Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Seminar on Celeb Management at EMDI

When celebrity publicist Dale Bhagwagar was invited by EMDI Institute of Media & Communication, Bandra, to conduct a seminar on Celeb Management, the time given to him was 6pm to 7.30pm. But even as it crossed 8.30pm, the students seemed to be in no mood to leave him, or go home. Dale enjoyed each and every minute of the extended time too. But more than that, he was proud of their love and dedication to learn.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Guest Lecture for MMC students studying Journalism and MBA students studying PR at Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication

Publicity: The good, the bad and the ugly sides
An article by Devleena De of Symbiosis

“Good publicity is good. Bad publicity is better. Ugly publicity is the best... because it travels the fastest and hits the hardest. The worst of all is no publicity.” So says, Dale Bhagwagar in his Facebook account and thus fuels the endless debate on the ethics of public relation (PR) practices and their impact on almost every industry today, especially entertainment.
An afternoon with one of the Bollywood's best known public relation officer (PRO) or publicist, as he prefers to call himself will certainly be electrifying to say the least, especially, if the audience comprises aspiring PR and journalism students. After serving as a publicist with the likes of Hrithik Roshan, Govinda, Shilpa Shetty, Priyanka Chopra, Shiney Ahuja, Vivek Oberoi and several others, some rather infamous names, Bhagwagar offered a very interesting insight on the glitz, glitterati and high flying life of the rich and the famous of the glamour world. For instance, Shiney Ahuja – as the world has never seen him, or Shilpa Shetty – post the Bigg Boss controversy, the making of Sherlyn Chopra and miscellaneous.
Questions were answered, notions cleared and ideas reinstated but with their fair share of debate, as is expected with an orator as diplomatically overt and an audience as opinionated as this. Thus, the ancient war between the journalists and PROs ensued with Bhagwagar acting as the devil's advocate and fuelling it on its comments like, 'The job of a PR professional is ten-fold more difficult than that of a journalist'.
Outrageous as it might sound, it cannot be denied that a PR professional has the responsibility of regulating not just one medium of communication but the multitude of information sources that are made public. Journalists, on the other hand, have the task of checking the content of just the one medium that they are associated with.

Every erroneous or errant press release or news story can make or break the brand image of an organisation or an individual and onus of ensuring that that doesn't happen lies entirely with the PRO. A leading entertainment company was recently in the news in context of fraud accusations against the promoters of the company for attempting to propagate false information through an inaccurate press release to increase the share price of the company. Several such instances can be cited where publicity- negative or positive has confounded the masses and influenced their opinion and yet PR practitioners take comfort from the conception that there is more to PR than just manipulation and tweaking of information.
Perhaps, the key to this suave journalist- turned PRO's success in the industry is his familiarity with the way journalists function. Remarkably, Bhagwagar was tactfully explicit when it came to his clientele and ostentatiously made statements that he claimed were 'off the record' in front of cameras and an audience that was sure to quote him. Contrary to media reports stating that Shiney Ahuja is a heavy drinker, his ex-publicist refuted the statement but did not try to refute Ahuja's alleged relation with his maid but shrewdly remaining noncommittal towards the rape accusation. Bhagwagar provides a fine illustration of the universal PR-journo algorithm: While one indicts, the other defends.
The news media and the corporate communication side of the media always work synchronously and yet journalists and PR professionals have a distinct love-hate relationship. Neither can exist without the other. Dissemination of information is as important as determining what information is to be disseminated and hence, while the importance of PR can't be denied in the communication cycle, journalism too plays an indispensable role. Undeniably, in the entertainment industry almost all publicity is good since it serves to keep the individual associated with it in the headlines. What other reason would explain why the audience flocked in massive numbers to screenings of films like Fashion, Girlfriend, Julie, Murder, Company and many more.
Sleaze, skin show, alleged liaisons or that matter, anything that raises eyebrows can be considered as a successful publicity tactic today, since they serve to do exactly what PR essentially does. Despite being associated with names like Sherlyn Chopra, infamous for her skimpy bikinis, which he admits was his publicity strategy to get her noticed, Bhagwagar claims that PR has an ethical context to it. “There is a thin red line that differentiates manipulation from being unethical tweaking. While I manipulate, I also let my conscience do the talking,” he asserts. But the question is where that thin red line lies.

