From a small town in Jaipur, an almost friendless childhood, challenging adolescence years and a search for his true self, Prashant Golecha has seen it all in his incredible journey to become the PR consultant that he is today. In a candid chat, he talks about this journey, how his family means the world to him and his ambitions.
Tell us about your journey from Jaipur to Mumbai…
The journey has not been an easy one. After a rather challenging childhood at school, directionless, I enrolled in an MBA course which I did just because I had to do something. I took up an MBA project for a cellular company OASIS and they offered me a job based on my sincerity. By then, I was dreaming of a career in advertising and had made a sample of ads that used to reflect my flair for copywriting. I worked in Oasis for three years and every year, I kept coming to Mumbai to look for a job. I met the biggest of ad agencies from IB & W to Lintas, Contract Advertising, Percept and Ogilvy & Mather. Everyone liked my sample work but no one wanted to take me on board, even as an intern. I was disillusioned and in my third year, I quit my Jaipur job and came to Mumbai. But nothing worked for me in advertising and I got even more confused and frustrated. At that time, I lived in Bandra, near Mehboob Studio, in a PG. I loved the sense of independence. Those years, I used to sit at Bandstand and dream! Although I was in the midst of so many challenges, they were the best years of my life. I got a job through a cousin where I succeeded. But things took a downfall and I was fired overnight. I was back to square one and even thought of shifting back to Jaipur. I sat at home in Mumbai for four months with nothing to do and used to wander aimlessly all by myself with only one friend, Samir Solanki for company, who did help me a bit in learning the ways of the world though I never paid much heed to anything.
How did you get into PR?
I used to apply for a job wherever I could. I, finally, got a job as a marketing guy in a restaurant called Blue Cilantro where Sanjeev Kapoor was a consulting chef. We had a PR agency looking after the PR of the place and somehow that responsibility was dumped on me. But I worked with sincerity. I got the chance to meet actor Anuj Saxena, who was then a superstar of TV, with super successful shows like KKusum. I did the PR for a party and he offered me his personal PR. I took it up. In the meantime, I got married. The restaurant shut down soon after and I was jobless right after marriage, with just Anuj Saxena’s PR in hand. I started doing freelance journalism as I had a lot of free time.
Anuj started a production house called Maverick, the name was suggested by me. With that, I, too, got some stability and then I joined another restaurant on Churni Road. I would travel by train daily and work long hours and that used to take a toll on my health. Then, one of the journalists, who I used to interact with, asked me if I had a computer and internet at home. She told me that I should spread the word and take more work in PR and the idea encouraged me. I started focusing on PR and slowly-slowly clients started coming by word of mouth. I never approached anyone for PR. I always thought that since I was an MBA in marketing, why would an actor entertain my pitch for his PR when he or she doesn’t even know me? I worked on my skill set. It took me 15 years to get stability.
I am a complete human being and that is what matters. I am far more compassionate than before and feel life is too short to hold any grudges especially against people who matter. When your heart is as clean as filtered water and when your love and affection is unconditional nothing else matters.
Who supported you the most in your career journey?
My parents (Prakash and Kanan Golecha), my sisters Sapna and Rachna, my wife Reetu and my kids Aashay and Ishaan. For the first time, I felt love when my son Aashay was born. I kept his name and felt that I had finally found my best friend. My second child Ishaan came and added more to my world. All my life, I realised I wanted to love unconditionally and the kids made me feel complete. I used to tell both of them that I love them as much as the water in the sea in Mumbai. My wife and kids are my best friends and I didn’t need any other company after they came along. I used to feel complete in myself. I was obsessed with my work to the extent that I didn’t give enough time to my family and they never complained. I always believed in thinking big, dreaming big and doing big. I never ran after money as I always believed that good work is followed by money. Workaholism is a necessity to become successful. Tuffy my pet is my companion and post office hours he sits around while I work endlessly.
What is your take on human relationships?
My viewpoint on relationships and life changed completely with time. I am a complete human being and that is what matters. I am far more compassionate than before and feel life is too short to hold any grudges especially against people who matter. When your heart is as clean as filtered water and when your love and affection is unconditional nothing else matters. You can’t force love, friendship and loyalty. If people don’t reciprocate and value you, you will still love them as it is your nature. Pain is like bitter chocolate and I take it in my stride. I don’t have any grudges against anyone, myself or even life. I feel I am quite fortunate to experience everything and it has enhanced my individuality. I am blessed and believe in the long run nothing wrong can happen to me. Zindagi Bahut Khoobsoorat Hai Jeene Ka Salika Aana Chhaiye”. People who misunderstood my perspectives one day will understand me and value me. I follow my heart.
What has been your take on industry friends?
Friendship is an illusion. There are a lot of actors who are attached to me because of my nature, affection, emotional maturity, intelligence and my professional expertise or so-called success. I am close to a few actors. But I feel no need of spending time with the outside world, I would rather spend time with myself and my family first.
What has been your professional clan?
Simi Grewal, Anuj Saxena were the most memorable ones. One of the most professional actors we are working with is Somy Ali as the connection is on a mature and intellectual level. Few other professional and loyal actors we have worked with include Himansh Kohli, Jasmin Bhasin, Vijayendra Kumeria, Sharad Malhotra and Meera Deosthale. The remarkable production house we have been working with for more than 15 years includes producer Rajan Shahi whose involvement in his work is commendable. He is a man of substance and words with terrific understanding of what he wants and respects professionals. Actress Anu Aggarwal is a very intelligent woman who has depth in her personality and is good with words.
