Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dog eat dog?Bitch bite bitch...??

This appeared in the Asian Age \ Deccan Chronicle on saturday....

Welcome to the latest Reality Show in town. It features mediawallas of all hues, shapes, temperaments and sizes in a delicious free-for-all in which accusations get hurled, excuses are trotted out and participants indulge in a kiddish ‘mine-is-bigger-than-yours competition.. unfortunately, so far, these shows have not thrown up a Dolly Bindra. But we do have our Fearless Radia ( Hunterwalli) to fall back on, once she’s done with being politically correct and ‘propah’.The funniest aspect of the current Radia imbroglio is that outside media circles, nobody really cares one way or the other as to who peddled influence, who traded information, who squealed, who leaked, who was whose chamcha.In fact, I received a pretty telling email from a friend who happened to be traveling in a local Mumbai train this week and merrily eavesdropping conversations.That was the day some hysterical news anchors were banging on about ‘Barkhagate.” Apparently, one young commuter turned to the other and asked, “But who is this Barkha Gate?” The other answered confidently, “Oh, she is Bill Gate ki wife.” The first one vigorously shook his head and said, “No yaar… that one’s name is Melinda,” To which the second fellow replied, “That’s the first wife, yaar. Barkha Gate is the new one. Melinda left Bill because he was giving away all their money to charity.’’ This is the level of awareness and ignorance. That too in our cities. Do you really believe the small town Joe is bothered by all this tamasha over lobbying-shobbying… who said what… who is on buddy terms with Rahul… who is in Ratan’s inner circle… who can make or break politicians… who can guarantee cabinet positions. Come off it. This is complete ‘dikhaawa’. As a powerful media guy commented in a droll, bored fashion while watching Joan of Arc ( Barkha) defend herself in front of a pretty ‘phoos’ panel of mighty editors ( Vinod Mehta sensibly opted out of this ‘unedited’ farce). Why was this exercise undertaken in the first place? Said the media man, “It was to prove how bold and transparent the channel is…” Did it serve that purpose, assuming that was the intention? And is a Media on Trial reality show going to be the next big thing on television? Pleeeaaase! Spare a thought for those poor viewers ( a paltry number to begin with ), who have had enough of all this worthless chest beating in public. Are we running Kangaroo Courts all of a sudden? Why do we want to burn star journos at the stake? Crucify a few, spare the others? Simply because some journos capture public imagination more than others. When the going is good, nobody complains. Stardom is like that – up one day, gone the next. Why crib? Barkha’s usual jauntiness was missing as she got all teary eyed and ended her impassioned defence by admitting she had been ‘silly and gullible’… implying that’s no crime! Honey….when you are in such an exalted position ( editor-in-chief), you really have no business being either ‘silly’ or ‘ gullible’. That is the real crime! Even rookie reporters know their jobs are on the line if they goof up on camera or in print. One simply can’t hide behind something as flimsy as naivete. The immense responsibility of the job dictates otherwise. One hell of a lot was at stake in these recent disclosures. Any senior, seasoned journalist knows how this game is played. To seek refuge in ‘gullibilty’ is to shirk responsibility…. and stretch credibility. I expected better from Barkha. Over the years I have been a staunch supporter and fan, particularly during the after math of the 26\11 terror attacks when she was being blasted by critics baying for her blood ( I still think she is bloody good at what she does – therefore the disappointment).But I really didn’t think she would fall back on that stale,over- used girlie cliché - ‘Why me?’ - in this ongoing scandal. Sorry, that weak line of argument does not wash. Ever. Worse, I certainly didn’t want to hear one of the panelists making an idiotic comment like, “ Maybe it is because you are so pretty.” Aaaaargh! There went the entire ‘gravitas’ of the show…. right then… right out of that studio floor…. as Barkha simpered, blushed, grinned and said, “At last a compliment from you…” Several hearts sank at that moment. Mine, for sure. What could have been a truly seminal television moment was reduced to a sexist joke. A pity…. because there was Barkha’s bete- noire (and media’s latest darling), Manu Joseph ( editor of OPEN) all set to play the matador about to slay the bull with a final sweep and dramatic thrust ….when poooof! all the garam hawa was taken out of the show, which was then hastily wrapped up by a visibly distressed Sonia Singh, much to the viewer’s annoyance and frustration.
What happens next? Precisely nothing. Media big wigs will go into a self righteous mode and claim to clean up their acts by showing lobbyists and touts the door. Other tv channels will come up with their own media reality shows that they hope will beat the breast beating and emotional atyachaar on parade on rival channels. TRPs will still remain thanda…. what to do, yaar? Viewers would much rather watch Sheila ki Jawani than Barkha ki Diwani.

‘We, the People’ are like that only…..

