It's destination Gujarat for Bollywood celebs during this year's Navratri. From superstar Priyanka Chopra to item girl Sambhavna Seth, celebrities are making the best out of the Navratri season, be it extolling their Gujarati fans to watch their next film or just making a quick buck.
The Navratris celebrated across the state, have over the years transformed into nine days of glitzy revelry with Bollywood and TV stars providing the necessary dose of glamour.
While celebrities take the opportunity to interact with their fan base while ringing in some easy cash, organisers bank on the "celebrity factor" to pull in the crowd, who are spoilt for choice with events mushrooming all over town.
Singer-turned actor Himesh Reshammiya who was in Rajkot for the Akila-Pioneer Navratri celebrations took the opportunity to promote his upcoming film 'Radio', telling the crowd, "I have come to Rajkot for the first time, but I love my fans here. My film 'Radio' is releasing on December 3. Please do go watch it."
While the singer was lapping up the attention of the cheering crowd, the organisers were not complaining as a good 10,000 people had turned to catch a glimpse of the star, doubling the ticket sales.
"It is not so much about profit as about brand value because the rates for the celebrity performances are the same as regular nights. There are so many events all over, ours will now be known as the one where Himesh performed, it pays off well and we also get media coverage because of it," said Satish Ahuja, one of the organisers.
Bollywood's latest 'It' girl Priyanka Chopra too was in Ahmedabad with co-star Hurman Baweja and director Ashutosh Gowariker to promote her upcoming film 'What's Your Rashee''.
But it is not just Bollywood A-listers who are getting the red carpet treatment this Navratri, TV stars like Parul Chauhan of 'Bidaai', and Hina Khan of 'Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai' the entire cast of 'Tarak Mehta Ka Ulta Chashma' are also here.
"I love the Navratri season, it is so full of life and colour. I was in Surat and I enjoyed the experience thoroughly and I also have been invited to some overseas events. It is great to meet fans from all over the world during the festivals," said former 'Bigg Boss' contestant Monica Bedi, whose other claim to fame includes the infamous connection to underworld don Abu Salem.
But how much does the glamour cost'
"It depends on the celebrity and the fan following. TV and reality show stars get anything from 50,000 to 1.5 lakh per appearance, depending on the TRP's of their shows and if you want a Bollywood star it costs a lot more. But if you have good connections and they have a film to promote, it can happen for free," said Himanshu Shah, MD of SOI event management group.
Then there are home grown entertainers like Falguni Pathak, Preeti-Pinky and Devang Patel.
While Falguni has moved on to the more lucrative market of Mumbai, local artistes continue to rake in the moolah.
In Ahmedabad, event planner Jaideep Mehta is managing a magnum opus. He has spent a whopping Rs 35 lakh on the event at the YMCA grounds. But he is not worried about losses, "Even before the start of Navratri we should break even with sponsorships."
Mehta is banking on 'Dandiya King' Devang Patel, who reportedly charges a whopping Rs 2.5 lakh for a three-hour show, to bring in the crowds. PTI