Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Barkha Badnaam Hui.....!

Had dinner with Cherie Blair last night and frankly, she didn't blow me away. Dressed in an ice blue salwaar kameez ( some Delhi designer called Jain - her favourite), the Blair lady came through as a competent , clever but cold woman. She is a successful lawyer, and she never drops her guard. She was in Mumbai as the star attraction at one of those high profile conventions where earnest, determined ladies talk about 'empowerment' and then go off to some wealthy person's mansion to take those discussions forward over chilled wine and hot food.

Of course, they mean well... and I am being cynical...


This appeared in Bombay Times on monday...

A good reputation is a little like pregnancy…or lycra( either you have it, or you don’t). Similarly, either a woman is pregnant or she is not. A woman cannot claim to be ‘ a little pregnant.’ The last couple of weeks have been tumultuous for those of us in media, with Barkha Dutt getting the worst of it! To extend the earlier argument – the Radia tapes furore was like a virginity test in which the ‘badnaam’ woman ( Barkha) had to ‘prove’ to the world that she is indeed ‘pure’ and untouched. A tough exam for a seasoned journo to undertake, given that everybody with even half an opinion had already jumped into the fray and pronounced her ‘pregnant’….. err….. guilty. She herself was ready for the agni pariksha, as is evident from the grilling she subjected herself to last week – a grilling by peers, at that. Never mind if the dramatic show yielded nothing of consequence and Barkha’s detractors crowed it was a load of baloney that did not salvage her tattered image. Her frequent references to ‘an error of judgment’ made it worse for her… after all, a person at her level gets there because he or she possesses an invaluable asset - credibility.The faith and trust of viewers is built on believing that their favourite anchor is like Ceaser’s wife – above and beyond suspicion. Once that delicate bond is broken – what remains? A face saving exercise? Barkha has been a formidable force in Indian journalism. She has expertly steered her television channel for years and established an image of a feisty, fearless journalist, unafraid of taking on the biggest and scariest in public life. She has carved out a fan base across the world… but equally, she has attracted her share of detractors ready to pull her down ( remember the vicious and sustained hate campaign launched against her post the 26\11 terror attacks?). Barkha is a pretty tough, exceedingly well connected person. She will ride this crisis out as well. And hopefully, vindicate her position… prove her critics wrong. That is not the point. The fact that she has found herself in this sorry situation in the first place, has shaken up the media world and led to the sort of public discourse about ethics in journalism, that has not been witnessed since the Emergency. If Barkha is squirming, she has every reason to. From being the Untouchable, she finds herself on the other side of the kind of fiery debates she has expertly presided over in the past.
Sympathetic colleagues and columnists are talking about ‘witch hunts’ and public lynching. To some, Barkha is the unfortunate victim, the obvious target, of a scandal which remains hazy even now. That’s how it generally goes… in any controversy, it is often one single individual who emerges as the face of that sordid mess. Pity that face belongs to Barkha and not any of the other, equally high profile players whose conversations on those debatable tapes are far more lethal and dodgy. To Barkha’s credit, it must be said, her comeback to all the accusations has been spirited (if not entirely convincing). She has taken the grilling on the chin, and continues with her life on camera, like a good professional. But larger questions still remain – when does a journalist sell out??? Is it only about scale ( a gifted designer bag worth one lakh is acceptable, but diamond jewellery or a gas agency is not)? Bribes are bribes – and frankly, everybody recognizes one, regardless of the price tag. In Barkha’s case, it isn’t about financial gains. It is about ethics. Power is indeed heady … how a person wields it, defines character. A journo may claim he or she is completely honest and has never accepted even a free pen from someone. But if that person has traded information or attempted to interfere in political decisions that impact our lives – that sort of influence peddling has far reaching implications which are worse than a gushy film review or a plug for an unworthy fashion designer.
We live in dangerous times.
There is something awfully sweet, old fashioned and loveable about Rishi Kapoor.Baap ho to aisa.


Teju said...

stick to porn writing.

Pooja Rathore said...

I like rishiKapoor he is honest and expresses himself well.

Anonymous said...

Gusse ko peeke aur ego ko khaake,
Mirchi pe meethe ka tadka lagake,
Dhak dhak daudega dil subah shaam,
Raat mein neend na din mein aaram,
Khopdi ki basement mein dilon ke statement mein Na profit hai na loss...Bigg Boss bigg boss big boss big boss

- Unable to watch TV these days
Big Boss 4 missing you A-LOT
Mam kuch to likho plz.

- a little pregnant???- ROFL
Mam start writing comedy script

Siddhartha Prakash said...

Sometimes people other than regular middle class porn hungry lot visit your sites.

You really want us to believe that it is just about ethics? That she got he Padma... by doing Journalism? Ever heard of Kunte? Or the Admiral from Kashmir who claimed that Barkha risked the lives of Jawans?

Or is it that like Prabhu Chawla, you too have got a ghost writer? Take my small advice and grow up...

Radhika Gupta said...

the whole barkha dutt controversy is really deplorable... she must have had a lot of admirers earlier... n now.. she'll be remembered for all the wrong reasons...

ZB said...

Not a Great fan of Burkha so it doesn't matter if she has got herself Badnaam. I always took her reporting and stories with a bit of cynicism...:)))

ananth said...

She might have leaked that through 'wikileaks' ... hmm...she missd the more wiki leaks and no more Assange..

cmpershad said...

