The recent face-off between Congress MP and business man Naveen Jindal and Zee News is more like the pot saying go away to the kettle. In India, hush-hush and nod-nod are the ways of doing business with corruption endemic to the system. Sadly, journalism succumbed to the lures way too early.
The Indian media industry is forecast to achieve a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 85% in 2011-2012, and the growth would largely be driven by print media. Though, the challenges facing the Indian print media industry are quite diverse from their global counterparts. The world media houses are currently grappling with issues of digitization, economy, cost, etc., on the other hand Indian media houses are busy minting money through deals with stakeholders. The news here is owned by politicians and paid for by those who can afford and gain from it. Newspapers today are more about affiliations than about journalism.
A hundred crore seems a small amount to pay for saving a murky bit of information. Today, corruption is as intrinsic to the media industry as it is to politics of India.
The likes of Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai are not crusaders taking on key issues, they are some celebrities themselves taking interviews of celebrities against lavish backgrounds of five star hotels or inviting stakeholders to debate their own issues in the studios duly served with snacks. Young India, flushed with resources finds journalism a cool career opportunity. Needless to say, journalism schools are mushrooming by dime a dozen to teach them how to read and create news. These celebrity journalists are a mere shadow of their counterparts from freedom struggle who were jailed for writing a piece of news. Can these studio-bred journalists be role models enough to guide the strength and purity of gigantic democracy like India?
In this digital fast-paced scenario, as the industry is moving towards increased investments to cope the pressures of digitization, the key challenge for India remains the crusade against issues.
The world witnessed an incredible India with the XIX Commonwealth Games—a country of incredible extremes. The country that has charmed the world with its rich cultural and heritage treasures stunned the world by goofing up the preparations for the XIX Commonwealth Games currently being hosted in Delhi. It is a huge honor and privilege to be able to win the bid for the hosting of this game but a lot of things went wrong down the seven years given for preparation. Media all over the world went berserk with criticism and slur. Indian media too was not far behind. This is what brings us to the strangeness of the situation, the position of media and its role in perspective of our Commonwealth Games.
Indian media surfaced with its stories of horrid corruption and lousy preparation just a couple of months to the Games. The point here is what were they following since the day Delhi was awarded the Games’ hosting? Today we have more than a dozen channels fore bearing the news front but sadly they seem to follow the wrong news more often. It’s not the authorities that have woken up late for the preparation but the media itself was sleeping over it. Neither did the media pose questions to the newly formed government over the Commonwealth Games when they came into power, nor did it book Delhi Prime Minister Sheila Dikshit, OC Chairman Suresh Kalmadi or Sports Minister MS Gill well in time. True, the perpetrators were busy hauling gold rather than creating infrastructure but media is equally to be blamed for missing it altogether until India as a country was neck deep in trouble. What came out as flashing news and to the dismay and heartbreak of Indians just a couple of months before the Games did help to salvage the situation but that was about it—it did nothing better than “salvaging”. Had the seven years gone into the preparation within the hawk eye of media of course, India would have prevented the muck that was thrown into its face internationally.
Media indeed played the big daddy through out the Commonwealth controversy bullying the authorities for their shortfalls and corruption, but somewhere they went too far with it. With just a week left to the Commonwealth Games, media was all over the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium pulling out pictures of live reptiles habituating the host stadium. It went overboard with these stories and forgot its responsibility as an Indian media. What was needed at this hour was stories that encouraged the world of Indian capabilities rather of its eminent struggle to pull up an act. The over proportionate stories of Indian handicap resulted in leading athletes of the world pulling out of the Games sighting security as concern. Countries like Australia threatened to boycott the Games completely. Unfortunately Indian media never realized that responsible reporting is the hour of the need rather bullying and bashing their own country’s pride.
Today, as we are past through a “spectacular” opening ceremony and into the second week of the Games with more than forty medals in Indian kitty including twenty four gold and several silver, media is yet again going overboard with the way we as an India have managed to place ourselves back into the good books of the sporting arena. I believe, caution should be the need of the hour, and reporting keeping in mind the fact that any bridge, any pedestal can collapse anytime, coz at the end of the day XIX Commonwealth Games is a pulled up act rather a well planned event. Sigh!
There is so much Mani Ratnam could have done with the piece he took from Ramayana to interpret, but seems he got lost with managing two production (Hindi and Tamil) at the same time. He set out to explore the shades of Raavan’s character, of his not just being black or grey but yellow too. Ratnam probably wanted to paint each head of Raavan as different character, of him being deified by the locals, of being a Robinhood, of being a terror, but the canvas he chose seemed not large enough.
Abhishek Bachchan in the Hindi version of Raavan
That’s when I wish I knew Tamil. Vikram exuded some great control over his emotions in the glimpses of footage he managed to extract from Ash-Abhi hullaballoo, that Mani Ratnam create in hindi version of Raavan.
