Posts Tagged ‘Mumbai Mirror’

Do readers and viewers care for film reviews?

2 September 2013

How much do newspaper and magazine readers, internet surfers and television viewers, care for movie reviews? Do reviews help make up their minds on whether to watch a film or not? Do reviews affect box-office returns? Does a lower rating prompt filmmakers (and filmgoers) to take a higher road?

The weekend supplement of Business Standard newspaper has compiled a list of recent films and weighed their collections against the “stars” awarded by various reviewers. It proves, as the American stand-up George Carlin used to say, that you can never overestimate the intelligence of the general public.

“Have I re-thought a review because a film became a hit? No,” says Mayank Shekhar, formerly of Mumbai Mirror and Hindustan Times. “But I do consider the box office collection as a sort of public review. A review is just about 700-800 words as against the monstrous machinery of filmmaking and publicity on TV, radio spots, the web and hoardings.”

For the record, film reviews are a messy scene in India where newspaper and TV companies also have movie distribution and out of home advertising interests, which means reviewers and critics have their hands tied.

Image: courtesy Business Standard

Read the full story: Bad review? Who cares

Also read: Khalid Mohamed on TOI, DNA and the stars

‘B’ollywood journalism is about PR and pimping’

Has DNA got rid of a pesky film reviewer?

Adoor: There is hardly any good film criticism in India

The Times of India: one film, one review, three ratings

Singer accuses film critic of sexual assault

The 5 stereotypes of journalists in Bollywood

16 August 2013
Jaane-Bhi-Do-Yaaro

In the 1983 hit comedy, Jaane bhi do yaaro, Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Vaswani work as freelance photographers for Khabardar, a muckraking magazine edited by “Shobha Sen”, played by Bhakti Barve Inamdar

Much as the role of the hero and the heroine has morphed in the Hindi film industry, so has the depiction of the villain and the vamp—and, of course, the journalist.

From a pure print person till well into the late 1980s, the journalist on film is now largely a TV person.

From a poorly paid, poorly dressed, paan-chewing jholawala working for a “cause”, we are now (largely) shown as slick, loud-mouthed, loose-tongued buffoons, in bed with the crooked and the corrupt, and not very different from them.

Two young London-based Indian journalists, Ruhi Khan (formerly of Hindustan Times, Mumbai Mirror & NDTV) and her husband Danish Khan (formerly of Mid-Day and Mumbai Mirror), have analysed 33 films over the last 30 years and written a paper for the journal “The Image of the Journalist in Popular Culturepublished by the University of Southern California at Annenberg.

“Our analysis revealed five popular representations of the journalist that we have classified as romantic companion, glamour chaser, investigative superhero, power magnate, and brainless mouthpiece.

“These categories, though distinct, can also find themselves sharing screen space and often overlapping in the same film’s narrative.

“These stereotypes have been so strongly entrenched in Bollywood scripts that even films inspired by reallife incidences fail to break free of them.”

Here, the Khans introduce their work.

***

By RUHI KHAN and DANISH KHAN

Working as journalists in India’s tinsel town Mumbai-home to Bollywood cinema, one often comes across various public prejudices against the reporter. From being revered and trusted to help foster change for the better, to being accused of trivialising the profession or manipulating news for profits.

The IJPC article stemmed for our desire to find out how such public perceptions are influenced. In this article we analyse only one element – perhaps one of the greatest factors that can affect mass perceptions—Bollywood films.

Most commercial films are not a prism reflecting reality, but a figment of someone’s imagination and desire to see the world as he or she would like to. Hindi film is devoid of much reality and is often an exaggeration, yet it defines its audience’s aspirations and perceptions.

And this is what the article reflects—the caricature images of journalists portrayed by Bollywood, from their most Romeo-like romantic image to their most macho Rambo superhero.

We analysed 33 films over a 30-year period from 1981 to 2011, ranging from “Mr. India” to “Rockstar,” where the role of the journalist or media has been important in the film’s narrative script or has been entrenched in public memory for its journalistic aspects.

Our analysis revealed five popular representations of journalists. We found many Bollywood films depicting journalists as a Romantic Companion to the other lead protagonist. This is where the focus is on the scribe’s singing, dancing or seducing skills rather than his reporting.

