Film and television stars are known to rake in the moolah with advertisements, stage shows, ribbon-cuttings, and by making appearances at private functions, but attending garba and dandiya nights also seems to have become a lucrative option for many. With the festival of Navratri around the corner, many TV stars have locked deals to make appearances at various venues across Mumbai and other Indian cities, where the festival is celebrated with gusto.
The names that are most in demand are Gurmeet Choudhary, Aamir Ali, Sanjeeda Sheikh, Sara Khan, Shakti Arora, Divyanka Tripathi, Gauahar Khan, Rashami Desai, Hina Khan, Disha Vakani, Dilip Joshi, Pratyusha Banerjee and Krushna Abhishek, among others. Stars are brought in not only to add glamour to these celebrations, but also to help organisers sell more tickets.
Most popular stars get paid anywhere between `5 to `8 lakh per appearance, while one-show-old actors take home `2 to `5 lakh. Top TV stars, like Ram Kapoor, Ronit Roy and Sakshi Tanwar, could easily command a pay cheque worth `8 to `10 lakh. The visit typically lasts for 30 minutes, where the star makes an appearance at the venue, poses with fans for photos, interacts with the crowd, and even dances a bit on the stage.
This year, Anita Hassanandani of Yeh Hai Mohabattein will be heading to Surat (Gujarat), while her co-star, Divyanka, will go to Surat and Raipur (Chhattisgarh). Sara, who is busy shooting for her show, Bhaghyalakshmi, will make multiple appearances at venues across Mumbai and other cities.
Nia Sharma, who stars in the daily soap, Jamai Raja, has got calls from organisers in India and abroad. She says, “I got a few offers to appear at shows abroad, but things didn’t work out. I haven’t attended a garba night, and would love to do so some day.” Gauahar, on the other hand, is crossing borders. “I am going to Dubai and Abu Dhabi for Navratri,” she says.
It isn’t just the ladies who are in demand. The lead actor of Meri Aashiqui Tumse Hi, Shakti, will be spotted at venues in Delhi, Guwahati (Assam) and Kolkata (West Bengal). And Aamir, who is busy with Dilli Wali Thakur Gurls, will be going to two cities. He says, “I’m travelling to Hyderabad (Telangana) and Ahmedabad (Gujarat) as of now. Going abroad is difficult to manage while doing a daily soap.” Incidentally, some popular stars, like Hiten Tejwani, Shabbir Ahluwalia and Rajeev Khandelwal, have apparently turned down offers to make appearances at Navratri events this year.