Monthly Archives: November 2012

Bal Thackeray’s banter at FPJ’s ‘Malayali Club’

T.J.S. George, the founder-editor of Asiaweek magazine, who worked under the legendary S. Sadanand at the Free Press Journal in Bombay, on their common-colleague and staff cartoonist, Bal Thackeray:

“Spicy coffee-house theories spread that Thackeray had developed a personal grudge against South Indians. There was talk that he was jealous of R.K. Laxman who started out in FPJ and went on to glory while he, Thackeray, was denied his due. In fact, Thackeray not only had high regard for Laxman, but counted South Indians among his buddies in FPJ.

“There was a good deal of banter. Thackeray called the FPJ news desk the Malayali Club. The celebrated crime reporter M.P. Iyer constantly  showered friendly abuse on Thackeray. But Thackeray would not take offence because Iyer used colloquial Marathi with a brilliance Thackeray could not command.

“At least on one occasion, Thackeray paid public tribute to Iyer and S.Sadanand, FPJ’s founder, holding them up as models for young journalists to follow.”

Read the full article: A cartoonist with a sense of humour

Illustration: Mario Miranda for Upper Crust

Justice Katju ‘Sorry’ for calling journos idiots

Within days of his appointment as the chairman of the Press Council of India in October 2011, immediately following his retirement as a judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Markandey Katju ran afoul of his colleagues on the council with his sweeping remark that he had a “poor opinion” of most journalists.

The “tendentious and offensive” remarks, which amounted to the fence eating the crop it was supposed to defend, were roundly criticised by the editors guild of India and the broadcast editors’ association, and by media itself.

Katju was also, often, boycotted by the industry representatives on the press council.

Now, over a year later, some kind of rapprochement has been reached with Justice Katju expressing his “regret” to the Indian newspaper society (INS), the association of media promoters and publishers.

Below is the full text of the INS press release, issued by V. Shankaran, secretary-general of INS:

New Delhi, 19 November 2012

The executive committee of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), which met at New Delhi, considered the regret expressed by Mr Markandey Katju, chairman, press council of India, vide his letter dated 21.09.2012 addressed to the President, INS on his remarks that “majority of media people are of poor intellectual level”.

The members of the Executive Committee after deliberations decided to accept the regret now expressed by Mr. Katju.

What listening to the radio teaches that TV can’t

Former BBC radio disc jockey Dave Lee Travis greets Aung San Suu Kyi during her visit to the BBC studios in London in June 2012

As her four-day visit to India, the first in 25 years, winds down, Aung San Suu Kyi has a series of interviews in magazines and on TV stations.

In an interview with Pranay Sharma in Outlook* magazine, the Burmese leader whose only window to the world in the long years of house arrest was the radio, talks of her love affair with the medium.

Radio used to be your only link with the outside world during your detention. But now that you are out in the open and find other options like the internet, TV, mobile, etc, does radio still have a special place?

Yes, I think it is special. Because the thing about the radio is that you listen very carefully. And years of listening to the radio has been a good training for me. You learn to recognise nuances that otherwise you wouldn’t.

Would you recommend that to the younger generation?

I think so. Listening is a very good thing. I have found that very few people really listen.

On the first day of her visit to Britain in June 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi visited the BBC studios and met the staff of the BBC Burmese service:

“Because of the BBC I never lost touch with my people, with the movement for democracy in Burma and with the rest of the world…. I feel that the BBC World Service is not as versatile as it used to be – or perhaps I’m not listening at the right times. There used to be so many different programmes, and every time I listen to it now, it’s news and commentaries. I miss the other old programmes… Bookshelf, Just a Minute, and so many others which I don’t seem to hear now…”

Former BBC RJ Dave Lee Travis (in picture), whom Aung San Suu Kyi met, was recently arrested in the Jim Savile sexual abuse investigation .