A more realistic category is the Glamour Chaser where reporters are portrayed as flies fluttering around a ‘celebrity’ candy. Need we say more on this, doesn’t seem much difference in real and reel life journalists in this category?

In the Investigative Superhero category the journalist makes powerful enemies in the course of his or her investigative work, just like a superhero who takes on the bad guys. This category showed us two opposite depictions of journalists. While the first half of the period in which our analysis takes place showed investigative reporters often paying a heavy price for their work- often being martyrs in the process; in the latter part the journalist began leveraging his or her profession to safeguard himself or herself by garnering the power of the fourth estate and mobilizing public support and scrutiny.

Next, category Power Magnate shows the media as ‘kingmakers’ holding the power to sway decisions on prominent issues. Prominent senior journalists are ‘sense-makers’ where in they have the power to influence how the public should interpret complex issues.

The last category is the one most journalists in real life are very uncomfortable to even acknowledge but the reel gives plenty of examples to entrench it strongly in public memory—the Brainless Mouthpiece speaks of the most prevalent public perception where journalists are shown as brainless twits who simply follow instructions, bytes, or gossip without questioning anything.

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Read the full paper: From Romeo to Rambo

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Raveen Tandon as Shobha De: Glamourous, sexy, brainy, seductive

Look, who wants to play Christiane Amanpour: Kareena Kapoor

Emran Hashmi to play Rajdeep Sardesai, Arnab Goswami

Journalism film Dev Anand didn’t make featuring Shekhar Gupta

Ram Gopal Verma‘s hit and Rann: ‘I want to expose media’

Will the underworld a hot reporter like Gul Panag?

Anju Mahendroo plays queen bee of film journalism, Devyani

For Sashi Kumar, Ranganath Bharadwaj, acting is second nature

Finally, Karnataka gets an acting chief minister: Ravi Belagere

Why Times Now doesn’t share TOI’s Aman ki Asha

28 May 2013

On its edit page today, The Times of India has provided an extraordinary explication of the guiding philosophy behind the various newspapers, radio and TV stations that are part of the Times group: federalism.

Authored by Kaushik Murali and Saubhik Chakrabarti, the 926-word piece says this federalism means Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL) has no “house view or line”: its many publications are free to do what they want.

This allows them to evolve, in different ways, with different views, approaches, at different paces, and in response to different challenges and consumer needs.

“To illustrate, if TOI were to be considered the main BCCL publication, many times the Navbharat Times‘ coverage may be opposite of TOI‘s.

“The entire format and design of city-specific local newspapers like Mumbai Mirror will always be different from that of TOI‘s, TOI Crest will have a different style of journalism to TOI‘s and NBT is sometimes found to be running editorials with a headline that proudly proclaims “TOI ke virudh“!

“In fact, much to the consternation of many, Times Now anchors are seen fulminating against Pakistan, sometimes on the same day as TOI carries the Aman ki Asha campaign! Essentially, then, all newspapers within the group have the freedom to have entirely opposing viewpoints — unparalleled pluralism — on the same topic.”

Read the full article: Federalism: the BCCL bedrock

Africa-watcher Hari Sharan Chhabra is no more

17 December 2012

On the pages of The Times of India in Delhi, the grim news of the passing of an Indian who looked at a part of the world most of the media doesn’t: Hari Sharan Chhabra, editor of Africa Diary and World Focus and a frequent contributor to the Economic & Political Weekly (EPW).

Chhabra’s elder son, Aseem Chhabra, has been one of the stellar names from New York covering the arts for Rediff.com, India Abroad and Mumbai Mirror, among a range of publications.

***

Also read: Alfred D’ Cruz: The Times of India‘s first Indian sub

Tarun Sehrwat, 22 and killed in the line of duty

Chari, a lens legend at The Hindu

Harishchandra Lachke: A pioneering cartoonist

T.N. Shanbag: Man who educated Bombay journos

Rajan Bala: cricket writer of cricket writers

Jyoti Sanyal: The language terrorist and teacher

Russy Karanjia: The bulldog of an editor

Sabina Sehgal Saikia: The resident food writer

M.G. Moinuddin: The self-taught newspaper designer

Naresh Chandra Rajkhowa: Journo who broke Dalai Lama story

J. Dey: When eagles are silent, parrots jabber

E. Raghavan: Ex-ET, TOI, Vijaya Karnataka editor

Prakash Kardaley: When god cries when the best arrive

Pratima Puri: India’s first TV news reader passes away

Tejeshwar Singh: A baritone falls silent watching the cacophony

N.S. Jagannathan: Ex-editor of Indian Express

K.M. Mathew: chief of editor of Malayala Manorama

Amita Malik: the ‘first lady of Indian media’

