By Nivedita Sharma
New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Call it brand promotion or fashion connection, celebrities walk the ramp quite often, taking away all the limelight and a lot of money, leaving established models behind.
The money that a Bollywood star gets from a fashion show walk is far better than what a professional model gets.
While many models do not find it a problem sharing space with a more popular celebrity, there are also some who find it uncomfortable taking the back seat.
"It definitely doesn't affect us in terms of work or exposure because a good model will always get noticed irrespective of the Bollywood glamour that is part of the show," said Bangalore-based model Apoorva Vishwanathan.
"Well, they do take the limelight but only in the capacity of being a celebrity, not because they are at par with a professional model," she said.
Veteran designer Tarun Tahiliani always had gorgeous women like Mehr Jessia Rampal(actor Arjun Rampal's wife), actresses Shilpa Shetty and Deepika Padukone, walking for his show.
Designer Rocky S. finds his muse in actress Bipasha Basu, who was seen sharing the stage with him many a time.
Then there is designer duo Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla, who, apart from designing for the Bachchan family (Amitabh, Jaya, Abhishek and Sweta) and Dimple Kapadia, also made these stars enthusiastically walk for them.
For Mumbai-based model Shonal Rawat, celebrities walking the ramp is all about the publicity which a designer wants from media.
"Celebrities walking the ramp is of no great importance to me as a model. It is for the publicity garnered by the designer since that is what the media wants. It's a two-way street and I haven't had a problem with that since I get to do a brilliant show which is a success. Limelight remains justified," she said.
According to a source, who works closely with an established fashion designer, a celebrity who walks for a fashion show gets a price ranging between Rs.1.2 - 1.5 million, depending on the market value of the star.
In addition, there are other facilities like business-class air ticket, a Mercedes Benz car to pick the star, a suite in a five-star hotel and expensive clothes as gift.
Models, on the other hand, are expected to ask for the show fees and accommodation.
In spite of the hard work for fashion shows put in by the professional models, the limelight goes to celebrities, along with an amount much higher than any established model.
"Yes, that is true that celebrities are paid well. But may be that is the only grievance we could possibly have," Apoorva Viswanathan stressed.
"But, then again, that's how they're paid as an actresses or actors as well and that is what they would expect. If models also got paid fancy amounts for every show, then there will be no no differentiation," she added.
"Well, I don't think they are a threat per se because they do one show every now and then, which is very less compared to models. Also, different celebrities are used for different shows, but model line-ups are generally the same," she told IANS.
However, Shayan Munshi, a Mumbai-based model, sees it differently.
The trend, which started six or seven years ago, has forced models to take a back seat, Munshi said.
"This trend began six-seven years back. Earlier even ad campaigns were done by models, but now Bollywood faces and sports stars have forced the models step back.
"It does not end here. Some brands consider foreign faces best suited for their shoots because they think it can help them promote the brand reputation internationally," said Munshi.
While some designers make their celebrity stars walk the ramp, there are many like Sabyasachi Mukherjee, who makes their Bollywood friends sit in the front row and cheer for them.
Rani Mukherjee and Vidya Balan were seen cheering for Mukherjee from the front row seats at the last season of Lakme Fashion Week.
But, then again, the attention diverts from the clothes and the models to the front row celebrities.
"Each fashion week is packed with 'quantity people' rather than quality people. So, whether you are a young designer starting out or an old one fading fast, the only way to bring in the crowds and get the attention is through a movie star," said an upcoming model Dipannita.