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Poonam's Bollywood debut is a hoax

Vishwas Kulkarni
Yahoo! India Movies
4 May 2012

After threatening to strip if India won the World Cup and disappearing when the actual moment arrived, Poonam Pandey has done it again by delivering yet another hoax. Last week, she was trending all over the internet, thanks to a press release sent by her publicist. It read that Amit Saxena of Jism fame was miffed with the Bhatts; he was going his own way and making a film with Poonam Pandey in the lead. Two days ago, Amit Saxena clarified that he was not doing any project with Poonam Pandey.

“This is appalling. Someone has jumped the gun on me. I had a couple of informal meetings with the team. I’ve not confirmed anything, so I didn’t want to comment,” said the director to a daily. However, what has gotten Saxena’s goat is how the press release insinuated a rift between the Bhatts and him. “This is rubbish and in very poor taste. The Bhatts are like my family. In fact, Mahesh is my mentor and Pooja (Bhatt) was and will always remain a dear friend,” Saxena reiterated.

Video: ANI

When she announced her ‘debut’ Poonam Pandey claimed, “I’ve rejected 30 offers. But there was something very special about this movie. I have heard several movie narrations, but this story was unique. I am sure people have not seen something like this before. My character is extremely interesting.”
Well, she has no character now, because there is no film.


Yet, not one to be affected by this temporary setback, Poonam Pandey was back in the news, barely minutes after her Bollywood debut had been exposed as a publicity stunt. The reason: Poonam Pandey was ostensibly reinventing herself as an agony aunt. It didn’t take much to merit a mention on the wires. Just something as simple and smutty as this Twitter update by her: ‘Two secrets to a great relationship are: argue naked & never go to sleep angry at each other [sic].”

Yet another Twitter message from the recent past went “Twitter: Loners, moaners, stoners and boners.”

At first sight, someone might think that Poonam Pandey is a sick, publicity-hungry freak with nothing better to do. Part of this is true. Yes, Poonam Pandey is a sick, publicity-hungry freak. The ‘nothing better to do’ bit though is absolutely wrong.

Photos: Want Poonam Pandey to strip on your mobile?

The economics of being Poonam Pandey are in fact rather baffling.  An article by Hindustan Times claims that Poonam Pandey makes approximately Rs 50 lakh a month. How? In the one year that she has been in the limelight, if one may call it that, there haven’t been any major endorsements or movie offers coming her way. An appearance in Khatron Ke Khiladi’s fourth season doesn’t quite count as an arrival.  But still, despite these thin achievements, Poonam Pandey is wired into an algorithm that gives her a winning edge, however difficult this reality seems to digest. As Open Magazine brilliantly puts it, “she merged nudity with cricket to create an implausible brand.”  It’s all about ubiquity. Take a look at these stats to get the picture:

She enjoys 152702 followers on Twitter. One among these is R&B superstar Akon. 

Tehelka reports that Pandey’s name features in the Top 10 of the Google Zeitgeist 2011 list of fastest rising celebrities in India, alongside Katrina Kaif and Anna Hazare.

Digital media company Pinstorm scores her online influence at 70.2, which rates just outside the 30 most influential Indians online, behind Priyanka Chopra but ahead of Lara Dutta and Genelia D’Souza.

Vipin Medhekar, her strategist, informed Hindustan Times that a large part of this Rs. 50 lakhs per month comes from voice chats that mobile service providers anchor using the Poonam Pandey brand. Poonam, he claims, gets paid much more than many celebrities for her voice chats.

She charges Rs 3 lakh per public appearance.

Video: ANI

Poonam Pandey does have some outgoings too: Aside from her strategist, she also employs three business managers, three public relation executives and three members to manage her web team (she is the owner of five domain names, never mind their dysfunctional status). That is a head count of 10. Her operations are run out of an office in Malad, Mumbai. This does cost rent.

The last we heard she was even investing in a server of her own to ensure that her website doesn’t crash. That was going to cost her an additional Rs 1.5 lakh. But then again, when you’re Poonam Pandey, it might be loose change, especially for men from small-town India with looser morals and the brainlessness to imagine that they’re actually talking to Poonam Pandey when behind the crackle of poor network and electric squeaks they hear someone say, ‘Hello?’ in a husky tone.

Come to think of it, it is completely logical that one of her Facebook updates reads like this:
“The danger of taking super long showers is that you could start to melt and you might not get out in time because HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE?!”

Below this, in the comments box, an innocuous looking man, Alok Kumar, whose profile picture looked like something that would complement an obituary, had written: “Hello Dar”

Yes, there is a method to the madness, a system to the smut. It makes this woman 50 lakhs a month.

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