***

V.N. Subba Rao, an Express legend, is no more

K.R. Prahlad: In the end, death becomes a one-liner

M.R. Shivanna: A 24×7 journalist is no more

C.P. Chinnappa: A song for an unsung hero

The TOI lensman who nailed Ajmal Kasab’s fate

22 November 2012

Sebastian D’Souza, the photo editor of Mumbai Mirror, with the photograph that he took of Ajmal Kasab inside Victoria Terminus on the night of 26 November 2008

Sebastian D’Douza, then photo editor of Mumbai Mirror, took 19 photographs on the night of 26 November 2008, including the iconic one of Ajmal Kasab striding across the corridors of Bombay’s Victoria Terminus station, spraying bullets.

Now retired, “Saby”, as the lensman is known to friends and colleagues, testified before the trial judge, M.L. Tahiliyani, who called his testimony “blemishless”.

In August this year, the Supreme Court noted:

“While dealing with the VT carnage, we must take note of two witnesses (Saby and Shriram Vernekar). Their evidence is extraordinary in that they not only witnessed the incident but also made a visual record of the event by taking pictures of the two killers in action and their victims… Both the witnesses, caring little for their own safety and displaying exemplary professionalism, followed the killers,” said the SC.

After Kasab was hanged yesterday, The Times of India quotes Sebastian D’Souza as saying:

“While I can’t be happy over anybody’s death, Kasab’s hanging does put an end to this sordid chapter and may help the victims get some closure.”

***

Thomas Fuller profiled D’Souza for the International Herald Tribune:

When the gunfire started, Sebastian D’Souza was well placed to respond. From his office directly across the street, D’Souza, the photo editor of Mumbai Mirror, grabbed his Nikon and two lenses and headed out into the blood-soaked night.

Peering from behind pillars and running in and out of empty train cars, he emerged with the singular iconic image of the attacks: a clear shot of one of the gunmen.

“I was shaking, but I kept shooting,” D’Souza said as he scrolled through his pictures of the attacks in a recent interview at his office.

D’Souza’s photo of Muhammad Ajmal Kasab confidently striding through Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus carrying an assault rife with one hand, finger extended toward the trigger, has been printed and reprinted in newspapers here and flashed daily on television screens.

Sebastian D’Souza recounted the story in The Times of India:

“In the distance we saw two dark figures carrying rucksacks but weren’t sure who they were.”

Saby asked the constable to fire. One of the two figures swung at the sound and fired back. Looking over the barrel of a government-issue rifle Saby took his first shot of the night. Seconds later, he saw the owner of the book stall at the platform slump down, writhing in pain.

This was Saby’s second shot before he saw Shashank Shinde’s lifeless body. “It was the first realisation I had that I was in a far more serious situation than anything I’d covered before.” He watched the gunmen pump two more bullets into the book stall owner to make sure he was dead.

He also saw, from his hiding place, an old woman in an orange navwari sari walk past, oblivious as a sleepwalker; the gunmen looking at her and then away for other targets.

“I was terrified for her but they just let her walk by. I wonder why.”

By now he was hiding in one of the empty train compartments where he fitted the telephoto lens onto his Nikon D-200, and then crouching out barely a few inches he shot a couple of frames of one of the terrorists. He was no more than a boy, hair cut like Shah Rukh Khan in his Baazigar days, dressed in neatly ironed gray cargos, black tee-shirt, and carrying a bag that seemed heavier than his weight.

In the other hand he carried a Kalashnikov which, Saby saw clearly through his lens now, was raised in his direction.

Link via M.V.J. Kar

Also read: ‘I wish I had a gun rather than a camera’

External reading: Supreme Court praises TOI photographers

30-plus, glamourous, sexy, brainy and seductive*

16 November 2012

Raveena Tandon is playing Shobhaa De, the former editor of Stardust, Society and Celebrity, in the Hindi film Shobhana’s Seven Nights that is already doing the rounds at international film festivals. But quite clearly the journalist turned best-selling author is not amused.

