Bollywood power couples rule the roost!

By Priyanka Khanna

New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) They are beautiful, gooey-eyed and forever in love. The picture perfect, real-life Bollywood couples are emerging as the most coveted brand ambassadors and seem set to test the adage that real-life couples do not sizzle on the silver screen. Among star couples, Ajay-Kajol is undoubtedly the most visible.

They are also the ones who set the trend of endorsing products together.They make a neat Rs.80 million to Rs.90 million per ad. Clearly, being in love and flaunting it was never so lucrative.

Says film critic Indu Mirani: "For advertisers, married real-life Bollywood couples are a picture of happy matrimony which is highly sellable."

Advertisers already swear by the pull factor of casting such couples and are willing to shell out unheard of amounts to rope them in.

Box-office performance of upcoming releases like "U Me Aur Hum", Ajay's directorial debut in which he stars with wife Kajol, and "Tashan", which has Saif Ali Khan and real-life girlfriend Kareena Kapoor in the lead, will determine whether filmmakers join the queues outside the homes of perfect duos.

Now with Ajay appearing on a reality show along with Kajol and mother-in-law Tanjua, they may just start yet another trend.

And advertisers are hoping that the other famous couple, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai - along with his father Amitabh - would relent and be up next. It is estimated that the trio together could be worth around Rs.700 million.

And it is only a matter of time before some brand comes up with a deal that the three just cannot refuse. Already, they are setting off on 'The Unforgettable World Tour' sometime this year.

The other big question on everyone's mind is when Abhishek and Aishwarya will do a joint endorsement. While Aishwarya is internationally known and one of the global faces of L'Oreal Paris, Longines, Lux and Coke as well as jewellery products in India, Abhishek endorses 11 products from motorcycles to radio stations. The couple has been offered between Rs.100 to Rs.120 million per endorsement.

But the duo is yet to be seen endorsing a brand together. According to reports, the couple has been quoting astronomical prices to give joint endorsements. Rumour has it that Abhishek's deal with LG was called off when he insisted on joint endorsement and asked for way too much.

The title of the hottest couple on the circuit, however, would go to Saif and Kareena. According to a media report, companies are willing to offer over Rs.100 million per ad for the duo to make joint endorsement.

Saif, who makes a neat Rs.360 million a year from his 12 endorsements, and Kareena, who represents five brands, have been approached to appear together by five companies.

Perhaps, Saif and Kareena want to take their time and not go the John Abraham-Bipasha Basu way. The real-life couple had to do a lot of explaining when they decided to end their joint endorsement for a hair shampoo.

The contract was discontinued around the same time as their film - "Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal" - failed to put the box-office on fire, setting tongues wagging. All is well in lovers' paradise again but the makers of the hair shampoo ad have smartened up.

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