Screenshot of the article on

Monday, January 5, 2009

Dale judges inter-collegiate events and conducts
guest lectures and seminars on PR at various colleges

When celebrity publicist Dale Bhagwagar addressed the students of Bachelor of Management Studies (BMS) at H.R.College, Churchgate, Mumbai, they were in for a huge surprise. He freely discussed PR strategies and media manoeuvres that went behind the makeover of ‘Brand Shilpa Shetty’.

Dale handled Shilpa Shetty's PR for the best five years of her life; throughout the hype and hoopla, during and post UK’s reality show 'Celebrity Big Brother'. The PR expert gave insights on newspaper stories in India as well as UK, on television feeds and also how he tackled the various raging controversies (including the Richard Gere one) surrounding his client.

He knowingly spilled a lot of beans, which was enlightening for students, especially as crisis-management is an integral part of the BMS course.

Dale was invited to SIES College in Sion to judge the PR event of an inter-collegiate BMM (Bachelor of Mass Media) festival titled ‘Copyrights’.  He was asked to give the students hypothetical situations and prepare them to answer a volley of questions, facing an audience of other students posing as journalists in a mock Press Conference.

After each team's presentation, the publicist chose to grill the contestants of the lively PR event in tongue-in-cheek manner.

But by the time the event came to an end, everyone was rolling in laughter from the witty comments and rejoinders of the BMM students; PR's in the making.

Around 30 colleges across Mumbai participated in the 'Copyrights' fest, which provided an impressive platform for constructive speaking and debate.

It not only gave mass media students an opportunity to explore their untapped talent and potential, but also helped improve their presentation skills.

"From what a PR gets, he might make a living. But from what a PR gives, he might make a life," said Dale, after judging another inter-collegiate PR event titled 'Polaris' at Wilson College, Chowpatty. The event, which marked the opening of the three-day media fest, saw participation from 27 colleges in Mumbai.

Speaking at a guest lecture for BMM students of Rizvi College in Bandra, Dale gave insights about the importance of ethics in entertainment reporting, investigative journalism, advertising, marketing, PR exercises, image-building strategies and media manoeuvres.

The lecture also covered aspects of how information technology has helped contemporary publicists create new trends. It was followed by an interactive session with students.

Dale co-judged another intercollegiate PR event of the annual 'O2' college festival at Bhavan's College in Andheri.

Titled 'Junksatta', the event also marked the commencement of the fest, and had finalists undergoing rounds based on the fiery theme of current-day politics. Organized by BMM students, it showcased the talent of hundreds of young enthusiastic learners.

 Dale gave another guest lecture on Entertainment PR at CHM College at Ulhasnagar. He spoke on the subjects of journalism, advertising, marketing, celebrity management, event co-ordination and PR.

 Through the two-hour talk, the publicist gave insights with a few case studies. 

He spoke about how PR strategists can help shape the minds of generation next.

Dale was invited as a guest lecturer at Event Management Development Institute at I.E.S. Management College, Bandra, to speak on the subjects of film journalism and Entertainment PR and how they are interwoven with events.

Dale participated as a speaker at an  inter-collegiate media seminar titled 'Ankur – Opportunities in Media' for BMM students at L.S.Raheja College of Arts and Commerce in Juhu. In a bold talk, he threw light on some unethical practices of certain tabloids and how yellow journalism is being practiced in the garb of tabloid journalism inspired by the West. “Throwing caution to the winds, Bhagwagar was the most frank, blunt and forthright speaker of the seminar. We also admire his guts for answering all the students' questions with aplomb," commented the seminar convener at the concluding ceremony. Dr (Ms) M.B.Madlani, the principal of L.S.Raheja College, too, praised Bhagwagar for his efforts.