In an interview with Kavitha Shanmugham of The Telegraph last Sunday, Tandon says:

“The movie is about a gossip columnist and pulp fiction writer, and most people are assuming that it’s about Shobhaa De. I would say some traits of the character—such as her spunk and attitude—are inspired by her, but the story is not.

“Shobhaa De is a dear friend and avery different person from the one depicted in the film. However, her publisher is called Harry Davidar in the film and the logo of his publishing house does look like a penguin. That part is deliberate (smiles mischeviously).”

However, in January, the movie’s director, Sudipto Chattopadhyay hadtold Mumbai Mirror that the character was clearly based on De:

“Yes, Raveena plays a character based on Shobhaa De, who’s a dear friend of mine. So, I’ve taken the liberty of borrowing from her personality. I needed someone 30-plus, glamorous, sexy, brainy and seductive to play the part, and Raveena was my first and last choice.”

*Search engine optimisation techniques at work

Also read: Will underworld dons trust such a hot reporter?

Enter: the queen bee of Bollywood film journalists

Mouth ka saudagar to play Arnab and Rajdeep

For some journos, acting is second string in bow

Finally, Karnataka gets an ‘acting’ chief minister

Look, who wants to play Christiane Amanpour!

IRS sparks TOI-Mumbai Mirror vs DNA-HT battle

23 December 2011

Mumbai Mirror was launched seven years ago to protect The Times of India from the new kids on the block, DNA and Hindustan Times, on its hometurf.

TOI says the latest Indian Readership Survey (IRS) puts Mirror‘s average issue readership (AIR) at 7.54 lakh copies, ahead of both DNA and HT.

In Mumbai, TOI remained the dominant No. 1 with 15.35 lakh readers, while Mumbai Mirror maintained its No. 2 position with 7.54 lakh readers. The top two newspapers in Mumbai thus continue to be from the Times Group stable.

A front-page announcement in Mirror says:

“According to the latest figures released by IRS, Mumbai Mirror retains its position as the No. 2 English language newspaper in the city, still ahead of the competition and behind only the ever-large presence of The Times of India.”

On the other hand, DNA claims TOI has lost nearly two lakh readers since its 2007 launch.

Not to be left behind, Hindustan Times‘s front-page story too harps on ToI‘s decline.

HT‘s daily readership grew by 35,000 in Mumbai over the previous round while the main rival, The Times of India, lost 53,000 readers, according to the IRS (Q3, 2011) results…. DNA is the third among the three English broadsheet dailies in the city with an AIR of 6.8 lakh.

Hindustan Times is the only newspaper in Mumbai to have increased readership in 12 of the last 13 IRS rounds. In fact, since becoming Mumbai’s No2 English broadsheet in December 2010, HT has added 1.59 lakh readers over the last 4 rounds.”

The journalism film that Dev Anand didn’t make

5 December 2011

Indian Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta pens a warm and personal profile of the departed Bollywood star Dev Anand in today’s paper, with this concluding first-person experience:

“His curiosity about my life and years as a reporter too was never-ending. Sometimes, on those long evenings, I would end up telling him stories from the pickets, trenches, minefields and snipers’ alleys just as I might tell my children. And he listened just as curiously as the children.

“So he said to me one day, ‘Shekhar, let me make a film on your life.’

“I said thank you, and that it was such a funny idea.

“But he said no, there will be a journalist like you who goes from one battlefield to another, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur under tribal insurgencies, Amritsar under Bhindranwale and Operation Bluestar, the massacres at Nellie and in Delhi after Indira Gandhi’s assassination, Afghanistan and Pakistan during the first (and “good”) jihad against the Soviets, Jaffna under LTTE and IPKF, Baghdad’s Al Rashid hotel and Jerusalem under Scud missile attacks in the first Gulf War — he remembered all the various stops in my years of reporting conflict.

“There will be many, many interesting women in his life, including an ambitious politician, a Pakistani spy and a pretty foreign journalist, he said, ‘what a film it will turn out to be, Shekhar, socho zara.’

“I asked him, cheekily, so, Dev Saab, who will play me in your film?

“‘For the younger phase, we will have to find somebody. Lekin thoda senior hone ke baad,’ he said, of course he would be playing that lead role himself!”

