He almost became the first Indian author to become the face of an Indian fashion week. But, Chetan Bhagat’s alleged demand of Rs 5 lakh per day caused talks between him and the organisers of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) to fall apart.
In 2009, actress Gul Panag became the first-ever celebrity Twitter face of a fashion week, when she reported live on the micro blogging website from the front row, last season. For this year’s WIFW, which starts in the Capital on March 24, the organisers approached Bhagat, who has 62,822 followers on Twitter.
Talking to HT City about his alleged high price demand, Bhagat said, “Why shouldn’t I demand money? I have left my job... my books are cheap... why not? However, I had not quoted a particular amount.”
Bhagat adds, “I had no problems in being the celebrity Twitter face, I can sit all day and watch pretty women and my wife can’t say anything. But, I was not contacted properly. They contacted me through middlemen, who were not even sure what they wanted me to do.”
A source at Wills Lifestyle said, “We have a problem with Chetan Bhagat saying that he was approached through middlemen. We have an agency that approaches all stars for us, even if they are as big as Kareena and Katrina. We are yet to decide on a face for the event and cannot comment further.”
Even as the controversy over Bhagat brews, FDCI president Sunil Sethi says Gul Panag is his still his favourite. “It was a decision by Wills (to replace Gul). But. just like models change every year, and new designers come, we need a new face. Gul did a fantastic job.
However, Panag, who currently has 51,442 followers on Twitter, is not perturbed. “Firstly, it is entirely their prerogative, secondly I don’t enjoy repeating myself.”
Why shouldn’t I demand money? I have left my job... my books are cheap... why not? I have to make money. However, I had not quoted a particular amount. And I suggested that we give half the money to charity.
—Author Chetan Bhagat