The Architect Of Indian Paparazzi

Recently on his birthday, all the major Instagram photographers like viral Bhayani, Manav Mangalani, Yogen shah and Varinder Chawla collectively thanked Prabhat Choudhary, the founder of India’s biggest entertainment public relations agency Spice PR for his contribution in building Indian paparazzi on social media. Prabhat is perhaps the most sought-after media strategist in Indian entertainment, and top celebrities of Bollywood and Tollywood are his clients. Here is the edited excerpt from his interview with Outlook Business  

How did you foresee the growth of Indian paparazzi? Why do all the paparazzi media feel so much of gratitude towards you?

Any change in socio cultural space, primarily, happens through technology. Social media, and Instagram in particular, are fed to fulfil the insatiable voyeuristic appetite of users with celebrity life. One was able to see that the “instant” nature of the social media would revolutionise the celebrity information sphere. Pictures did not need to wait for the next day edition of the newspapers. Also, the video content would add another dimension to the whole thing. Instagram practically killed page 3 syndrome.

Six years back we did recognise this opportunity. There is a huge curiosity about day today information regarding celebrities and these photographers had been tracking that since sometime. Earlier, they used to give those pictures and information to newspapers. Now, they have the chance of organising the information and putting it on their own social media channels. We helped them do that initially. That changed the game in entertainment media. Today, these five-six big handles of photographers are primary source of celebrity information.

What is the significance of Indian paparazzi? Why is it so effective?

Indian paparazzi is not like its western counterpart. Paparazzi in West was more intrusive in nature, catering mainly to the tabloids of nineties and 2000s. In India, paparazzi is way more friendly and essentially a product of social media. It was there before as part of page 3 culture, but the real boom has happened after the advent of social media.

There are few reasons why they are so effective. First, Indian celebrities are all living in a concentrated area. They live, exercise, chill and socialise in same geographical area. So, it’s easy to spot and click pictures. Secondly, the whole aspect of what they wear to where they eat and where they go to exercise has immense lifestyle quotient built in. For an upwardly mobile society like India these are subliminal goals being given. Third and perhaps the most obvious reason is that we all are getting addicted to Instagram.

Has the whole paparazzi moment halo elevated the status of photographers?

Oh yes! It has definitely helped them. It has helped them financially and in emerging as individual brands. It is not an easy job to be running with your camera for a picture and video. Finally, we have foot soldiers of media being handsomely rewarded for the number of years they have put in this job.

What is the next level?

Innovative paparazzi. I would not like to say much but social space needs to keep innovating. Reels and more reels will keep coming but within that there will be innovations.