Sen and Amisha Patel.
Bunty Walia of GS Entertainment, who managed the Govani wedding told Screen India: “Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Shahid Kapoor are the most in demand today for high-profile weddings.
Renting a star guest requires delicate negotiations as many Bollywood stars often deny they attend private events for cash.
But wedding planners coordinate with show business agents to maintain a long list of those who may be able to “drop by” for a special dance or group photograph.
They also have a long list of requirements. For example, Khan is reported to have told an Indian newspaper about his requirements: “You have to do it like a show, it has to be in an area where nobody drinks and eats, it will start at 9 pm and end at 11:30 pm, the stage will be 30 by 40 feet, we will make our entries, we will not chat with anyone, we will not eat your food, we will not take pictures with your daughter or daughter-in-law, unless we personally want to. We will come, perform, and we will go away.”
At the 2007 Filmfare Awards, Saif Ali and Shah Rukh Khan put together a skit with Akshay Kumar and parodied themselves dancing at industrialists’ weddings. AFPth additional information from the News Desk
Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2010.
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