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Posts tagged ‘ndtv’

Oh! Barkha……when will u change?


Another Sunday (20/12/2009), and in WE THE PEOPLE  slot at 8 PM in NDTV was the discussion WHETHER THE PRIVATE LIVES OF CELEBRITIES SHOULD BE KEPT PRIVATE OR ALLOWED TO BE OPEN FOR PUBLIC SCRUTINY?

A topic that mostly revolved around Tiger Woods and his escapades. Barkha Dutt, as usual, butted in incessantly and drove the discussion in the lines that she had pre-decided to go! This is nothing new, and looking for Barkha to realize and reform seems a vain expectation.

It was a great opportunity for DISTINGUISHING the differences between a celebrity who was leveraging his skills off his domain and a celebrity who was creating an AURA beyond the domain. Let me give an illustration: NIKE is a sports equipment manufacturer and is in the same domain as Tiger Woods is, as a golfer. NIKE could still contend that despite his unseemly escapades, nothing takes away the fact that he is the greatest golfer mankind has seen so far (14 majors!). But when GILLETTE, which is known for its shaving products, takes him as a brand ambassador, Tiger Woods has left his domain of specialty and has veered into a territory where he is leveraging his popularity to promote and sell shaving products.

Much worse is when Tiger Woods start endorsing a Management Company like ACCENTURE. When William T.Green, Chairman & CEO of ACCENTURE speaks of the “accessibility, affordability and accountability of  Education in India, and his prescription of making India a Global Education Hub,” there is a jarring note. What did Tiger Woods have to do with a global consulting firm, that could not manage the “affairs” of  it best known face (by hindsight)!! Therefore the point i want to make is that TIGER WOODS chose to use his visibility to promote brands beyond his COMPETENCE and thereby made himself vulnerable to PUBLIC SCRUTINY.

When one of the participating members, Dhabolkar was about to bring in the distinction, OUTLOOK Mehta butted in and the point was never again touched upon. Once i make a statement as an ANONYMOUS person, i am not deemed to be an EXPERT and the viewer is going to count my OPINION as another one in the ocean of OPINIONS. But when a highly visible celebrity makes a statement, he becomes a PUBLIC figure opening himself to scrutiny, by having stated an OPINION on an unrelated area and pledging his credibility.

In the case of Tiger Woods, he had made a statement that his “family” comes first. Which had subliminally added to his “image” substantially. Now that the whole world knows that he had an “EXTENDED FAMILY” consisting of bar-maids and whores, the CONTAMINATION of that FAMILY statement is merely boomeranging. It is that the viewer is HOLDING TIGER WOODS  at his WORD.

So to suggest that a public figure’s life should be beyond the pale of  public scrutiny, is LIKE demanding an unfair bargain: BUY THE PRODUCTS I ENDORSE. BUT IF I AM CAUGHT TO BE OTHER THAN WHAT I HELD OUT TO BE, THEN I SHALL USE MY PRIVILEGE OF PRIVACY AND YOU IDIOTS SHALL HAVE NO RIGHT TO SCRUTINIZE MY PRIVATE LIFE!!

But our desi angrezi steam roller Barkha would have none of the point that was about to be said. She as a moderator of the discussion was pathetic. Her questions were either leading or stifling!!

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MOTHER OF ALL QUESTIONS!!


In the News Channel NDTV, Dr.Prannoy Roy asked the panelists whether the North Indians are likely to elect an Actor centric party like in the South of India.

The reasons were on expected lines, with a OH! WE IN THE NORTH ARE SO SUPERIOR, THAT WE DO NOT ALLOW THAT MUCH LEEWAY TO OUR ENTERTAINERS!!

The Southern states were predominantly composed of the Madras state, Mysore state, Travancore-Cochin state, and a host of smaller vassal princely states besides Nizam’s territories. With the division of states on linguistic basis in the late fifties, states were crystallized based on the language and the culture was duly reflected in the languages such as Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada. Therefore there was a UNITY IN CULTURE WITH LANGUAGE AS THE BASIS. This brought out a HOMOGENEITY within the Southern states, whereas in the state of Bihar there are minimum 3 well known languages viz. Bhojpuri, Mythili and Angeeka, with distinct cultural uniqueness yet one cannot view those cultural uniqueness thru movies, but have to travel to Bihar to savour those.

Likewise Haryana has Haryanvi, Punjab has Punjabi, UP has Hindustani, Awadhi and Urdu etc., and each language brings its own flavour but such flavours are not brought out in the main stream Hindi cinema. Instead in the Hindi cinema there is a lot of stereotyping. For example a Tamilian is portrayed as a devout Brahmin timid and mostly called THAMBI!! Likewise, with regard to many states the stereotyping goes on for easier understanding of the illiterate masses of the Indo-Gangetic plains!!