At the time of the interaction, Dev Anand was 80 years old and Shekhar Gupta, 46.

***

Pankaj Vohra, political editor of the Hindustan Times, writes in today’s paper:

“I remember that I had invited him to the Press Club of India for a “Meet the Press” programme, just before Sache Ka Bol Bala was to be released. There was no electronic media and I doubt that any actor in our history has received the kind of coverage he got on the front pages of every newspaper, which came out from Delhi.

“The story is that originally, the report was slated for page three in the Dainik Hindustan. But when the night foreman saw Dev Anand’s picture and the report, he ran it on the front page telling his colleagues that he was prepared to face the consequences the next day as “Dev Anand has to be on page one”. This is the kind of committed following he had.”

***

Raja Sen in Mumbai Mirror:

“I was lying in bed, bleary eyed and half-asleep, making up for a particularly long and raucous night when the phone rang. “This is Dev Anand,” the voice trilled, in that exact iconic, oft-mimicked tone we’ve all heard, and I instantly, instinctively stood up — y know, like in the movies where hawaldaars stand while talking to the superintendent.

“Devsaab commandeered respect by default, regardless of fading importance and diminishing cinematic quality, and here he was calling up in response to an SMS I’d sent about an interview and totally throwing me off balance in the process, of course.

Goldie [Anand] would have cast you as a spy in the 70s”, he laughed later when I sat across from him in his Bandra office. He asked me what I’d like to drink, and then ordered me tea with a flourish — “inke liye aisi chai laana ki unhe yaar rahein kahan chai pee thi” — in that tone again, naturally, with a wink thrown in, and proceeded to talk.”

***

Bharati Dubey in The Times of India:

“The first time ever spoke to Dev Anand was after the release of his 1994 film Gangster. ‘I read your review titled ‘Gangster Disaster’,’ said the legendary actor over the phone. ‘You are entitled to your opinion. Please come and meet me at my pent house in Bandra….’

“His invitations were always personally written and he followed them up with a reminder phone call…. One never needed to go through a secretary to fix up a meeting with Dev Anand ‘I’m available on this number after 2 pm,’ he would say ‘Call me and we shall meet.'”

Read the Express article: Deeply in love with life and with himself

Read the HT article: Fiercely independent, fearless and individualistic

Read the Mumbai Mirror article: Salaam, Dev saab

Read the ToI article: Goodbye guide to romance

Journalist arrested in journalist’s murder case

25 November 2011

Jigna Vora, the deputy bureau chief of The Asian Age, Bombay, who was arrested today in connection with the dastardly murder of Mid-Day journalist J. Dey.

Vora, who was formerly of Mumbai Mirror, has been charged under Section 120 (b) of the Indian penal code (conspiracy), read with 302 (murder) and Maharashtra control of organised crime Act (MCOCA).

The police say she passed on information such as email IDs, residential addresses, motorcycle number and J Dey’s movements to the organised crime syndicate, based on which the murder was orchestrated.

Photograph: courtesy Mid-Day

Also read: J. Dey: ‘When eages are silent, parrots jabber’

Enter: The queen bee of Bombay film journalists

4 October 2011

Anju Mahendroo (in picture), the colourful actress who once boasted of an off-field partnership with cricket legend Gary Sobers, is to play the role of the gossip columnist Devyani Chaubal in The Dirty Picture, based on southern sleaze queen Silk Smitha‘s life.

Devyani Chaubal wrote the saucy Frankly Speaking column in the now-defunct film magazine Star & Style, mixing insider knowledge with insinuations in bitchy Hinglish prose, a style emulated by several of her contemporaries, including Shobha De.

According to Mumbai Mirror, it was Anju herself who suggested to the movie’s director that her character should be based on Devyani.

“I told Milan Luthria that I knew Devyani at a personal level and it would be easier for me to base my character on her.

“In one scene, Vidya Balan [who plays Silk Smitha] comes up to me and asks ‘Who are you?’

“When I introduce myself, she shoots back, ‘Oh so you are the one who writes all the nasty things about me’.

“And then I answer back, ‘Well, it’s better to be written about than not’.”

Read the full article: Anju turns controversial journo

View a sample of Devyani’s writing: here

Also read: For some journos, acting is second string in bow

Finally, Karnataka gets an ‘acting’ chief minister

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