News

SWEET SUGAR AND SAIF

– By Sanjay Jha

This week has been a media person’s delight; the David Headley conspiracy gathered intensity by involving Bollywood celebrities , Barack Obama’s confused diplomacy-take in China on Indo-Pak relations , sugar-cane farmer’s agitation and Sachin Tendulkar’s incredible cricketing journey . Of course, as far as Arnab Goswami of Times Now is concerned he would manage the superhuman feat of looking profusely agitated even if he were interviewing himself.

On Times Now Arnab interviews people as if he wants them to repeat his own pre-drafted or crafted responses. “ Tell me, isn’t that true? Tell me! Don’t duck the issue! Tell us NOW ( a branding strategy of TOI, I guess) ! The whole nation is watching you! Everyone is watching Times Now ( and switching channels faster, I presume) .Tell them that you agree with me!”. I guess with CNN-IBN and NDTV being relatively far more suave and sedate in their moderation, Goswami has been told by his marketing czars to reposition Times Now as the English version of India TV.

Yesterday Goswami was hell-bent on establishing the “political factor” in the sugar price ordinance issue, and kept provoking Amar Singh of SP to acquiesce with him that he had attacked Rahul Gandhi all afternoon. Singh, who is the master of his own universe, refused to fall for Goswami’s rhetoric . The problem with split-screens is that nowadays everyone is looking sideways to see if they are on the screen or not which makes for amusing viewing. It also gives them a free-hand to keep gabbing away which they do with congenital comfort. And they had Arun Jaitley ( who silently and patiently seems to be meditating with closed eyes while awaiting his turn), Ajit Singh ( sounding far more reasonable than the political football his opportunistic career has been), Manish Tiwari of Congress ( nowadays punctuating his pained outbursts by a restrained grin) and Atul Anjaan of CPI ( no comments!). Arnab, too many guests spoil the broth!. Also Goswami is evidently convinced that Maoists are all extortionists , hence he had a highly questionable document which found prominence on our screens, which could have been an XL sheet manufactured on DN Road as I could not decipher the source of that supposed fortune amassed by Maoists. The notorious “ black diary” is back.

They may have unleashed a serial kisser on us unsuspecting guys, but the Bhatt’s possess their own distinctive style. On CNN IBNs Face the Nation the constantly charged-up Mahesh and daughter Pooja Bhatt ( she was the ultimate teenage crush in Dil Hai Ki Mantaa Nahin) made a bold remonstrance against what they considered was jaundiced coverage of Rahul Bhatt’s “ engagement” in the Headley affair. Refreshingly enough, Sagarika Ghose admitted that it did seem that the media may have gone overboard. I thought the tribute to former PM Mrs Indira Gandhi appeared abbreviated and hugely unfair though in it’s final summary who remains one of the most enigmatic political personalities of our time.

Saif Ali Khan underscored why Mumbai’s susceptible hearts flip for him despite his much-married status on NDTVs The Buck Stops Here which appeared after a short hibernation. Royal lineage and good looks apart, he is got a flippant sense of humor, a grasp of contemporary trends and is honest to admit his angst on his religious identity . Kareena Kapoor by contrast looked like a demure begum , who suddenly brightened up when Barkha Dutt quizzed her on her famous “ size zero” trademark—–frankly, I have always found Bollywood heroines far too buxom with generous “SOPs”( standard operating “proportions”) for that slim compliment or otherwise. Barkha while giving them the platform to promote their new release Kurban deftly engaged them in a more personal discussion on social adjustments in relationships based on inter-religious faith. Quite cool!

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