Therefore the Heroes of Hindi movies are a jumble reflecting a wide variety of traits, which could be at variance with one another culturally. They cannot unify the population of even a state, leave alone the NORTH as a whole. At best, they could only get a ticket to contest from an established political party and contribute their popular visibility to the party that had offered them the ticket. In fact in the 2004 elections NONE OF THE MOVIE STARS WHO CONTESTED THE LOK SABHA ELECTIONS from the North LOST! Therefore it is the lack of CULTURAL HOMOGENEITY and lack of a POLITICAL PARTY that had prevented the movie stars from the Hindi industry from having such a sway. However the Cricket stars have done pretty well in the Northern states- eg Chetan Chauhan, Navjot Sidhu, Kirti Azad and even Azharuddin, who have all leveraged their popularity and become prominent politicians. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration, if one thinks that Cricket stars are more welcome in the Northern states than cine stars merely for the above mentioned reasons!!

Moreover there have been many movie stars who had tried their hands at Politics and lost. For each MGR,there are 50 others who faded without a trace. It must be understood that MGR did not make it merely on his film popularity, he was the EYE-CATCHER used by C.N.Annadurai (whose knowledge and social understanding were phenomenal) to popularize the party policies thru his movies. It was this visibility that he gained which came in handy when he was made to throw in his hat in the ring, by the wily R.Venkataraman, for decimating the sway of the DMK.

It would be too simplistic to say that movie stars make it in the Southern states as political chiefs whereas in the Northern states such tamashe is not allowed. There is no cultural unity in the northern movies, further the political ideologies have not been spread thru the movies as it has been done in the southern states.

If one were to look into the recent award given to Vivek, a Tamil comedian, it has been stated by no less a person than Dr.Abdul Kalam that the award was for playing roles that educated the movie going masses in Tamilnadu. The process of education that is carried forward in the Southern languages, thru Cinema, is considerable. In fact, i am filled with pity when the majority of the Gangetic plains of India, does not have a medium to reflect, voice, disseminate its culture except thru the eyes of the Financiers and the cine industry of Mumbai.

Further by hindsight, the PRP of Andhra Pradesh, despite the movie popularity of Chranjeevi could not duplicate the feat of NTR in the recently concluded 2009 Parliament elections in the state. Kerala as a state has never propped any cine star in the political set up of the state. Therefore to class all the southern states, as movie crazy is too simplistic and fallacious.

The important point to be noted is that since Independence, the South Eastern states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have performed better than the national average in terms of literacy, productivity and development in general, so entertainment has become an integral part of the lives of the common man and as a proof, in Tamil Nadu, every household below poverty line has been promised/given a TV. They have moved over from Re.1/- for a Kg of rice to ENTERTAINMENT.

Dr.Roy’s premise seems to have an in-built ignorance in the framing of the question. Bias is inevitable, but giving those biases the respectability of  National debate is preposterous!!

THE PREDICTION OF INDIAN ELECTIONS.


With this evening all voting, hopefully, would be over. Why HOPEFULLY? Because there is every possibility that some re-polling might be in the offing for the captured booths etc etc..

What is interesting is that there is a screen that has been held between the Electorate and the Political Parties and that SCREEN will be lifted from this evening on. If politics is the ART OF THE POSSIBLE, one will get adequate dosage of that adage from now on.

What was the purpose of the screen?

Very elementary, in TAMILNADU Jayalalitha does not want to be seen to be close to the BJP, as that might irk the minority voters and before the end of elections,  if that hand is opened, it would be like showing your hand when TRUMPS are still held by your opponents.

The above theory is very well exemplified by the allegations made by the LJP leader Mr.Paswan, when he said that Mr. Nitish Kumar had shed his  SHEEP’S CLOTHING and  shook hands besides sharing the dais  with Mr.Modi of Gujarat after the last voter had cast his vote in Bihar.

Before the polling is complete every POLITICIAN is wary of disclosing that he/she is PRACTISING THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE! But after the Elections, he/she trusts the Amnesia of the voters and practises it consummately.

Mrs.Jayanti Natarajan of the Congress, when asked by Vikram Chandra of NDTV, as to whether INC would align with AIADMK, if the AIADMK+ were to obtain  30+ MP seats in TN, this morning  (13th May, 2009), she was uncomfortable answering the question but REAFFIRMED that DMK were their partners and they (INC) do not have such ideas. Well said.

All these stances taken by the spokespersons of the political parties are nothing but SCREENS that have been held by the Political parties to keep the fence sitters and believers of news channels lulled into a feeling of smugness.

Once the screen is lifted this evening, the News channels would start churning out the various possibilities as they would no more labour under the Supreme Court’s advisory of not publishing opinion polls before the last vote is polled. I am very much sure that the NEWS Channels are not going to reveal anything that our Politicians have not already thought through.

The interesting scenario would be in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh, as the state assembly elections are also held simultaneously. Besides the distinction shown by the voters (like voting for one party for Assembly and another for the parliament), the post election scenario of alignments, realignments would be interesting to watch. Mr.Naveen Patnaik is in a real bind- whether to RETURN TO THE VOMIT or form an alliance with the INC!!

THE TRAGEDY is that all the HORSE TRADING, PLEDGING SUPPORT, GIVING LETTERS OF SUPPORT, MAKING PRO STATEMENTS are all going to be done in the interest of FORMATION OF THE GOVERNMENT. After all we Indians will have to have a Government.

Waiting for the screen to be lifted and the ACTORS enact their parts with consummate style and lull us again (hopefully) for another 5 years is a mounting temptation hard to contain for me.

LONG LIVE INDIA AND A DEMOCRATIC INDIA.

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