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Up, close and personnel

Celeb bodyguards share tales with Neha Sharma & Rahul Sabharwal about their experiences of guarding the irresistible A-listers of Bollywood.

india Updated: Jan 26, 2009 17:26 IST

With the Maharashtra labour department issuing notices to Salman Khan and Hrithik Roshan asking them whether they followed the law while hiring security guards, seems like it’s tough times ahead for those looking to be the men who walk beside celebrities. But those who have been there, done that and are still doing it, have tales to tell about their experiences of guarding A-listers everyone wants to get their hands on.

Sanjay Mishra has been escorting celebs for three years now, most often John Abraham and Mallika Sherawat. “John is cool,” he says. “Ekdum chust aadmi hai. Hardly asks us to stay close to him. And although many girls run after him, he never runs away.” Madame M is less pleasing. “Mallika mein to bahut akad hai, pata nahi kis baat ki,” says Mishra. “She calls us at 12, comes out of her house at 1 and then doesn't speak a word. She thinks too much of herself.”

AK Singh, who is a regular with celebs on their visit to the Capital, has something to say about almost every Bollywood bigwig. “I remember escorting Aamir when he came to Delhi, around the time Rang De Basanti had released. The venue was shifted from DU to Gargi College at the last moment… girls ended up chasing after Aamir but he was very patient,” he recalls.

Starry airs? Na baba na
“Abhishek ke peeche bhi bahut ladkiya bhaagti hain,” adds AK Singh. Big B, he tells us, is rather reserved and “speaks only in conferences while addressing journalists”. His personal favourite seems to be SRK. “He’s very nice to everyone, shakes hands with all of us, says thank you.” And who’s the most talkative? “Priyanka Chopra… she loves to talk. Makes it a point to talk to the public and sign autographs.”

Manoj, another regular with celebs, says that contrary to what people usually think, most celebrities don’t have any starry airs. “The Bachchans are a great family,” says Manoj, “although it tests their patience when they are in a congested place… but that would be the case with anyone.”

He was happily surprised upon meeting Salman Khan. “People say he’s got too much attitude, but that’s a misconception. He’s a really friendly person.”

The guys need more...
Shailendra Rana of Shail security, who has been escorting celebs on their Delhi visits for 10 years now, says that the guys are always harder to take care of than the women. “The crowd is manageable when they see Aishwarya, Sushmita,
Bipasha or Kareena, but goes ballistic on seeing Amitabh and SRK,” he says. “In spite of [our] keeping the crowd at a distance, people try to surge forward and tear the [stars’] clothes.”

Rana’s favourite star is “sweet guy” Akshay Kumar. “He looks after us more than we look after him. Once I dropped something and he picked it up for me,” he says, evidently smitten with the actor. “The best part is the way girls look at us with envy,” says Rana. “We hear them say, ‘Arrey, yeh Abhishek ke saath chalta hai, kitna lucky hai.’”

First Published: Jan 26, 2009 17:10 IST