The Bizarre Trend Of Celebrities ‘Phishing’ Fans To Promote Projects

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Devoleena Bhattacharjee engagement prank has left fans facepalming. The television actor, together with colleague Vishal Singh, shared proposal and engagement photos on social media Wednesday that led netizens to believe the two were getting married. A day after this surprise announcement, the actor duo came live on Instagram to reveal it was all just a prank! They will appear in a romantic music video, for whose promotion they pulled this stunt.

One doesn’t know really what to make of such antics which, believe it or not, are becoming pretty regular in showbiz it would seem. Going by just how many tongues such ‘pranks’ get talking, it would be safe to assume this celebrity phishing works to some degree in making noise about upcoming projects – films or music videos.

But how sustainable really is this modus operandi? I’m afraid not very.

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There are only so many times you can pull a gag successfully before people either get bored of it or catch onto the joke even before it has begun. Or worse still, get annoyed by it. Who would dare take that risk with the audience?

Singer and television personality Neha Kakkar pulled a similar fast one two years ago when, mere weeks after her marriage to Rohanpreet Singh, she flaunted a heavily pregnant belly. Of course, crass jokes abounded online with people shaming her mercilessly for getting pregnant before her wedding.

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But many were left scratching their heads at how exactly she managed to conceal it so flawlessly. Her wedding videos had been all over the internet and yet no eagle-eyed, Kakkar-crazed fan was able to spot any signs she was pregnant? Moreover, what was it with the couple sharing the pregnancy photo with an odd sappy hashtag, ‘khyaal rakhya kar‘?

Something seemed off from the outset. Sure enough, they soon pulled the curtain on this prank of theirs, revealing it was all prep for a music video release titled, but of course, after that odd tag.

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If Kakkar and Singh thought they did something smart, the audience broke that illusion for them. In return for their prank, the newly married couple was trolled double. Likewise for Bhattacharjee and Singh. Not just desis, global stars like Justin Bieber and Tori Spelling have been given their fair share of earfuls for giving false leads with pregnancy announcements.

But in a celebrity-worshipping country like India, especially, one should know better than to mess with the devotees’ emotions. Just how many hearts – those that actually cared – would have sunk at the news of these television actors’ ‘fake’ engagement!

It takes special dedication to be so deeply invested in your work that you willingly open your arms to trolls and others feeling slighted in a bid to promote a project. Or to sacrifice goodwill that you may have gained over years at the altar of publicity. Well, it’s probably true what they say- all press is good press, even the bad bits.

Views expressed are the author’s own.