Meet the women managers of successful Bollywood stars
Behind the onscreen appearances and the brouhaha, there goes a lot of moral support and crisis management. sunday mid-day speaks to a few spirited managers who are anchors to eminent celebrities
A manager is a celebrity’s best friend — privy to the highs and lows, the public meltdowns and secret sorrows, the joys and awards.
So, if stardom is a generous mash up of ambition, talent, diligence and luck, an entourage with business acumen contributes immensely to this as well.
It is pleasantly surprising that most of this formidable battalion of managers comprises mainly women these days. We spoke to some of these business managers who are responsible for a lot of behind-the-scenes work for their celebrity clients.
Anjali Atha - Hrithik Roshan
Being a manager requires the efficiency, charm, dignity and discipline of a super-woman. I could not have asked for a better equipped mind than Anjali’s to take care of my work needs – Hrithik Roshan
For starters: As a child, I was always passionate about designs, fabrics and patterns. I had inner passion for styling, which made me pursue fashion designing. The thrill of showbiz always captivated me, and over time, I realised that I enjoyed celebrity management, and it was the career that made me happy.
Driving force: The split-second decisions, going over the pros and cons, and choosing what is best for the actor are some of the great things about being a celebrity manager.
The perks: Apart from working with big brands, the travelling excites me.
Boss or friend: The best part of my job is being responsible for Hrithik Roshan. He’s a brilliant actor and a major superstar in country.
Mrinaal Chablani — Priyanka Chopra
A manager is someone who always has your back, and with Mrinaal, I have never had a moment of doubt about that for close to a decade. Girls... we run the world! – Priyanka Chopra
For starters: I always wanted to get into a profession where tomorrow is different from yesterday. After my graduation,
I got a job with a celebrity management firm and it’s been 12 years already.
Driving force: Everything or I wouldn’t be in it for so long! It’s been a long journey of learning and growing.
The perks: Where can I start? You get to meet people, travel the world, taste that adrenaline rush while closing a deal, and become a part of a successful movie. Also, managing Priyanka for almost 10 years has given me the opportunity to interact with several international markets.
Boss or friend: We spend so much time together that we have developed a kind of honesty. In fact, I’d say she’s more like family than just a friend.
Ritika Nagpal - Anushka Sharma
Ritika is a super-girl with strength, patience and commit-ment. I think she’s my biggest support in the profession, and I am grateful for her presence – Anushka Sharma
For starters: I was working as a producer/director for Bollywood shows for four years. I am an ardent Bollywood buff, so my boss at that time, Zulfia Waris, insisted that I try my hands at celebrity management. I trusted her words and that was it!
Driving force: The job requires commitment, patience and compassion. I am not sure whether men are good at multi-tasking. Having said that, I think they should be given an equal chance.
The perks: The challenge is the fun part. There’s never a dull moment. It gives you a chance to understand the business of a celebrity as much as it does to understand the person, which is an interesting mix.
Boss or friend: I am lucky to have someone like Anushka, who is not pretentious at all. In fact, she’s straightforward, caring
and very funny. She makes working fun!
Runali Bhagat - Arjun Kapoor and Rani Mukherjee
Focus and professionalism are attributes of a good manager. Runali knows my style and my way of working
– Arjun Kapoor
For starters: I was a fashion stylist for reality shows for nine years, and then I came at a crossroad where I had to make a choice between wanting to expand or diversify. I made a conscious choice and decided to explore something new.
Driving force: Frankly, I’m not here to make drastic changes. I am here to do my job with diligence and honesty.
The perks: It makes you develop great people management skills that in turn help your personal growth. You’re travelling while working... isn’t that cool?
Boss or friend: Well, with the amount of time you spend with your artiste, it’s imperative that you learn when to offer your support and when to step back.
Tejal Shetty - Parineeti Chopra
I call Tejal Tiger Shetty and for good reason! She is my bodyguard, protective mother, nutritionist, health inspector, travel agent — everything! As an actor, I am always conscious never to be unreasonable, throw tantrums, or make anyone’s life difficult. But God knows that Tejal ‘Tiger’ Shetty wouldn’t allow that anyway – Parineeti Chopra
For starters: I started off with the television industry, and I owe a lot to the hectic and challenging culture of television. When I got a call from YRF to be a celebrity manager, I knew I was ready for this new phase in my life. I’m glad I took this decision two years ago.
Driving force: If you are good with people, smart and logical, a quick thinker and have a general grasp of the entertainment industry, you have a shot at becoming a celebrity manager.
The perks: Each day is a new one, with a new set of learning and experiences, a new set of people that you meet and
Boss or friend: You end up being with your actor day in and day out. You spend so much time with them that eventually you do develop a pretty strong bond. Like Parineeti and I often crack up into bouts of laughter, and no one around us would have a clue about what’s going on.
Susan Rodrigues - Ranveer Singh
Susan is the lifeline and the backbone of my team. In a way, she has grown and evolved along with me. I’m lucky to have her managing my work– Ranveer Singh
For starters: Ialways wanted to be an anthropologist, but like they say, what was mean to be, finds its way. YrF was on the lookout for managers, I applied and got through, and here I am almost four years later, enjoying every bit of it.
Driving force: The challenges make for the fun part of it. It makes me very happy to say that women managers do an excellent job at multi-tasking.
The perks: Being everyone’s envy! Travelling for sure and exploring certain places that I would’ve never got a chance to see on my own!
Boss or friend: Given the kind of time you spend with the artist, they are bound to become a big part of your life. It’s a special bond that is hard to explain.
Shrutika Shetty - Aditi Rao Hydari
A girl always understands what another girl needs. You’re vulnerable just before you step out in front of the cameras, and you need that foresight and understanding that women are naturally endowed with – Aditi Rao Hydari
For starters: I got into this amazing and fun field at a very early age. Since I am a complete movie buff, to take a job as a celebrity manager was totally the ideal thing to do.
Driving force: The one thing that I’d like to change is that women shouldn’t be considered any less capable than men, because that belief still prevails in the country.
The perks: It’s never monotonous. You deal with celebrities on a daily basis. Over time, you bond with them and learn from them like a friend.
Boss or friend: Yes and no. We have to play dual roles as managers. While I say that, I think we also have to be available at the time of any crisis.