Posts Tagged ‘Shammy Baweja’

Jessica Lal, Tehelka, Bina Ramani & the media

15 February 2014

bird-in-a-banyan-tree-bina-ramani

It was in South Delhi socialite Bina Ramani‘s Tamarind Court restaurant that Jessica Lall, a “model who worked as a celebrity barmaid”, was shot dead in 1999 by Manu Sharma, the son of Congress politician Venod Sharma.

Initially exonerated of the charges, the case turned full turtle for Sharma following a sting operation by Harinder Baweja, then with Tehelka magazine. Manu Sharma was eventually found guilty.

As the owner of the restaurant which was the scene of the crime, Bina Ramani spent nine days in jail in the case. She has an interview with Tehelka this week following the release of her book Bird in a Banyan Tree:

You have been sharply critical of the role media played in the aftermath of the Jessica Lal trial. Yet, it was a Tehelka investigation that brought out the truth. Do you think media can ensure justice?

It is not a guarantee that the media can ensure justice but it can certainly carve the path to it. Conversely, it can derail justice when it becomes over-zealous about its point of view. The media in India is extremely powerful and can wield a lot of influence—it should therefore be thorough i its investigation.

For the record, the news channel NewsX is now owned by Kartikeya Sharma, brother of Manu Sharma, through his company Information TV.

The Sharma family’s Piccadilly group also now owns M.J. Akbar-founded The Sunday Guardian, whose chairman is Ram Jethmalani, whose interview with Karan Thapar is must-watch television.

Also read: Note to directors: It was Shammy, nor Barkha

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?

The face behind a famous byline behind an award

The face behind a famous byline behind an Award

4 August 2009

Indian media advertisements are largely anonymous. When a newspaper touts its circulation or a television station toots its own horn, or a staffer wins any of the many awards, the ads are mostly built around the organisations.

If there has to be a face, it is usually of the founder or promoter or some pumped-up manager. Rarely that of a journalist.

Tehelka, the webzine turned weekly offline magazine, makes a small but welcome change by putting a face to its latest achievement, the Karpoor Chandra Kulish international award bestowed on its news and investigations editor, Harinder Baweja, for her reporting from Muridke, the headquarters of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, shortly after the 26/11 seige of Bombay.

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