Sunday, April 17, 2005

On Rajdeep Sardesai and on Journalism

Rajdeep Sardesai quit NDTV: The ubiquitous face of NDTV a few years back won't be around any more. Frankly, I dont know if i am affected by this, or if it matters to me to say the least. A few years back- it would have broken my heart. I remember, a few years (Actually, make that many years back!) when all we had for news was DD news readers reading out the day's happenings in an impersonal and distant way -Prannoy Roy did the impossible. He gave me an obsession for current affairs. The people on the discussion forum went through their share of emotions on camera, commenting the current affairs as if it bothered them, and they were affected by it as much as any of us. From nowhere Barkha Dutt, Rajdeep Sardesai and Vikram Chandra were public figures, [my IDOLS - puns intended!] - And why wouldn't it be so: in a world of celebrities who were all about appearance - these few seemed to have some content.

Well I have lost touch over time. Last I went to India, to catch up with friends and Family in India, I decided to catch up on my annual share of TV. As expected, the story of the soaps hadn't moved in 14 months. Some characters had changed, some remained, some new people were playing old characters. Jassi was still the ugly duckling nurturing her love for Armaan Sir. [ I was like, get a life girl!]. Music channels: the movie songs were ok, the music video's didn't seem too much "For-the whole-family's-viewing-pleasure"! I switched to News. And, was I disappointed.

News and the presentation has changed in India over the years. News channels have doubled. From what i saw, There was/is too much sensationalism. With the scroll *BREAKING NEWS* below the screen - some headline was being presented [Frankly, I dont think it was important enough]. Reporters were running every where - covering every little itsy bitsy detail from Kareena Kapoor getting a shoe bite to the situation between Israel and Palestine in the same breath. I was confused. I still am! The fine line between the reality and entertainment seems to have vanished. We have so called "sting journalism" trying to catch the reality of entertainment. Its not only TV, its the news papers too. Times of India (online) seems to have become a tabloid [reporting "Camilla wears the same dress thrice"] - feeding on reel-life people's real life details. And all seem to be very unapologetic about it. To get back to the point: As I channel surfed, I ws shocked at the situation to say the least [May be I wasnt watching TV at the right time?] As I looked for familiar IDOLS on Tv I wondered if this is what India wants, Indians want?

So Mr. Sardesai, is starting another channel. I wonder if everyone is waiting with bated breath on what he comes out with.
(Comments are welcome!)

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