Viral Bhayani is one of the most famous paparazzi Bollywood has seen. Alongside Manav Manglani, Yogen Shah, Varinder Chawla and a few others, Viral Bhayani has managed to make a name for himself that not only celebrities reckon with but even the public follows him religiously. From every minute detail about which celebrity was spotted in B-Town, Viral Bhayani has been giving updates to billions of people around the world who want to know their favorite celebrity’s daily outdoor activities.
With paparazzi culture growing by leaps and bounds over the past two decades, it’s people like Viral Bhayani who click, circulate and supply these much-requested photographs to numerous websites, blogs and news outlets. While many think their job is quite easy as they just have to click pictures throughout the day, but a little chat with Viral Bhayani reveals the untold problems and annoyances these paps have to go through on a daily basis. base.
Recently, a video of Jaya Bachchan went viral all over social media where she was heard being a bit rude to photographers who clicked on her photos at a public event. She’s not the first to do this. There have been dozens of celebrities who have berated these photographers at times. While plenty of dads got yelled at by celebrities for crossing a line, there were plenty who still cared about those cameramen. After all, paparazzi need celebrities as much as celebrities need paparazzi.
Speaking to Outlook’s Prateek Sur, Viral Bhayani gets candid and reveals some insights into the affairs of the paparazzi. Excerpts:
When celebrities react badly to you or your team, what is your reaction? Are you boycotting them? Or do you get an apology from later celebrities or their team?
To be honest, it’s a two-way street. It all depends on a person’s mood. For example, when you call me for an interview, if I’m too busy and I’m not able to give you an interview, it doesn’t mean that I’m rude, or that I’m smart, or that I’m abusive, or that I’m acting expensive, or I have an attitude problem. So it must be understood from both sides. Everyone is a human being. For example, a few days ago there was a great actor, and his security guard broke one of our flashes. A flash comes for around Rs 40,000. What should I do then? Should I call him and pick a fight? No. So what are you doing? You move on. Our work is not very sophisticated where we go to an office or sit down. Our work is very hard. It’s a rough and difficult job, and therefore you have to take care of yourself.
What do you think is the worst that can happen?
It can cost a person a life. For example, if you are running behind someone’s car. Recently we were all at Ananya Panday and one person got hurt. You can’t sue her, can you? It was you who went behind her, and if in the process the car tripped you or something, you can’t blame the celebrity for that. Often the security of fame pushes us back. If you trip and fall and seriously injure your head, you may die instantly on the spot. You could go to court later and even then it could be said that security pushed the person, but the celebrity can’t be blamed, right? They drove on and didn’t even know their car or security had done this unknowingly. So you have to understand the perspective of what happened.
What about when celebrities are rude to your face?
If you think a celebrity is very rude or constantly in a bad mood, then you avoid those celebrities. It’s not that their houses are running because of you, and it’s not the other way around either. If there’s hate coming from a celebrity, we’ll just avoid them. Or maybe we could speak to their managers and discuss it if the celebrity is not comfortable, so let us know. Instead of doing this boycott or creating drama over it, it’s better to talk about it and fix the problem. It’s a give-and-take. When this celebrity’s movie is about to be released, she will invariably call us during promotions, right? We are all criminals in this sense. We are all professionals, and we all need content, and we need visibility. So everything is linked.
But do you leave when the celebrity asks you not to click?
Yes, there are celebrities like Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma, who have asked us not to click on their child, and we respect that. So people have to put themselves in the other person’s shoes and understand what the logic is. Plus, it’s not that there’s a shortage of celebrities. Every day there are about 20-25 new heroines arriving, and many of them are telling us to give them a chance (to be featured on our pages, etc.) and not to support nepotism.
Also, you must get a lot of masala, like celebrities caught up in extramarital affairs, etc.
Yes, we understand. But let me tell you honestly, there is so much depression out there, that all of us as human beings have to be very careful. You should never make your life or your career by destroying someone else’s. So you have to be very careful in what they say, what they say, etc. Even in the smallest things, people take him to heart. Today, if we don’t tag anyone on our posts, they feel discouraged. We live in a generation where if you don’t have a blue tick on your social media, you’re not sleeping at night. So, all that matters when you’re so successful.
Who gives you the most traffic?
Nowadays our houses are functioning mainly because of Rakhi Sawant. And it gives us content.
But what about each other’s photos and monetization?
It is an era of monetization and only that would sell what the public likes. Urfi Javed is not my friend, or she does not pay me money, that I will share her content so much. Urfi Javed is what people want. I share it from the bottom of my heart because I know audiences love her and want to see more content from her. Another thing is that people like to make negative comments. Who will post negative comments on a Shah Rukh Khan post? There, people will praise fame. But when it comes to writing negative reviews, then who do they come for? Urfi Javed. So these things have to be understood.
People always think it’s easy to work as a photographer. What are the main difficulties and problems you face in your profession?
Lots of legalities are there. Many problems we face because of celebrity safety. And then there is the danger of losing one’s life. Anything can happen at any time. Personally, I have fallen so many times. I had a very bad fall just in front of Shraddha Kapoor.
Finally, are there any celebrities who are always outspoken and treat you very well? We keep seeing Kartik Aaryan’s funny banter with you guys quite often…
There are a few, which are very, very good. After all, everyone is there to do their job, and it’s a pretty selfish world. But, when there is a problem, there are also very good people. They are all trying to help us. Whenever they get to know, and if there is any problem we face, they always try to help. If they don’t just get to know each other, then they don’t. Even during Covid-19, a lot of actors came out and supported us. Everyone helped us financially.