When Madhuri Dixit’s ghagra is ‘breaking news’

Vanita Kohli-Khandekar in the Business Standard:

“When Madhuri Dixit danced to the song “TV pe breaking news hai re mera ghagra,” I wanted to hide. Her sizzling dance number in a red-light area from the latest hit Yeh Jawaani hai Deewani roughly means, “My skirt is the breaking news on television.”

“…Many Hindi films now have a stock television crew and reporter sequence. The reporter is often corrupt or a bimbo. They are shown as bodies with mikes and cameras but without brains. It is the sort of thing that should worry all editors, publishers and news broadcasters.

“Popular cinema is one of the more accurate mirrors of society and its characters. It is also the most powerful creator of images – true or false – and of stereotypes. And once a stereotype is created in popular cinema, it is hard – if not impossible – to dislodge.

“The joke is on the news media, not just TV channels. It has allowed the troubles of the news business to overtake it so completely that now the idiot in the office or the black sheep of the profession has become the standard by which the rest of the world measures us. The media’s obsession with “breaking news” at the cost of truth, efficiency or ethics is now the stuff that item numbers are made of.”

Read the full column: The breaking news syndrome

Also read: What Uday Shankar learnt from a Delhi widow

‘Star News ne Baba ko LIVE dekha

How a martyr’s wife changed Arnab Goswami‘s outlook

When only one side of the conversation is ‘live’

When Amitabh Bachchan‘s cold is breaking news

The tenth life a cat has is on the ratings chart

1 Comment

  1. The dumbing down of Indian media happened long ago.

    Jug Suraiya boasted in his memoirs that soon after he was appointed Times of India’s Editor of the Op-Ed page, he made Madhuri Dikshit’s marriage the subject of a lead editorial. It was at a time when farmers’ suicides in Vidarbha was a burning topic.

    Here are a few more snippets from Suraiya’s book (not necessarily verbatim):

    “For ‘Badshah’ Samir Jain (SJ), writing was ‘Class III’ activity.”

    “Dilip Padgaonkar (Paddy) got the top job (as ToI’s Editor-in-Chief) only because SJ felt Gautam Adhikari wrote better than him!” (Padgoankar would be none too happy to know that he was appointed because SJ preferred an inferior writer!)

    ToI booted out Vinod Dua for writing about the prospects of the monsoon and its impact on the lives of the common people on the front page.

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