Jackie Shroff, Bollywood Actor

Jackie Shroff, Bollywood Actor

Asit Dixit and Umesh Patil |
February 19, 2019

Wo game hota hai apna-apna yaar … apne ko kya hai apna kaam hai hum acchi baatein hum faila rahe hain saath mein dhan bhi de rahe hain toh oopar waale se faqir kya maangta hai (That is the rule of the game, friend … I have no problem. What I am supposed to do is spread good words and you would be paying me money in return ... What more a faqir can ask for from the God).

Our next port of call was Hotel Taj Lands End in Bandra where we met Jackie Shroff, born Jai Kishan Kakubhai, who does not need any introduction. In his almost four-decade-long career, the model-turned actor has acted in more than 200 films in 10 languages, apart from Hindi, and has many awards to his credit. Although he is seldom seen on silver screen these days, the 60-year-old actor has lost none of his charm and populatirty which is quite visible on social media. He has more than 2.25 lakh followers on Twitter, about 3.50 lakh on Facebook and about 3.27 lakh on Instagram. Present in this meeting also was his manager Shetty.

After the pleasantries are over, we get down to brass tacks. We tell the actor we want him to do digital promotion of the BJP in the run-up to elections in 2019, through his Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts. Jackie does not take much time to understand what we expect from him. He says, “Social messages samajh gayaa main (Social messages, I got it).” What you have to do is promote all good works done by the BJP government at the centre, for example, schemes such as Ujjwala. “Samajh gayaa main aapki baat … toh unki baatein Instagram pe baat, YouTube pe baat (I got it what you say … so I will have talk about them on Instagram, on YouTube),” he says. But you have to do it in a discreet manner, we tell him, as it is a “hidden agenda”.  He understands such nuances of the assignment as to say, “Wo game hota hai apna-apna yaar … apne ko kya hai apna kaam hai hum acchi baatein hum faila rahe hain saath mein dhan bhi de rahe hain toh oopar waale se faqir kya maangta hai (That is the rule of the game, friend … I have no problem. What I am supposed to do is spread good words and you would be paying me money in return ... What more a faqir can ask for from the God).”

But it is also important to defend the BJP government on certain issues from time to time, we tell him. When we explain him how he can do that, he asks, “Meri taraf aise humaare paanch-chhe bacche hain aur jo baat karte hain Twitter pe, YouTube pe aise baat karne waale aur koi liye hain ki nahi … jaise Akshay hai mera Akshay toh saath hee mein hai (I have five-six kids who are active on Twitter, YouTube. Have you roped them in? For example, there is Akshay [Kumar], Akshay is with me).” While appreciating his proposal, we tell him that roping in celebrities like Akshay Kumar, Anupam Kher and Paresh Rawal, who are already associated with the BJP, would rather boomerang on us. Since you have no political affiliation, what you would say would carry a lot of value for the general public. Agreeing, he seeks to know, “Poora bataa de ye kab se kab tak hai ye (Tell me when it is going to be started and how long it will go).”

It will start from September and would last nine months, till 2019 elections, we inform him. “Nau mahine mein toh humara baccha paida ho jaata hai ek, theek hai (We humans produce a child in nine months … it is okay),” he says jocularly. Yes, you have to create a congenial atmosphere for the BJP during these nine months, we say. Replies Shroff, “Theek hai (It is okay).” It is understood that we would provide him the content on various issues. “Piyush bahut sambhal ke karnaa padega (Piyush this needs to be handled carefully),” he tells us.