Vikram in the Tamil version of Raavanan
The paper thin plot concentrated in the three primary characters of Beera, Ragini and Dev. Beera abducted Dev’s wife to avenge his sister’s rape driving her to suicide. But instead of mindlessly killing Ragini he mindlessly saves her when she attempts a suicide by falling off the cliff on being abducted. The movie did had its Mani Ratnam touches but somehow it wasn’t consistent. The central plot of the relationship between three characters, of their changing dynamic and the various shades they exude holds the signature Mani Ratnam treatment, but other character in the fringes either make or break it because of their own caliber rather Mani’s directorial skills.
Beera falls for Ragini’s resplendent beauty (some awesome work by Santosh Sivan and Manikandan who merges Aishwarya Rai with the scenic beauty of Athirappilly Falls and other breathtaking locales that Mani chose around South India) and courage displayed (probably reminding him of the courge his newlywed abandoned sister showed when taken in police custody.) The abductor then falls in love with her and keeps asking her hostage if she would stay with him? Ragini had a perfect married life and ideal husband or so she believed. Beera came in to her life to pierce holes into it and her illusion breaks apart. She screamed, hauled and believed that her husband would come to her rescue within fourteen minutes but Dev seemed more interested in capturing the bandit than rescuing his wife (Dev kills the messenger for peace whereas any other would have utilized it to reach to his wife) and does not turn up till the fourteenth day (reference to Ramayan’s number fourteen.) Ragini’s indecisiveness with her loyalties increasingly became evident as the movie progressed and she gets back to Dev.
The climax of the movie did bring out the various imageries of good, bad against the colour white and black. The fight between Beera in black and Dev in white on the bridge is what Ratnam has depicted in “Yuva” as well. What Ratnam wanted to explore here was not the good, bad and evil, but how the hero can have shades of grey and how a bandit is more sensitive towards her hostage’s sensitivities. Beera is careful not to hurt Ragini but Dev is more efforted towards his duties as a cop than as a husband.
What is disappointing in the movie is the postured acting of Aishwarya and confounding animation of Abhishek. A far cry from their stellar stroke of “Guru.” There were so many moments in the movie that could have been great for want of acting caliber by Abhi_Ash. That’s when I felt my inadequacies with Tamil language. Beera’s character had so much to emote rather than the head shake and dirty grin. The diractor too felt their want and used shaky camera but only to add to audience’s frustration. I am hopeful that Vikram did bring about the magic of Beera through the screen.
The sub characters came and went without proper introduction or conclusion to their part of the story (though this is not new to Ratnam’s narrative style has done it before in “Dil se.”) It was only Beera’s sister Jamunia (Priyamani) who got a conclusion but more so because she was the one who sets the ball rolling. Others characters like the ones played by Ravi Kishan and Govinda disappeared in the end as the spotlight moved to the three central characters. Ravi Kishan effortlessly brought about the torn between innocence and revenge of a bandit for which Abhishek struggled till the end. Govinda was as much a nuisance as he is in any of his movies. Sadly, Mani Ratnam could not keep up his own expectation let alone help Govinda’s image.
The saving grace of the movie was few breathtaking moments created by Mani, Sivan and Rehman. Few of the shots with Rehman’s score (he did the background as well), Sivan (or Manikanda- we would not know) and the genious of Ratnam would linger on till a long time after the movie has ended. The shot were Aishwarya jumps off the cliff when taken into abduction by Abhishek and later when Abhishek falls off after being shooted with Rehman’s rendition of “Ja ud ja re” playing… these are some of the images to take back home.
It’s been long time since I’ve written anything. Even the daily dairy got tucked away somewhere in corner. I’ve used writing for being whatever I am today. All the sorrows, pain, dilemmas, apprehension was poured down to my dear friend with white pages. My writing gave it varied hues of red, blue, grays and even black. Many got to know about the diary and eyed it to know all that I was and felt. It was thought to be easier way of knowing me than to well, trying to know me! Obvious as it was I guarded it zealously.
Sachin read it. Thankfully he was too matured to react to nonsense that sometime creep in the depth of heart and soul. And not to forget he read it like a book, so occasionally giving references out of it.
Blogging has become such a rage. If one is here and now one must blog! The idea is likeable merely because it is good networking and an opportunity to let the creative juices flow.
I wanted to be into it but certain apprehensions marked my foray. Wouldn’t it be rendering thoughts open for all to read it like a book!? The choice of subject is definitely personal but isn’t a blog some personal space that I would allow others with an access to. Let’s give it a shot. Personal thoughts need not be guarded in a fort. Hope the attempt helps me to explore a whole new experience, that of blogging and more so writing again.