Deepshikha Nagpal, TV and Film Actor and Director

Deepshikha Nagpal, TV and Film Actor and Director

Asit Dixit and Umesh Patil |
February 19, 2019

“Aap mujhe ek cheej bhejoge … content. Usko content ko apne hissab se appreciate karoongi that is (You will have to send me one thing … [yes] content. I will appreciate it in my own way. That is …).”

Her portrayal of a tormented wife and daughter of Kilvish, the king of darkness, in one of the longest running TV series Shaktiman on Doordarshan brought her nationwide recognition. In a more than two-decade-long career, Deepshikha has acted in many films, including regional, and TV serials. She has more than 25,000 followers on Twitter, more than 68,000 on Facebook and more than 2.60 lakh on Instagram, which shows her popularity on social media as a celebrity. We met Deepshikha in her friend’s office at Oshiwara, Mumbai.

Here our client is not the BJP but the AAP. You will have to appreciate the good work done by the AAP government in the past four years in Delhi, we tell her. Deepshikha says, “Aap mujhe ek cheej bhejoge … content. Usko apne hissab se appreciate karoongi that is (You will have to send me one thing … [yes] content. I will appreciate it in my own way. That is …).” Yes, we tell her. We will provide you the content, we say, which you will have to post on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram redoing it in your own words. You need to post three-four messages every month. She understands that doing so every day would be counterproductive, as she opines. “Haan toh wo roz karo to lagata hai … Wo ek random karo toh lagta bhi hai ki iski tareef kar rahe hain (If you do that daily, people will not take it seriously … when you do it in a random manner, it is taken as real appreciation).”

Agreeing, we say, that is why we are roping in as many celebs as possible, so that such random messages become a regular feature. Deepshikha says, “Haan main samajh gai (Yes, I got it).” You have to do it in a subtle way so that it does not become obvious that you have been hired by AAP for this promotion. “Unko meri cheej wo nahi hogi … haan fir kya hota hai main kuch aur bhi boloongi they will not believe mepoora wo humara trust level khatam ho jaygea (They will not … yes [believe in] what I would say. Then what happens is if I say something else, they will not believe me … our trust level with them [followers] will be lost),” she says in agreement.

What is your expectation, we ask her. “Aap log kya chahte hain ki main kitna tweet karoon (How many tweets you want me to do),” she seeks to know, in turn. Maximum five, we say. Quick on numbers, she tells us, “On Twitter, on Insta and on Facebook everywhereteenon jageh 15 ho gaye na (it is 15 for all three platforms).” Yes, we say. Now, telling her this promotion will begin from the first week of July we ask what her expectation is for all 15 messages. “I am thinking of 5 lakh a month,” she says. You mean Rs. 5 lakh per message, we ask. She corrects us while saying, “Five, five, five.” We get it correct now. She is quoting Rs. 5 lakh for each platform. So, it comes to Rs. 15 lakh for all three platforms, we ask. “Haan (Yes),” says the actor.

Coming to the payment of her fee, we ask her in what mode she would prefer her fee to be paid.  “I am okay with cash, I am okay with cheque. Cheque aata hai toh wahi fir saare jhanjhat (But if I am paid by cheque then there are all those hassles),” she says. Understanding the problems related to payments in white, we ask her if she is comfortable with cash. “Yeah, yeah,” replies Deepshikha promptly. We then explain it to her that we will pay 90 percent of her fee in cash and the rest 10 percent in white. “Chalega (That will do),” she tells us with glee.

Some moments later Deepshikha talks of her reach on social media when we tell her in a way we would be using her personal identity to further a political agenda. “I know I understand log dekhte hain mera roz check karte hain agar pachaas hazaar-lakh ke oopar hain toh pachaas hazaar log toh karte hee karte hain. Aaj main ek post daalti hoon dus hazaar like ek second mein aa jaate hain inside of 30–40 toh at least ek reach ho jaati hai toh I know (I know, I understand it well. People check my status every day. If there number is about a lakh, at least 50,000 people do that. Suppose, I post something today, there are 10,000 likes in a second, which goes inside of some 30,000–40,000. So, there is a reach, and I know that).” Though she is exaggerating the numbers, we have no doubt about the reach a celeb can have on social media.

Hope everything is clear to you, we ask her now. “Humm,” says the actor nodding. After swearing her to secrecy, we advise her to write against opppositon parties picking up genuine topics. Replies Deepshikha nodding, “Humm.” Is there any problem if we pay you in cash, we again ask. “Nahi mujhe koi diqqat nahi hai (No, I have no problem),” she assures us.

Some moments after the interview was over, Deepshikha messaged us to seek her fee to be enhanced from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 2.50 lakh. Barely a few moments later, we receive a WhatsApp call from the actor. She was not satisfied with the remuneration she herself had quoted. So, when we tell her we have hiked her fee to Rs. 3 lakh per message, Deepshikha demands Rs. 5 lakh per message. Getting into some bargaining mode, we say we will pay her Rs. 3 lakh per message. Is it fine with you, we ask. “But I mean why not on my side,” the actor asks, apparently not satisfied. Do you want Rs. 5 lakh, we ask. “Haan (Yes),” she says. So, we agree to pay her Rs. 5 lakh per message. How much it was decided to pay in white, we ask. “Ten percent khali white kee baat kee thi (He had told me only 10 percent will be paid in white),” she informs us. You mean 90 percent will be paid in cash, we say. Replies Deepshikha, “Yeah.” How will that cash be delivered to you? We ask. Telling us cash could be delivered at Bombay itself, she explains how it could be delivered. “Nahi jaise agar jaise koi mujhe payment karni hai samajho cash kee toh main bol doongi unko ki wahan pe usko pahuncha de wo pick up kar lenge jo bhi kar lenge baaki mere paas aa jayega koi issue nahi hai (No, suppose you have to deliver the cash to me, I will tell the person concerned whom to deliver it. The fellow will collect it from him and it will reach me … there is no issue),” says Deepshikha. What if we pay you cash in foreign denominations of dollars, pounds or euro, we ask. “But poora ab nahi le sakti na (But, I cannot accept the whole cash payment [in those denominations]),” she says. Then, how much can you take, we ask again. The actor says, “Kabhi-kabhar kyonki main toh travel karti rehti hoon (Sometime, I keep on traveling [abroad]).” Then you can use the money there if we pay you in foreign currency, we say. Hope you understand it is really problematic for us to move so much cash while travelling, we say. It would be of great help if you have an account abroad. That will be safer for us. “Nahi account kee baat nahi hai … nahi main wo manage kar loongi jab Sandeep personally ayenge toh main bataa doongi phone pe nahi baat karein toh accha hai (No, it is not about having an account … no, I will manage that. When Sandeep [the reporter’s alias] comes to me personally I will tell him. Better if we don’t talk about it over phone).”            

We had e-mailed a questionnaire to all these celebs to know what they would like to say on what we have revealed in our story. Click here to read the answers.

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