We have permanent well-wishers in Charrul Malik, Ridheema Tiwari, Rishina Kandhari, Rajshri Rani, Delnaaz Irani, Himanshu Malhotra, Mrunal Jain, Vahbiz Dorabajee, Ajay Chaudhary and Aniruddh Dave. Sanjay and Binaiferr Kohli (Edit II) are a professional duo Binaiferr is a very sweet person with an amazing sense of humour.
Producer Yash and Mamta Patnaik are also visionaries. We have worked with Siddharth Kumar Tewary on Mahabharat and Nikhil and Suhana Sinha on Mahadev and Sudhir and Seema Sharma (Sunshine Productions) on Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha both seasons. They are hard-core professionals and value good work. Producer Prateek Sharma is also a very creative individual and a man of his words.
I had handled Red Chillies TV section and their two shows Ghar Ki Baat Hai which was Juhi Babbar’s TV debut and Knight and Angels. I have also handled two films Aloo Chaat (Aftaf Shivdasani and Aamna Shariff) and film Chase (Anuj Saxena and Udita Goswami). I had a good working association with film stars Arjan Bajwa and Udita Goswami too. We also managed singer Babul Supriyo for many years and he is a gem of a person. Anuj Saxena is one actor who will forever be in my life and thoughts as it was with him, I entered into the industry. He was a man of intelligence, professionalism, class and affection all rolled into one.
The prominent people who are part of my current professional life currently are Somy Ali, Anu Aggarwal, Bhumika Chawla, Shivin Narang, Vivian Dsena, Arjun Bijlani, Aly Goni, Rajniesh Duggal, Avika Gor, Ravi Dubey and Sargun Mehta.
How has been your experience in dealing with actors and money?
Money is energy and the actor is paying for the service and, in service, everything is not tangible or quantified. It’s not always about quantity of articles but also the quality and nature of the article matters. Actors forget that you supported them when they needed it the most and then they delay the payments and tell their soft stories and financial problems. It amazes me that the same actors haggle with production houses for their own money. I want to tell all actors and everyone who takes any professional services that what goes around comes around. What you do to others will be done to you. If you make fake excuses and avoid paying up, it will happen to you as well in this lifetime only.
You have also handled Dangal TV’s PR. How did you get it and what has been the response?
We handle production house Beyond Dreams’s PR and for them we did their show Control Room’s press event. The channel was highly impressed and we got on board. Through us, the media started visiting sets of their shows regularly and me and my team worked hard and printed online and video coverages happened to the extent that our work was noticed by media and other channels as well. We worked day in day out to bring the channel’s shows into the limelight. The faces of the channel Pavitra Punia, Haarsh Limbachiyaa- Bharti Singh, Shehzad Sheikh, Asmita Sood, Eva Grover, Aditya Redij all have appreciated our work.
What are the cons of the industry?
Actors lying and even delaying payment is common. Some actors constantly crib about money problems, but their lifestyle doesn’t change and they go on talking about their bad financial condition. Even the best of the top successful actors sometimes behave very unprofessionally and are just not fair in their financial dealings. But keeping patience is one of the mandates and you need to extend it regularly. My team and I work with absolute human attention and affection. Loyalty is a way of life but not for everyone. Spending on PR is an investment in your career and not an expenditure. Just think it this way, you claim to love your career and keep saying your career is everything to you, then why take a break from PR. Lack of professionalism is common but then no one can take you for a ride after a point. The Law of Karma exists everywhere. Just by hiring the best PR you won’t become an overnight star. There are actors who after starting PR demand everything to happen in a week without understanding their own profile.
What do you have to say about the competition in your field?
Competition exists in every field. Healthy competition is still fine but people who have no expertise are becoming PR’s and the irony is even the literate actors are falling in the trap just because someone is charging less! There are few actors who even change PR-like shirts. There are so-called rivals who keep messaging even our loyal actors. Some will never go because they understand a relationship with PR is very personal and a lot of hard work goes into making a profile. We have no competition as we are good with ideation and we as a team give personalized attention and guidance.
Every tom, dick and harry thinks he or she can become a successful PR is a myth. People do succeed in fooling actors sometimes as in the entertainment industry people think of short-term gains only. Ideally, good relationships count and only that works in your favour in the long run. Clients who leave us, it’s their loss, not ours because hamare Jaisa PR koi Nahi hai and we are confident and secure in our space.
What is your take on the social media obsession of actors?
I openly tell actors you are here to act not to become an influencer. Social media is for us, we are not for social media. Just having x number of followers doesn’t contribute to the craft of acting. If you have the talent, you will eventually get work and success.
What do you have to say about the trend of airport spotting?
This spotting obsession is increasing with herd mentality. It doesn’t add value to your profile unless the profile is genuinely big or you are already popular. People are jumping to paid spotting. Stars spotting like say Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Sushmita Sen or Shahrukh Khan still matter as their A-list stars, and people want to know about them.
What are your future plans?
The new me is in the making. A bit of socialising, like a cup of coffee with my clients is all that is enough for me and happens by default. I don’t look for a company beyond that point, outside of the realm of my family. In a city like Mumbai, bonding happens with people you work with daily. I am very attached to my talented staff as they spend more time with me than anyone else. I like to see my staff happy and smiling always. Besides them my family and my pet Tuffy count and nothing else matters. Just seeing the smiles on the faces of my children Aashay and Ishaan melts my heart and I feel fresh energy. I am focused and know what I want in life. I have clarity of thought and I can foresee my own future. My intuition/ gut feeling says that my mental and emotional magnetism is going to attract the right opportunities and my patience and tolerance will lead to ultimate transformation. My work is going to take me places in 2023. I haven’t achieved even 2 percent of my potential and a brand-new journey has already started. I am going to get more than I can ever imagine. Our, as well as our client’s present and future, is outstanding. I am ambitious and I intend to surprise people soon.