-By Sanjay Jha
Joining the cacophonic electronic media in India in creating mindless hype is now India’s so-far fairly revered print media. I am talking about the HT Leadership Summit which had the usual trappings of key government functionaries, politicians, sports stars ( read cricket) , a retired foreign leader ( this time a surprisingly low-profile George Bush ) and of course, Bollywood. For the uninitiated, all awards events are predefined revenue streams in media company’s P&L projections. Now the latter took the cake this time around. While an Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar can hold fort on industry related dynamics and the role of entertainment icons with intelligence, wit and humor, the same cannot be said about the most exaggerated modern-day media creation of our times; Kareena Kapoor. The lovely lady who has created the super-brand “size zero” came up with this famous quote “ My body of work is better than my body”. Now from that famous leadership congregation that was the most memorable quote. Not quite happening !
Barkha Dutt uncharacteristically allowed Big B to continue with his by now trademark grumpiness on The Buck Stops Here. Bachchan is undoubtedly one of the sharpest wisecracks in town, but ever since his association with some portly pudgy politicians the once tongue-in-cheek character has lost his witty charm. Maybe that was part of his strategy to take on an anti-media stance for his forthcoming film , but the interview just failed to lift-off and remained consistently tense, tentative and tepid and got “b(l)ogged down”. Give me the dopey-looking cool dude Ranbir Kapoor-Katz anyday who made a peppermint fresh pair. .
I think the 9 pm slot is fairly evenly contested between the three prime English channels ( I am excluding Headlines Today which should be rebranded as Headless Today) but CNN-IBN is helped considerably by Rajdeep Sardesai’s presence and his definite versatility. For example, yesterday, he was in complete command when recollecting the magic of Sachin Tendulkar, although still continuing with Sunil Gavaskar as your cricketing mascot is being probably too hackneyed. Sunny Bhai has that already said-this said-that staleness about him, with both Ajay Jadeja ( NDTV) and Sourav Ganguly ( Times Now) sounding far more real , forthright and engaging.
Arvind Kejriwal & co screaming self-righteously about the “public” having a say in the selection of the next CIC who will be in charge of the RTI functioning was downright playing to the gallery stuff on NDTV . Mr Kejriwal sounded almost irrational, rabid and over-the-top as if he has been given the right by us all to recommend the name of Ms Kiran Bedi. I thought the latter’s immediate statement that she will do the said role for free smacked of blatant lobbying ; totally impractical and an absolute no-no. By contrast, Wajahat Habibullah the outgoing chief was all humility personified and seemingly unperturbed by Kejriwal’s criticisms.
As you can make out, I cleverly omitted watching Times Now as much as I could. It wasn’t difficult.