Kindness or PR Stunt? Bollywood Stars, Out on Morning Walk, Are Barging into Strangers' Homes

Something strange has been up with Bollywood celebrities.

For the last few days, they have been tweeting about their 'morning walks'. But these don't just involve walks. It seems, for some reason, stars have been feeling extra kind. The strangest part in all of it is: They can't seem to stop boasting about it.

It started with Akshay Kumar. On October 31, the actor tweeted about his "morning walk". He went on this walk along with daughter Nitara. Very normal, right? But then, the actor goes on to describe in great detail about the "humble" home of an elderly couple they chanced upon. Kumar sought a "sip of water" from the couple. But the big-hearted couple fed Kumar and his daughter gur-roti (jaggery with chapatti).

Today’s morning walk turned into a life lesson for the little one. We walked into this kind, old couple’s house for a sip of water and they made us the most delicious gur-roti. Truly, being kind costs nothing but means everything!

— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) October 31, 2019

But then, another celebrity tweeted something similar. This time, it was Anupam Kher who went for a "morning walk". Unlike Akshay, however, Kher did not find an elderly couple. Instead, he found some children allegedly from the "streets of Mumbai" as the actor hashtagged. Referring to them as his "morning walk friends", the Saaransh actor informed his followers that he took the kids "to a hotel for brunch" where they "laughed, sang songs & ate" together. "Great time together. When the bill came, one of them whispered, "Uncle!! Bill zyada to nahi aaya na?" This came from a child who sleeps on the streets of Mumbai. Jai Ho", Kher further wrote.

Kher had shared a video of the said "brunch" on Sunday.

A sweet and unconnected story right?

Except, yet ANOTHER actor posted a similar experience. Anushka Sharma, who is currently in Bhutan with husband and birthday boy Virat Kohli, took to Twitter to talk about their "8.5 km uphill trek". She described how they stopped at a "small village" in the mountains and fed a "baby calf". Sure enough, there was a generous couple nearby who immediately stepped up to their role and asked Anushka and company if they were "tired and wanted to have a cup of tea".

Are we reading too much into this or is there a connection? Each tweet has certain points of similarity:

Each tweet was accompanied by photographs that were taken by other people. (Who is always following these celebrities on their treks and morning walks?)

Besides, each of the experiences involved the actors chancing upon people who are seemingly less fortunate or "modest" and showing off their generosity toward them. In most cases, the beneficiaries of the celebrity's kindness were poor locals.

Is it some kind of a new PR campaign that these actors are part of? Is it a promotion for a film? Is it a PR stunt? If it is, then what exactly is it promoting? We are not the only ones who noticed the apparent pattern.

Journalist and author Samanth Subramaniam also noted the weird similarity between the posts in a Twitter thread in which he shared each of the incidents as "exhibits". According to Subramaniam, "Some PR guru has clearly been telling Bollywood's wealthy that, in a poor economy, they're seen as too elite, too out of touch. Do something that shows your ability to connect with the common man, they must have been urged. And so, with great unoriginality, they obeyed".

While News18 could not confirm if the posts were indeed part of an organised PR campaign, the surmise may not be far from the mark, considering the booming PR industry that Bollywood boasts of. Trained professionals work round the clock and formulate meticulous strategies to ensure celebrities and stars maintain their "image". Because in the entertainment world, success is not just dependent on one's work but also on their public persona.

A somewhat dated but apt example could be the "Being Human" initiative by actor Salman Khan. At the time of his hearings in for the 2002 hit and run case as well as the subsequent hearings for the 1998 blackbuck poaching case (for which he was eventually convicted), fans had a hard time believing someone who cut such a philanthropic figure in public could indeed be a criminal.

Whether these actors are part of a strategy can only be revealed in time (if at all). Until then, we conspiracy theorists may just have to contend with speculations.