As the Shah Rukh Khan controversy about his mistreatment at a US airport rages on, it has opened up new perspectives. One of them is of PR guru Dale Bhagwagar who has handled the media relations for some of the biggest names in Bollywood, including controversy queens like Priyanka Chopra, Shilpa Shetty and Sherlyn Chopra.
The public relations expert recalls, “When Shilpa Shetty faced racial discrimination, 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 Celebrity Big Brother house.”
But when Shah Rukh Khan has alleged community discrimination at a US airport, even many Indians are calling it a ‘publicity stunt’ for the promotion of Karan Johar’s ‘My Name Is Khan’. “Not fair,” says the PR man. Would King Khan need a publicist like Dale to get things moving in his favour and make people understand that this is not a stunt?
Though the PR specialist feels it’s doubtful this controversy is a stunt, he points out, “at least, the incident exposes the continuous discrimination towards Muslims in America and gives hope to so many people around the world, seeking a life of respect. If you still want to call it a stunt; then call it a stunt with a cause!”
Indeed, Shah Rukh Khan 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 it will be heard in the right ‘perspective’.