* Disclosures apply

Also read: What Aung San Suu Kyi learnt from a ‘Hindu‘ man

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

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!

What Aung San Suu Kyi learnt from a ‘Hindu’ man

The Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi is on a four-day visit to India. In her interview with Nirupama Subramanian of The Hindu, the Nobel laureate remembers her association with K. Rangaswamy, a political correspondent of the paper in Delhi, during her growing-up years in the capital.

“I got to know [Mr. Rangaswamy’s] daughter at school. We were together at the Convent of Jesus and Mary. Kamla and I were in the same class and then we also went to Lady Shri Ram College together the same year. We both took political science honours, and that’s how I became friendly with them.

“But I became particularly friendly with Uncle Rangaswamy when I was preparing for my Oxford entrance…. Uncle Rangaswamy knew, because I was in and out of his house all the time, that I did not have a teacher and that I wanted to take this exam in three months.

“So he said he would teach me!

“Some people were rather scared of him, because Uncle Rangaswamy has a rather formidable exterior. But I thought he was very sweet, and he was very, very sweet to me.

“He said to me one day, which I shall never forget and which I think was so admirable about him, he said: “I’ve taught you all I can, I can’t teach you anymore, but you’re the best student I’ve ever had, so I’ll find you a teacher.” And he got a contact of his — an old student of his for all I know — a mathematics teacher. He told her to continue to teach me the rest of the curriculum, which she did, and then I managed to just scrape through the exams, and I made it to Oxford that year instead of having to wait another year. It was because of Uncle Rangaswami.

“He had enough faith in me. He said “I’ll teach you”, but I’ll never forget the way he said “I’ve taught you all I know.” I was so fond of him. I wish he were alive now. I’m sure he’d have had a lot to say to me!”

Read the full interview: Aung San Suu Kyi

Follow Nirupama on Twitter: Tall stories

Look, who wants to play Christiane Amanpour!

Priety Zinta‘s role in Lakshya is rumoured to have been based on NDTV anchor Barkha Dutt. Now, Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor is tipped to play CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour in Prakash Jha‘s next film, Satyagraha.

Mail Today reports that Jha visualised Kareena’s role of a reporter who reports at the international level.

“The director was reportedly influenced by the huge fan following that Amanpour, famous for her reportage from war zones, enjoys…. Kareena has been closely observing Amanpour to play the character perfectly. Her look will be modelled on Amanpour’s daily style,” a source was quoted as saying.

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Visit Christiane Amanpour’s blog: Amanpour.

External reading: Tunku Varadarajan vs Amanpour

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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

 

When stringer beats up reporter, it’s news!

From the Delhi edition of The Hindu:

News Channel Correspondent beaten up by stringer

Staff Reporter

New Delhi: A special correspondent with a television news channel was beaten up by a stringer working for the same media house at Baba Haridas Nagar here on Tuesday. The stringer, who has been arrested, has also been accused of extorting money on the pretext of carrying out sting operations.

In his complaint, Mukesh Singh alleged that on Tuesday, he received instructions from a senior to crosscheck the allegations of extortion being made against one of the stringers named Naveen Kumar. The correspondent subsequently met a property dealing agent who accused Naveen of indulging in extortion.

Singh then went to Gopal Nagar when Naveen came to meet him along with his accomplices. When the correspondent enquired from him about the allegations, the accused beat him up at gunpoint and then dragged him to a nearby house where he was kept in confinement.

The correspondent somehow managed to make his way out and then called up the police. Based on his complaint, the police have registered a case and arrested the accused.

Also read: Zee News, Jindal Steel, silence of the media

Rs 50 crore? rs 100 croe? It’s all in the Zee business

Bonus reading: When gang of four meets in IIC, it’s news

When a star weds a journalist, it’s news—I

When a film star weds a journalist it’s news—II

When a magazine editor weds a starlet, it’s news

Because when dog bites dog, it’s news—I

Because when dog bites dog, it’s news—II