`Had dinner with Cherie Blair last night'

Nothing to do with Tony blair , i think :)

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Barkha is all image and no substance. Unfortunately for her that has come to light. Putting on a helmet and making shrill battle field reports from kargil and sophomoric sensationalism during the Mumbai crisis does not constitute journalistic courage. That is bravado, usually associated with cub reporters. Breathily asking extremely leading questions at open forums is not courage either. Courage is what you do every single day in an ethical way against all odds and still build a solid body of work. That is the hardest of all, and Barkha has not been capable of that. Even worse for her..."naivety and gullibility" is not a defense at the journalistic level she aspires to.

The "hotseat" grilling was laughable. NDTV should be ashamed to even air that quality of show. Barkha's peers who questioned her should be as ashamed of themselves as Barkha herself.

Personally I would have loved Farid Zakaria to interview her. That man would have asked the right questions. His instincts and journalistic style is dead on! What a dhamaka that would have been. It would have satisfied the unwashed masses in the peanut gallery (including myself) as well as the india international center apologist types.

As of right now, all the mover and shaker journalist/politician/industry honchos have their hands in each others filthy pockets either to twist each others testicles or simply to rob each others pockets. Almost none are exempt from villainy of some sort. We know that. They should all be prosecuted. Every man and woman on those tapes probably has something they can be nailed for.

Rishi Kapoor always seems deep in his cups in a "kukkad da laig, beer sheer ho jaye" kind of way. Not sure if that image is very endearing. But what do I know!

Sameer said...

I agree with Another Kiran here...the grilling on the "hot seat" was a big joke...I was never a Barkha fan as it is, and the way she was answering those questions and constantly hiding behind the "error of judgement" was totally deplorable. I only wish our journos understand the meaning of ethics to the core and what role they should play in today's world -- trading of sensitive info. that might have impact on millions of lives is much bigger than monetary corruption. anyway, I am glad things have been exposed for the Barkha and NDTV...

kakaka said...

sure you would love rish Kapoor. Hahah gievn that he has blasted the 2 girls you love to hate.
I think he comes off as a hypocrite, encouraging his son to fool around on national television and then asking everyone else to watch what they say.
oh yeah and this proves that you have you favorties,
Ur tag line should be:Shobha De- unfair and biased.

Ravi Patel said...

Just can't stand this Guju-hating woman Barkha.For far too long this one has carried out a sustaind,relentless and often mendacious campaign against us Gujus and now we are all delighted that the woman's reputation is deservedly in complete tatters. From now on everytime she barks Gujarat, we will shout back Raja, Radia, 2G scam, compromised! Shamefully she is still in her job.

Ravi Patel said...

And by the way,in a perverse sense and by the grace of Allah, it was a combination of two and a half Gujus - Tata, Ambani and Radia by marriage- whatever their relationships, which ultimately brought htis woman tumbling down.Talk about karma phal!

Dash said...

Simple - Barkha had assumed serious delusions of grandeur. In one of the tapes, she called Nira not the other way round. All this "butter will noth melth in my mouth..." protestations by her don't convince anyonyone...

Akshita (Pakhi) said...

Ur Blog is so beautiful. U r most welcome on my blog also.

uthamanarayanan said...

The glamour of celebrityhood has a way of going to one’s head. Delusions of grandeur are never a journalistic virtue. The real virtue is the mind’s ability to maintain a degree of detachment. When the game is played at the 5-star level, one can never be sure of who is fooling whom. It will be good for everyone to remember that there is one lot that can never be fooled: The people.

*Aham* said...

Bole toh.... bahut drama shaama about the barkha... She has enough 'barrass'ed and has not managed to find tarras...

I like her... But want her to now take it thandaa, and for a while try another dhandaa...

Barkha rani should try modeling...she has enough clout more than the plastic molls of today... Barkha rani show stopper for Abujani... Makes great copy too..

And this is the wikileaks of india or what??? Kitti bakwass...

I feel we need to consult some tantrik with barkha and hillary's 'horror' scope.

jo bhi barkha karti uska vaat lag jaata, and amrikaa maata bechaari ko kuch nahi aata...

Some leak or the other haunts hillary... sometimes wiki, sometimes bill...

Rhett said...

Well your support of Barkha Dutt is quite shocking given that Miss Dutt is quite clearly 'pregnant'. Again the campaign against BD post 26/11 was justified if you check. If not for the lives that news channel put to risk becoz of the live feed of the ongoing rescue operation then for her loud & irritating voice alone she totally deserved to be caned on her bums!

Dinesh PC said...

It is poetic justice that has happened with Barkha Dutt. The woman was never objective and has no substance. She will finally go, and when that does happen, it will be good riddance!

Rhett said...

Have a look at this article which appeared in the Op-Ed page of The Hindu on 8th Dec.

sunil golcha said...

i feel she should quit ndtv and start her own news channel

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BAJPAI said...

Even her live report @Kargil/Mumbai caused any loss of human life , she must be removed.

abhinandan said...

Hahahaha... I liked how Sonam and Deepika thrashed you to pieces on Koffee with Karan!! These girls were uninhibited, irreverent with a sly sense of humor. Things that are considered 'un-ladylike' by most hypocrites. Hypocrites like Rishi Kapoor who you seem to endorse here. I completely agree with the comment abovee that Mr. Kapoor encourages his son tobe a playboy on national television and then reprimands his ex girlfriends/'friends' for 'crossing the line'. whatever 'crossing the line' means'. Women must maintain a dignified silence as the saying goes otherwise reputation kharaab ho jaayega.

It is surprising that no one had a problem with Sanjay Dutt and Anil Kappor, two men in their 50s, well past their prime, have grown up daughters who bragged shamelessly about their wild youth days.

So i guess Sonam was right . You are cliquey and attack soft targets. and by endorsing Rishi Kapoor's 'old fashioned' virtues you are really exposing your own conservative orthodoxy. you really suck shobhaa de.

Like shahrukh said.. 'you are a joke'

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