Agreeing, we tell him he will have to maintain secrecy of this deal. Shroff understands it well. He says, “Secrecy toh hai hee, wo toh main samajhataa hoon (Secrecy is essential, I understand that).” This is what would be the main clause of our agreement with you, we say. In the moment of bonhomie that has already set in between us, Shroff reveals “Mere yara hain ye mere Olympian shooter … he is my buddies yaar (That Olympian shooter is my friend … he is [one of] my buddies).” He is talking of a BJP minister at the Centre. When we ask him if everything with regard to the assignment is clear to him, striking a note of caution Shroff says, “Mere ko samajh mein aa gaya lekin aapko mere liye ye kya scene aisa hai ki main ek non-communal aadmi hoon mere ko lafda nahi chahiye … mere ko zindagi mein lafda main toh chahta hoon ki aise matlab paise kee vajeh se toh main lafde karoonch hee nahi … kyon bhai … too mujhe sattu laake dede main khush hoon (I got it. But you will have to … the scene is I am a non-communal man, so I don’t want any controversy … I don’t want to get into any controversy in life for money … you can just entertain me with sattu only, I will be happy).”

As he explains us how he would write messages on Swach Bharat Abhiyan, we tell him he does not need to post messages every day. He will have to make only three-four messages a month. Shroff assures us, saying, “Main samajh gayaa dada main samajh gayaa jab aisa kuch aisa mudda ayaa aur aisa laga ki uske baare mein bolna hai kis tareh se boli jaayegi … chaudah bacche humaare hain in chaudah bacchon mein se kaun kya bol sakta hai waisa mujheich handle karna hai (I got it Dada, I got it. When there is an issue and I think I have to speak on it, but how should we talk about it… you have 14 kids doing that. Now of these 14 kids who can talk what, it is you who will have to handle this).” Assuring him, we say we will provide the content for the messages and he will have to do it in his own style. Now, tell us if the whole funda is clear to you, we ask. “I understand whole thing, wo mere bheje meni baith gayaa hai aur mujhe ye fiqar nahi hai ki chaudah jan aur hain toh agar ye nahi toh too sahi too nahi toh koi aur sahi khel rahe hain … koi na koi toh khel raha hai uss baat ko (I understand [the] whole thing. I got it and now I don’t have any worries when there are 14 people working on this promotion. If one is not able to raise the issue, the other would do so … somebody or the other would be playing out on that issue),” Shroff assures us.

We now ask him what his expectation is. He tells us he never quotes his price upfront. His manager suggests us he would discuss it with the agent. Then, talking in hints, Shroff says, “Kya Piyush aisi baat karte hoaur tizori ka darwaza kolo yaar … main mere dil ka darwaaza khol rahaa hoon too tizori ka darwaza kholne ke liye pooch raha hai mere ko (Come on Piyush don’t talk like this … buddy, open the door of your safe … I am opening the door of my heart and you are asking me to open the door of your safe).” Yes, this is exactly we will do for you, we assure him. The actor in the same breath puts it philosophically, “Too samajh raha hai ye Jaggu hai mera bas khatm karo na kyaa le jaoonga khali haath … ye jo beech mein khel rahe hain khel rahe hain (You think this man is Jaggu [Dada], so finish it. What will I take after all [in my last journey] … my hands will be empty … I am playing the game in between).”

So, we decide to take it up with his manager. Agreeing, he again puts it philosophically, “Aur mujhe sambhaal kar khelna meri umr ko sambhal ke khelna (And play the game carefully, play the game considering my age).” Leaving him behind, we come out of the hotel to discuss the fee with Shetty. We agreed to pay the fee that Shetty said he was asked to quote by Jaggu Dada. We finally ask Shetty in which mode would be better for them to accept the payment. Well, they are comfortable accepting as much as 80 percent in cash. Listen to what Shetty is suggesting, “Kum se kum 20 percent account mein show karnaa padega 20 percent … haan 20 percent aana padega … kyonki kal agar kuch hua … 20 percent aapko account mein show karna padega GST ke saath (At least 20 percent of the payment will have to show in his account … 20 per cent … yes 20 per cent should be received [through account] because if tomorrow something happens … you have to show 20 per cent in the account along with GST).” Agreeing, we ask if his boss would accept 80 per cent of his fee in cash, Shetty replies, “Eighty percent cash chal jayega (Eighty percent cash will do).” With this agreement, the deal is sealed.

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 below to read the answers. Reply of Bollywood Celebrities.

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