This year, dandiya mandals have roped in movie and TV stars to make appearances at their events. Their presence attracts large crowds and boosts ticket sales, while giving the actors a chance to promote upcoming movies.
Leading the group this time around is John Abraham, who has been spotted almost everywhere, from dandiya mandals to TV shows like Amitabh Bachchan’s Kaun Banega Crorepati Season 4, promoting his film Jhootha Hi Sahi.
Says Devendra Joshi, president of Sankalp, which is one of the biggest dandiya gatherings in the city, “Film and TV stars come to promote their movies or shows. Most people in India are star-struck, so getting celluloid glamour does help our shows.” John is scheduled to appear at Kora Kendra, Borivli, in the next two days.
His Jhootha Hi Sahi co-stars may also appear along with him. Bipasha Basu, John’s girlfriend, along with co-stars Ajay Devgn and Akshaye Khanna, will show up at several suburban dandiyas over the next two days. Confirms Ganesh Naidu of Kora Kendra, “Ajay Devgn, Bipasha Basu and Akshaye Khanna who are promoting Aakrosh will visit our mandal either on Friday or Saturday.”
The cast of Tarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chasma is scheduled to appear at Beaters in Kandivli. Actors from Pavitra Rishta will make appearances at Wadhwa in Ghatkhopar, while stars from the TV show Uttaran will be at Vashi Navratri Mandal.
Apparently, some of the star appearances come at a price. Many have travelled as far as Gujarat just for a two-hour appearance. Says Nayna Desai of the Roman Group, which has organised dandiya at the Tulip Star in Juhu, “We have some stars appearing at our event, but none of them have charged us, because we are doing it for charity. But when negotiating, we came across several people who wanted to be paid. In fact, some of their rates were doubled from last year.”
The prices start from Rs 50,000, but almost every time, these figures are quoted by a star’s manager. Adds Nayna, “Star managers have, on previous occasion, quoted Rs 50,000 to Rs 25 lakh for an appearance. It’s possible that the stars themselves are not aware of it.”