22 April 2014

Season of Immaturity

     We had three immature people hogging television last week - displaying various degrees of narcissism.
     Narendra Modi finally came before the media. For months now, he has been constantly taunted for not facing questions, and he had to do something about it. Last week, he gave three interviews, to ANI, to IBN network and to ETV.
     In all three meetings, the interviewers were hesitant and nervous, Modi was uncomfortable but autocratic, and the questions were soft and superficial. Yes, it is a fact that ETV is owned by Ambani, and that TV18, which runs the IBN network, is also mortgaged to Ambani. But let us not get distracted by that.
  I have seen journalists get overawed by great statesmen or great philosophers, it happens. But this was not that. The journalists here were nervous, they were careful that they should not offend him, when all their lives, they do nothing but offend guests in their studios. So either the conditions were laid out carefully by the BJP and the 'right' journalists selected, or we must face the fact that it is not only Muslims and small children who are scared of Modi, but also Hindu adults in the media.
     What an opportunity wasted. The media had a chance to really bring this prime ministerial candidate close to the people by going prepared with good homework and exploring issues facing the nation. By fixing the interviews in this manner, even the BJP has not gained - Narendra Modi has come out as a domeneering babu with superficial and immature views on important issues. A fourth 'meet-the-press' is scheduled with ABP TV tonight. Watch it if you can.
     Have you noticed how our television media does its interviews, especially with VIPs who it is afraid of? It has a list of questions, and it hops from one to the next like a machine, as if it has not listened at all to the previous answer. For eg, to a question on tainted politicians, Modi says that, if he becomes PM, he will write to the Supreme Court and ask for special courts to decide on criminal cases against MPs within one year. And the immature journalist says, okay sir, my next question.is... Excuse me, media lady, don't you know that this fast-track settling of cases against politicians was actually suggested by the Supreme Court last month? Have you forgotten that all along, both BJP and Congress have together tried to resist any court action against tainted MPs? In fact, BJP agreed to support Congress against the Supreme Court which ruled that convicted Laloo Yadav should be immediately suspended from the Lok Sabha.
     Additionally, this was also a great opening for the journalist to counter Modi, by asking, "So in your ten years as CM, how many times have you written to the High Court here asking for special courts to settle cases quickly against tainted MLAs of Gujarat?" Because the fact is that the Gujarat cabinet has so many ministers facing serious criminal charges like murder. If the journalist had done this, that would have been a real interview - what we got instead was a bland PR exercise.
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     Mumbai's enfant terrible Raj Thakeray was all over the national news channels in a concentrated presence last Thursday, appearing on IBN, TimesNow, IndiaTV and ABP all on one day (there may be more). What was his reason for this blitzkrieg, I do not know. But having watched the three Hindi interviews, let me tell you that he raved, ranted, rebuked, lambasted, admonished, censured, and even sulked and threatened to walk away. What an immature show.
     Raj has been compared with his late uncle Bal Thackeray, but let me tell you that this kid is nothing like the old man. I have met the older don 20 years ago; he was a firebrand, yes, but behind it was an intelligent and calculating brain, and he could also charm you if he wanted to. This younger don-in-the-making has none of those qualities. He is just a precocious kid who acts as if he has been robbed of his lollipop - he could benefit tremendously with some counseling sessions. 
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     Lastly, could not help but watch some IPL matches with Hindi commentary, and therefore could not help but listen to the non-stop nonsense of Navjot Sidhu..What is wrong with him? I cannot pinpoint it, not having formally studied medical science, but I feel he has some circuit in his brain disconnected. He reacts at the level of words, with no logical connection between one sentence and the next, and with no real connection between what is happening and what he is saying. Worse, he reacts to his own words, so that his first sentence provokes his second, and that provokes his third, and so on... this chap is a monologue moron.    
     Many times, Sidhu speaks for the entire duration of one over (four to five minutes), but with no reporting on what is actually happening - he has got lost in his own meaningless words. And at the end of it all, he always sports an iditotic smile, he is not even aware of what an ass he is making of himself. Yet another candidate for urgent counseling. 
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So clearly, Season 2014 seems to be a season of immaturity on television.