Tag Archives: Shah Rukh Khan

A newspaper ad without SRK, MSD or AB

lok satta ad

Brand ambassadors for media companies usually tend to be celebrities—a Shah Rukh Khan for Zee, a Mahinder Singh Dhoni for NDTV, an Amitabh Bachchan for The Times of India, etc—or faces of newsmakers.

In other words, usually upper class or upper caste.

Loksatta, the Marathi daily from the Indian Express group, bucks the trend with a print advertisement featuring the Dalit businessman Milind Kamble, with the punchline: “the preferred choice for every discerning Maharashtrian”.

Also read: Anybody here who’s Dalit and speaks English?


Free speech gets a major boost (in the a**)


So, young Indians cannot tell their friends in what they like on Facebook, without being “pre-screened” by Harvard types (or hauled into a police station by Shiv Sena goons). So, bloggers cannot publish their “online private diaries” without the sword of 66(A) hanging over their heads.

So, tweeters can be blocked and Savita bhabhi‘s enviable lifestyle is subject to some faceless babu’s sense of humour (or voyeurism). So, the Mahatma‘s life is beyond scrutiny in the land of you-know-who. So (oh!), Aamir Khan‘s film will miraculously not be screened, also in the land of you-know-who.

Or his TV show.

So, TV stations cannot show protests without threatened by the information and broadcasting ministry (or corporate titans). So, newspapers cannot report what their reporters see without being told that the tap of government advertisements could be turned off.

So, M.F. Husain cannot die in his own country. So, A.K. Ramanujam‘s interpretation of the Ramayana hurts somebody.

So, Ashis Nandy cannot drop his pearls on corruption without offending Dalits, tribals and OBCs. So, Salman Rushdie cannot go to a lit-fest in Jaipur (or Calcutta) without offending Islamist fundoos. So, Shah Rukh Khan cannot write what’s in his heart without offending.

So, Kamal Hassan‘s new film can be banned by a government run by a former film actor.

Sometimes, you do have to remind yourself it is a free country, don’t you?

Image: courtesy R. Prasad/ Mail Today

How Bombay is skewing the media worldview

On the day the world economy was in a tailspin and the rupee was tanking, much of the media led with a spat between Shah Rukh Khan and a security guard at the Wankhede stadium in Bombay.

Much of the blame for this warped worldview rests with the Bombay media, says DNA editor-in-chief Aditya Sinha:

“Whereas everyone moans about how Delhi runs things, it is actually Mumbai which sets the agenda, and nowhere is this more manifest than in the media…. after all, this is where the media began getting corporatized, where news became a commodity, and appeal to the lowest common denominator became a badge of honour.

“To put it in perspective, when American matinee idol George Clooney recently hosted a fund-raiser for President Barack Obama — a legitimate political event — the serious US news outlets gave it prominence, but did not make it lead….

“You could claim that the traditional media is booming in India and not in the US, but it is also true that more innovation, both in areas of content and revenue, is happening over there rather than right here.”

Read the full article: Fiddling with the stars

Also read: Aditya Sinha on the “worldview” of Delhi journos

Guess who came to wish Rajdeep ‘good night’?

Indian Express contributing editor Coomi Kapoor has this item in her diary today:

“Superstar Shah Rukh Khan‘s face is normally a passport which ensures open doors just about anywhere in the country. But the security guard at the house of CNN-IBN’s Rajdeep Sardesai failed to recognise the actor.

“Khan, whose in-laws live in Panchsheel Park [Delhi], decided to take a late night stroll in the colony along with minister of State, Rajiv Shukla. When they passed Sardesai’s house, they thought they would drop in, but the guard barred their entry, claiming it was 11.30 pm and his boss was not answering his phone.

“He suggested they leave their names and contact numbers and come back the next day. Khan left a note urging Sardesai to have a good sleep.”

Moral of the story #1: SRK will go to any lengths to push a film, especially if it is a disaster like Ra.One.

Moral of the story #2: Rajdeep Sardesai does take his “good night” tweets seriously and goes to bed early.

Moral of the story #3: merely because your boss reads the news, it doesn’t mean you need to know the news.

