Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ahhh the reassurance of recognition ! As I drive home to Prateeksha Big B

Ahhh the reassurance of recognition ! As I drive home to Prateeksha Big B

Prateeksha , Mumbai Nov 9, 2010 Tue 11 : 17 PM

Ahhh .. the reassurance of recognition ! As I drive home to Prateeksha, cars and bikes ride by. Young enthusiastic urban delights waving, saluting, getting down from their mode of transport and running across to mine for an autograph. Jesus ! I must be doing something right, even at this late age and time. I point them on towards the house. Security getting edgy. They had to deal with an incident just day before. getting out of Jalsa and again driving away a man suddenly thrusts himself in front of the car to stop it. Security briefings have told us never to stop in such situations. I obey them and neatly try to drive by gentleman. He jumps on the car, I slow down, he opens the door and pushes himself in trying to grab me. Security that was just getting into their vehicle behind are a tad slow to respond, but they come up and grab the guy. I drive off as is the recommended brief. Gentleman has been reported to the police station just down the road. He is inebriated, gives an address and is detained till particulars are discovered or confirmed. The address is a fake. Police investigate further, and that is all I have knowledge of. Is it just another enthusiastic fan or something more. We shall never know, and we shall never be able to determine what or how we deal with such situations. Dangerous to allow an incident like this to occur if the gentleman meant to harm. Dangerous to discover that said gentleman was merely desperately in need of a hand shake with his hero. Who knows !!

At the end of the day though, there is but one surety .. a possible fan has been lost ! And then you wonder and think back to John Lennon shot by an over obsessed fan, a Monica Seles attacked with knife in the middle of a tennis tournament by obsessed Steffi Graff follower … and the world is full of so many similar incidents. You wonder then what is the best solution, or stance to take against such behavior. Nothing really … nothing that can be of any relevance at least. I brief my staff often on such issues. It is not possible to personally attend to each individual that wishes to make contact with you and so, what is it that can be best devised for such probabilities. You train the staff to be your representatives, to take and meet those that wish to make contact and guide them into how they need to behave or interact with the outsider. The staff has an onerous task. They need to protect as well as interact as the person they represent equally. The fan or the visitor that has through perhaps great effort come along to a region of great proximity of his or her idol, now wishes to be entertained as a serious follower. Their emotions are correct and cannot be faulted. But when they realize that the desired meet is not going to be possible the least they expect is that they be treated with some respect and dignity by the staff. And this is where things go horribly wrong. Staff having worked with star or celebrity for long, in time begin to acquire, what in their estimate are the attitudinal attributes of their master. Wrong ! master is no where like this. But … and this is a big but … because the visitor has never had opportunity to personally interact with the personality, and because the closest he has got to such situation is the meeting with a member of the staff of the celebrity, he thinks and assumes that because the staff has been close to celeb, staff must have acquired similar attributes of the master. So … when staff is abrupt, rude or badly behaved the assumption is that the master is similar in temperament. Visitor gets maltreated and goes away with a huge number of minus points against his idol’s name !! Idol has no inkling of this because staff has never dared to report the matter for fear of having perhaps not done something right, and the matter rests … until disgruntled fan shall encounter master at another public forum and let off steam, which unfortunately for the star is just not comprehensible. And now with so many channels available to the fan to make cyber contact, all the venom spills through … so abuse and vicious attacks follow, gladly and happily lapped up by media for wider publication and comment !!

Moral of the story …

Teach your staff that they are not you in the first instance. Teach them that when they represent you they must bear in mind that the visitor is indeed interacting with the star they have come to meet. Whatever the staff delivers is what they believe the star has delivered. And that is what needs to be monitored and controlled every moment.

So this young man who was merely perhaps wanting to hold my hand, by opening the door of my car and jumping in, now finds himself in a tight situation. What then would be the best strategy to resolve such an occurrence.

I think humility is a great attribute. Irrespective of who you are, humility never fails. Patience and tolerance would help greatly and with a bit of consideration.

Having said that, there are several incidents of the reverse. Or let me put it this way. Incidents of deliberate reverse. Not comprehending ?? Let me explain. Its a very simple and oft used strategy. You be the aggressive one, I shall be the appeaser ! If the agression works there will be no need for the appeasement. And if it does not work, the appeasement is always around. Now here is the other side. Many a time the opposite is used. Appeasement in the first stage, aggression in the second ! The entire exercise being that the job needs to be done. The celebrity has to be protected and the visitor, either way, must go back with a good feel.

Most visitors have constant complaints about the way they were maltreated by staff. Point taken and changes made to correct them. But what if its a part of a deliberate ploy. Get rude and aggressive first, wait for visitor to get upset, in comes star admonishes staff in front of the visitor, visitor raises the bar of star by miles at this corrective measure taken by his favorite, and star come out looking really good !! Which really was the purpose of the exercise in the first place !!

So what do you think … do I have the right qualities to be able to write up a commendable screen play or script ??

Careful how you reply. I just gave you an example of what I was capable of above !! Ha ha ha ha !! and Ha ha ha ha !

Get to bed now my lovelies ..’tis very late and tomorrow its back to KBC !!

Love and more to all ….

Amitabh Bachchan

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