Note to directors: It was Shammy not Barkha

24 January 2011

No One Killed Jessica?

Well, someone ‘killed’ Harinder Baweja.

Raj Kumar Gupta, the director of last weekend’s multiplex marvel—in which Rani Mukherji essays the role of a single, bitchy, aggressive, passionate, foul-mouthed, investigative journalist probing the murder of the model Jessica Lal at a Delhi bar—may have made the world believe that his ‘wet dream’ was NDTV’s Barkha Dutt.

But, writes Priya Ramani, the editor of Lounge, the Saturday section of Mint, the sting operation that was key to the reopening of the Jessica Lal murder case was not Dutt’s (or NDTV’s) handiwork, but of Harinder Baweja’s (and Tehelka‘s). And, Baweja gets no credit in the movie whatsoever.

Writes Ramani:

“What a guy, I thought when I read Harinder Baweja’s riveting post-Babri Masjid expose in India Today magazine in 1993.

“The Bharatiya Janata Party was then claiming the demolition of the mosque was nothing compared to the 40 temples that had been razed in Kashmir. Ask them for a list, editor Aroon Purie told Baweja, and go see if the temples have actually been destroyed.

“It was January and snowing in a turbulent Kashmir as Baweja and a photographer trudged from one temple to another—and found all of them intact. They were nearly kidnapped by AK-47 wielding men; at another temple they had to face a mob and firing.

“When I met Baweja a few years later, he turned out to be a she. A 5ft, 1-inch she who prefers to be called Shammy and always wears saris with sexy, sleeveless blouses in summer and winter. When the Taliban captured Kabul, Shammy almost travelled there with her sleeveless blouses.

“Shammy is also the perfect host and believes her parties are a hit only if dinner is served after midnight.”

Read the full article: Journalism’s real wet dream

Also read: Is abusing politicians the nation’s agenda?

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2 Responses to “Note to directors: It was Shammy not Barkha”

  1. Danish Khan Says:

    When I watched the movie I too had the same feeling. However, the movie gives credit to Tehelka at the end and does not mention NDTV anywhere in the credit even though its logo is shown in the background throughout the film.

  2. Rahul Bhatia Says:

    Hi, I spoke with the movie’s director, Raj Kumar Gupta, about Baweja a week before his movie was out. He explained that his attempts to meet Baweja were futile. (I had no reason to check it out because I wasn’t using it in the story) It was emphasized again and again that the character was a composite.

    Still, his decision to put a barely composite Barkha-type character in Baweja’s place was baffling. (A cinematic version of ‘all you journalists are the same’, I thought.)


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