Hell .... I'm pooped! Have been on a whirlwind book tour. Bangalore and Chennai. I enjoy both the cities... especially at this time of the year.Gitanjali Kirloskar and Kiran Majumdar Shaw shared the dais with me in Bangalore. While Anita Ratnam and Jayanti Natarajan did the honours in Chennai . The level of dialogue at both the venues was superlative, stimulating and FUN!


Anonymous said...

The question is: The better?
- Eating or biting??

N said...


If the person caught is from any other field, you also would be baying for his/her blood.

Just because of your own brethren are caught, you want to make it lighter and wishing for the noise and hungama to subside.

Only 100 odd tapes were put in public domain. We really don't know what is about to hit everyone..

The game has just begun... More mudslinging is in the pipeline..

The media is crying nonstop about 'Tainted Thomas' and setting deadlines for his resignation..

Why not for Barkha.. err. 'Bad Barkha'.. or 'Bull****ing Barkha' or 'Battered Barkha'....

Why these double standards?

Who knows.. you may also be in the rest of the tapes....




ha ! why critisize it ma'am ? we all love watching them , in case the food is bland that night ( even if isn't ...a lil masala never hurt anybody ..did it ? )

I beg thee ma'am time you visit chennai please announce it in advance . I'll jump through barricades and hotel security ( bollywood ishtyle ) to catch a glimpse of thee :P

cmpershad said...

barkha Gate, Bill Gate, Water Gate... all gates lead to wealth, which everybody welcomes :)

Dry Hair said...

As I heard and re-heard all the tapes, there are several of Barkha asking "What should I tell them?". What is far amusing is that Vir's and Barkha's claims that they were merely fishing for stories and leading their source on is undeniably rendered false. What I find shocking is that the unbelievable indignation that Barkha claims in this roundtable farce. Perhaps the indignation comes from the fact that she thinks her accusers arent lily-white and so no one can question her.
As a tax-paying Citizen, however, I think she and Vir Sanghvi and the rest of this puritanistic Padmashri winning journalist clan owe us an explanation which is much better than the "lack of judgement"! And be held responsible for this kind of vile behavior. Vile because it goes against every fundamental journalistic ethic. The stand that "I am not the only one, why not the others" does not absolve her of all culpability.
On a side note, there is a great movie story for Madhur Bhandarkar here some where.

Layman said...

Hilarious comparison :D :D Radia = Hunterwalli

Jane said...

Jane here :) lol- i'd rather watch the sheila ki jawani as well.. same shite on IBN last night with karan thapar- midway, someone wanted top journos, who're touted to be PUBLIC FIGURES, to declare their 'assets' and stay shy of corporate bigwigs, so that there's no more paid news... ahh, why are we running in circles!

goodluck said...

The story between 2 train commuters seems to be made up.
Dont underestimate the ordinary. Many of them are more aware than page3 crowds.
Kangaroo court for wayward journalists. Sweet revenge.
Next time when media bays for the blood of politicians, criminals etc. we will simply snigger.

*Aham* said...

hehhehe... the train incident was really hilarious.

Height of ignorance. :) but worth an eavesdrop.


Gone buffalo in water. (gayee bhains paani mein) this nadia gate aur red tape is real dimaag ko traas de.

Now lets see how the scene changes - Nadia ke paar!

but really the averege joe isnt bothered about what gupshup she has with tata or bata, what bothers him is the rise in the cost of batata.


And all the media badshaahs who were shunned or stunned by the uprising of the Dutt will be singing...
"barkha raani... zara cham ke barso"

we the tweeple, have given a tough time to the young anchorni of "we the people".

I continue to love her, but mind not a joke or two about her whose online avataar took a paradigm shift from "Alice in wonderland" to "malice in blunderland"... thanks to flop flick "telecom rights and radia tapes"

"barkha ka insaaf!" seems like the season 2 of "raja ki jaayegi baraat"... wonder if in third season she will be with rajat sharma in "NDTV ki Adalat"

and Manu Joseph gets ready to give takkar to the WikiLeaks .. with an indian version

Open magazine is the wikileaks of india... (or is it vice versa?)


When barkha rani said "why me" manu uncle said "Maybe it is because you are so pretty.”... waah waah.. bahut khoob. that is the

"Hadd Kardi aapne" of Indian Television... Barkha should have given him one jor ka jhaapad then. but guess the zhakmi aurat kept quite about the media havarat attacker because she knew he was making a fool of himself with that "tongue-in-wherever" comment.

suggest vipaasna for Barkha... let her vanish into the snow capped himalayas for a while. People have forgotten 26/11 barkha is which mooli of which khet then.. there is no issue.. when people have memories like aamir in gajani, so when she could wake up in a while and come back like Priya Tendulkar of the famous Rajni.

wonder what sells more.. jawaani ya badnaami... badnaami wins hands down... masttt no!

Theyoginme said...

Your frank comments about Bharkha only affirm why you are the frank and fearless Shobhaa De. This is what makes you unique and special :)

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Every one wants to be in the money competition

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