Bollywood actress Yami Gautam recently sparked a debate on social media when she shared her belief that good work is the prime requirement for achieving success in the Indian film industry. In response to a user suggesting she hire a better public relations agency to boost her career, Yami replied, “I see the power of PR heavy activities / reviews / trend / perceptions / image etc which actors are relying on, and I judge no one. But I am a strong believer in ‘YOUR WORK IS YOUR BEST PR’. It’s a longer route but takes you the correct way 😊🙏🏻”
However, experts in the field of entertainment public relations in Mumbai may disagree with Yami’s viewpoint. They argue that having a good PR strategy is essential for creating a successful career in the film industry, and it is not simply about doing good work.
Image-building and PR strategy get huge benefits
Bollywood PR guru Dale Bhagwagar explains, “Please understand that good work and talent is not the only thing required for success. If that was the case, Naseeruddin Shah would have been a superstar in Bollywood just like Amitabh Bachchan, and Ranbir Kapoor may have trumped Kartik Aaryan in craze much before 2022. But that could not be because they were tactical with their brand images, instead of strategic. I say this with a lot of humility and practicality, and not to make anyone feel good or bad.”
The celebrity PR expert who tops the list of best PRs in Bollywood, goes on to explain that having a strong personal brand and image is crucial for generating interest in an actor’s work. “When you are excellent at image-building, media handling and PR strategy, your movies get huge benefits, as the interest value of the public on seeing their stars on screen peaks, even with basic promotions done by film publicists,” he says.
Media coordination requires PR professionals
“Personal PR of top Bollywood celebrities works hand-in-hand during movie releases and helps generate buzz and better initials for films. One can be seen on Twitter, Instagram and at events, but there are lots of things like coordinating with journalists for interviews and news features, generating goodwill with media folks, creating the star aura, issuing news releases, disseminating new unseen images with consistency and controlling public discourse with the help of the media. Plus, there is crisis management, when something goes haywire. Artistes cannot handle these aspects on their own. That is where publicists and PR agencies make the real difference in imaging and branding,” explains Bhagwagar.
Good PR strategies hold great value
The Bollywood spin doctor also emphasizes that personal branding and PR are not just about the actors themselves, but also about the producers, financiers and film funding people who invest in their projects.
“As there is a lot of money at stake on the names and brands of the main star cast, even if artistes don’t bother about their personal branding and PR, they should still consider it at least for the sake of producers, financiers, film funding people and for the sake of companies whose products and brands artistes endorse. After all, the demand and supply business market runs on returns on investments,” concludes Bhagwagar.
Yami’s streak of successes
Yami has a diverse acting career, having worked in both television and movies. After acting in notable TV shows such as Chaand Ke Paar Chalo and Yeh Pyar Na Hoga Kam, she made a successful transition to the big screen, appearing in popular films such as Vicky Donor, Badlapur, Bala and Uri: The Surgical Strike, among others. Her acting skills were appreciated in A Thursday, Kaabil and Lost. However, her film Dasvi received mixed reviews. Yami will soon be seen opposite Akshay Kumar in OMG2 and in the Netflix film Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga.
Though Yami may have some bigger hits compared to her contemporaries Kiara Advani, Shraddha Kapoor and Janhvi Kapoor, she can be said to lack in the kind of high-profile media mileage and PR branding many other Bollywood actresses have managed in the media.
While some of Yami Gautam’s fans may support her belief in the power of good work, most industry experts believe that having an effective PR strategy is essential for success in Bollywood.
Bollywood PR machinery
Surprisingly, according to Bhagwagar, despite the effectiveness of the Bollywood PR machinery, many upcoming actresses in Bollywood wait too long to realize the importance of generating a stronger buzz for themselves, which could also benefit their projects in the bargain. With so much at stake in the film industry, actors should carefully consider the impact of personal PR and branding on their careers and projects.
Crafting a personal brand through effective PR
So while Yami Gautam believes that good work is the key to success in the Indian film industry, PR experts such as Dale Bhagwagar argue that personal branding and a strong PR strategy are essential for creating a more successful career. Bhagwagar emphasizes that effective image-building, media handling and PR strategy can generate interest in an actor’s work and ultimately lead to better box-office results. As with any high-stakes industry, actors and producers alike must carefully consider the impact of personal PR and branding on their careers and projects. While opinions may differ on the relative importance of good work versus effective PR, one thing is clear — a carefully crafted personal brand can make all the difference in the highly competitive world of Bollywood.