Wednesday, August 26, 2009

‘Brand SRK’ just got bigger! (in case, you haven’t noticed!!)

Shah Rukh Khan has always maintained that he has never faced discrimination for being a Muslim. In fact, about two weeks ago, when Emran Hashmi went public with a complaint (which he strangely retracted a few days later) about discrimination by a housing society, citing communal reasons, Shah Rukh gave a statement to the media, saying that in the past 44 years, he had never felt any such discrimination. He also said that the Emran Hashmi case was a one-off incident and should not be seen with communal eyes.

Khant do that!

When SRK was frisked and detained for more than an hour by airport officials in US this week, every media carried his story. “They (the officials) said my name was common to some name that popped up on the computer," SRK stated, apparently referring to his Muslim name.

Following this, there have been debates over the possibility of him trying to milk this episode for the promotion of his forthcoming film ‘My Name Is Khan’ directed by his buddy Karan Johar and reportedly based on a similar subject of community discrimination.

‘OSO’ revisited !?!

Even as SRK vehemently denies the charge, there has been widespread speculation, especially among the youth on the internet that the Badshah of Bollywood is leaving no stone unturned to play up this episode for the sake of free international mileage worth crores that his film is receiving. People all over Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, as well as a lot of bloggers and websites, have been wondering aloud whether King Khan is flashing the community card to boost the pre-release hype for his movie.

PR is an intriguing mind game in a media minefield

I remember, when Shilpa Shetty faced racial discrimination in Celebrity Big Brother, the whole of UK rallied behind her.

I was her publicist then and was overwhelmed with UK journalists calling me in Mumbai just to ascertain facts, while Shilpa faced Jade Goody’s onslaughts in the CBB House. But when SRK has alleged community discrimination, even many Indians are calling it a ‘publicity stunt’. Not fair.

There is no such thing as bad publicity!

Let’s not forget that we are living in a market-driven world obsessed with spice and sensationalism and ruled by TRPs and tabloid journalism. If the public can lap up all the daily gossip with a mischievous smile, why are they questioning Shah Rukh’s genuine case so much?

SRK does not need gimmicks

The episode angered and troubled him, so he spoke to the media. Big deal! He’s a public figure, and a huge one at that. He has all the right to voice his opinion. What’s more! Shah Rukh Khan does not need gimmicks. Yes, I agree that with this community discrimination controversy, ‘Brand SRK’ has just got bigger the world over, but that’s by default. Though this event would undoubtedly prop up the hype for ‘My Name Is Khan’, it couldn’t be intentional. And even if it is, what’s the harm? At least, the incident exposes the continuous discrimination towards the Muslim community in America and gives hope to so many people around the world, seeking a life of respect. If people are hell bent on terming it a stunt; then they should call it a stunt with a cause!

PR is a perception game

Shah Rukh has raised a voice which so many throughout the world are identifying with. It’s only a matter of time (or maybe, with the right kind of PR) when his voice will be heard in the right perspective.

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