Film stars are at their friendliest best whenever their film is up for release. They and their publicists go into hiding whenever they don't wish to talk (it is not the norm with everyone but mostly this is how it pans out). Recently the publicist of a two film old star (known for his philandering ways) approached me, stating that he wants to thank his fans in our interview for wishing him on his birthday and that he doesn't want to talk about anything else. I politely told the publicist that when the star is willing to talk in general, we'll do the interview as we don't do stuff as per a star's whims and fancies (his second film didn't work and he had thanked me profusely when we did his interview before he became a 'star' but things 'change' and how).
Yes film stars and film people in general try-n-'befriend' journos because of their 'position' and 'reach' as the Heroine promo states. There have been occasions when stars have approached us for clearing out rumours about their crumbling marriages or nasty lobbying against them within the film industry. But if we approach them for a byte on independence day, they become conveniently 'busy' (even though they are seen anywhere and everywhere). Many a times, stars crib about the rumours with regards to their personal life. But the fact is that many a times stars themselves spread rumours about their affairs and 'relationships' just to remain in news or it is part of the publicity plan for an upcoming film. Yes, accurate reporting is unheard of, many a times quotes are carelessly distorted to give a meaning completely different from what it is meant to be and then there are vested interests within the publicity machinery of a star that plants stories (based on 'sources') about rival camps.
Whenever I am invited for the success bash of a film or any random parties, I always politely decline. If you are part of their parties, they'll expect you to be of some 'use' later and that's not how it should be. I don't drink alcohol and I prefer eating food at home after an event (I rarely go for events anyways). Some stars are genuinely respectful and value integrity and they earn automatic respect. Mr Bachchan sent a thank you note duly signed by him after the success of 'Paa'. His letter is the pride of my office wall.
I've always maintained that I don't want to be 'friends' with a star. I'd be happy if they respect me and know that if I am asking tough questions in my interviews then it is not coming from a personal space but it is based on the questions that the audience wants to ask. There have been occasions when I am expected to ask questions only about the 'subject' that the star and his team wants to talk about. I find it boring but I always take my chances and try and ask a few topical questions as well that the audience may be interested in.
Then there are journos who are 'struggling' in the film industry and they are a pitiable lot for they have 'use me' written all over them. They can only say good things, ask all the 'right' questions and denounce the industry folks of their godfather's rival camp hoping to get rewarded some day.
I am sure Heroine promo will trigger a debate on how the stars detest the media and yet use them as per their convenience. Film journalism on its part needs to iron out their follies. The fact is there are a huge number of people who follow film based content and there's no harm if there's more transparency, accuracy, emphasis-on-facts and 'distance'.
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