Dale conducted another PR seminar titled 'Impressions' for the BMM students of Vivekananda Education Society (VES) College of Arts, Science & Commerce in Chembur. Aimed at giving the students a forum to exhibit their creative skills, the seminar included an interactive session with students who were interested to take up Entertainment PR as a profession.

Dale was joined by film actress Koel Purie to judge another BMM event at the 'Impressions' festival at VES College. It showcased more than a dozen documentaries, short films and television commercials made by students from around 20 colleges in and around Mumbai.

Actor Jai Kalra from the award-winning movie 'Page 3', joined Dale to judge another 'Impressions' fest at VES College.

 Addressing the students, Dale said, "We are living in a time, when perception is reality. Many BMM students will be the perception-builders of tomorrow. And if you have the right gripping thoughts in your minds, you will be able to influence, make, mould and change the perceptions of millions. That's the power of the media and the responsibility of a true publicist."

The publicist judged another short-film competition at another 'Impressions' media fest at VESCollege. Hundreds of students from various colleges competed as budding filmmakers in this event. Overwhelmed by Dale's speech after judging the competition, the organisers requested him to also judge a dance competition that followed on the college grounds. Dale couldnt help but marvel, at the outstanding efforts put up by the students, as he announced the winners of various competitions at the event.

Dale, who attended the 'Impressions’ media festival at VES for the fourth consecutive year, was the chief guest for the grand finale with nearly 20 colleges participating in it. "It's always been a pleasure to have the company of a smart mind like Bhagwagar," said Pratap Dhulap, the chairperson of 'Impressions'. The finale saw electrifying band performances by three college groups – Dhwani, Koshish and ATKT.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Dale speaks at first 'Animated Feature Forum'

"We all have a child within ourselves, and till that child is there, animation will prevail," said celebrity publicist Dale Bhagwagar, speaking at the 'Animated Feature Forum' organised by Animation Xpress Network, at the Hyatt Regency, Mumbai.

"We have actors playing characters in films. But animation actually goes one step ahead, by creatively moulding the look and style of characters, giving further depth and dimension to them. The very thought is challenging for the animator as well as the viewer. No wonder, animation excites us," he added.

The Bollywood publicist was a co-speaker on the subjects of marketing, imaging, branding and innovation along with Abhishek Nayyar (Percept Pictures),  Saurabh Varma (BIG Pictures), Utpal Acharya (Inox), Devang Sampat (Cinemax), Samir Chopra (Studio 18), Smita Maroo (Shemaroo) and Priyanka Sinha (Screen).

Attended by more than two hundred professionals from both the film and animation industry, the joint interaction, focusing on the future of animation feature films in India, was the first of its kind in the country.

Other prominent speakers and participants included Mahesh Samat (Managing Director, Walt Disney, India), Govind Nihalani, Kunal Kohli, Raizada Rohit Jaisingh Vaid, Arnab Chaudhari, Siddharth Jain (Irock Entertainment), Jiggy George (Turner), Abhimanyu Singh (Contiloe Pictures), Ashish Kulkarni (BIG Animation), Aditya Krishna (UTV Motion Pictures), Aman Kwatra (2nz), CB Arun Kumar (Pixion), Pankaj Khandpur (VCL).

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Grabbing the entire media’s eyeballs after the anti-racism controversy with UK’s reality show ‘Celebrity Big Brother’, Bollywood film actress Shilpa Shetty was catapulted to international fame. As she emerged a winner on the show, her PR strategist Dale Bhagwagar, who had also predicted her win, controlled her imaging and branding with a steel-like grip over what came out in the media. But when a TV anchor accused him of “PR stunts” in a live interview, Dale shot back with startling defence that zipped the anchor’s lips. By the end of the interview, the show’s co-anchor (the CEO of the channel) can be heard praising the PR guru, saying, “Dale, you are a very good publicist”.