And moral of the story #4: the new Press Council chief Markandey Katju can rest assured that despite the worst designs of TV channels to divert the attention of the nation from poverty by peddling cinema and related movie trivia, at least one prominent security guard hasn’t fallen into the devious trap of the TRPwallahs.

Also read: Rajiv Shukla: from reporter to minister of state

Rajeev Shukla: from reporter to minister of state

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from Delhi: Rajeev Shukla, the journalist who began his career as a lowly reporter in the Hindi daily Northern India Patrika in Kanpur in 1978 before turning to politics in 2000, is to become a minister in the Manmohan Singh government this evening.

The 52-year-old will be the minister of State in charge of parliamentary affairs.

Shukla, a member of the Rajya Sabha from his home-state Uttar Pradesh, earned his journalistic spurs during his three-year stint in the late 1980s at the weekly Hindi magazine Ravivar, where under its then editor Udayan Sharma, he broke a story on the former prime minister V.P.  Singh.

Singh, a bugbear of the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi on the Bofors issue, had signed away large tracts of land he held as the “Raja of Manda”. Shukla reported that Singh’s wife had objected to the sale, saying he was not in his right mental balance at the time.

That story propelled Shukla into the Congress orbit.

Shukla later held several senior editorial positions later in the ABP-owned Sunday and The Sunday Observer, which had been purchased by Dhirubhai Ambani‘s Reliance Industries.

The arrival of satellite television saw Shukla host a weekly interview programme on Zee called Rubaru, before he branched off to launch his own production house called BAG Films (BAG for Bhagwan, Allah, God) with wife Anuradha Prasad (sister of BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad) in tow.

The couple now own a news channel (News24), an entertainment channel (E24), a radio station (Dhamaal 24), and a school of media and convergence studies.

Shukla entered the Rajya Sabha in 2000 as a member of the short-lived Uttar Pradesh Loktantrik Congress, winning votes disporportionate to his political lineage and vintage from the BJP, Congress and the BSP. His vote tally set tongues wagging in Lucknow.

Venkitesh Ramakrishnan of Frontline magazine reported:

“The grapevine said during the run-up to the elections that two powerful industrial groups backed Shukla.”

Shukla soon become a prominent functionary in the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI), rising to be vice-president.  DNA reported that a firmed owned by him had bought a stake in Shah Rukh Khan‘s Kolkata Knight Riders, at whose matches Rahul Gandhi has been one of the more famous faces from the VIP box.

When Shah Rukh Khan was detained in the United States in the run-up to his film My Name is Khan in 2009, he famously said that the first person he called to bail him out was Rajeev Shukla.

Anuradha Prasad watches her husband Rajeev Shukla take oath as minister in this photograb from the couple's news channel, News24

Did media overreact to SRK? Press QOTD ‘Y’

“Film maker, TV producer, businesswoman, writer, blogger, teacher and the main slave to an imperious hound”, Harini Calamur on the Indian media’s reaction to the detention of movie star Shah Rukh Khan by officials at Newark airport:

“At first, when my nani called me up to tell me that SRK was arrested in the USA, I thought that they had sent him to Gitmo! Then I realised it was a 2-hour stop at the airport. I wonder how much airtime was spent on this—and to the exclusion of what?—and how much money did the “news” channels make….

“On the day SRK got detained for two hours, 21 farmers committed suicide in Andhra Pradesh because they can’t pay off their debt. But, farmers committing suicide cannot be sponsored, it does not drive up TRP’s and it definitely is not conducive for off the cuff ranting by our esteemed ‘journalists’.

With the kind of issues occupying television airtime, Calamur goes on to suggest that it is probably time to rename 24-hour news channels.

“24 hour blogs—one can say—but that too,would be unkind. There a whole bunch of bloggers whom I follow and whose integrity and intent I respect—even if I differ with them on their views. There isn’t a single TV journalist I can put in the same category.”

By the way, CNN-IBN has a half-hour show tonight, hosted by Sagarika Ghose.

The question of the day: “Are we over-reacting to SRK’s detention?”

Read the full article: 24-hour infomercials

Also read: ‘Where was the media’s outrage when Narendra Modi was denied a visa?’