Thursday, November 16, 2006

'Kaisa lag raha hai' journalism

I often marvel at the Aaj Tak reporters. They amaze me with their capabilities to stretch a non-news item into a full-length 30 minute khaas peshkash. And now I'm convinced, that they alone are the primary reasons of inflation, in this country.

Inflated news is the mainspring of an inflated economy.
Ask me, just as you've been asking hundreds of others. Including Mr.Snake Catcher, who had to face your 'volley' of questions a few weeks back...

Q: "So, Mr.Snake Catcher, you've just caught a snake from Sanju baba's apartment. How does it feel?"
A: "Feels good, ya! Damn good. Never felt better. Felt like I'd caught my wife red-handed, asleep with another man on Sanju's bed. Feels good, alright!"

Q: "Whoa! You must have been scared! Were you? How did it feel?"
A: "Scared? Who, me? No, ya! I'm a professional snake-catcher. How the hell could I be scared?"

Q: "So, what snake was it? And how did you know, it found it's way to Sanju baba's house?"
A: "It was a deadly viper, mind you! And his hissss got the whole neighbourhood awake. That's how I came to know about himmmmmmmm."

Q: "Now that you've caught the snake, sent it to its rightful playzone, how does it feel?"
A: "Feels good, ya! Damn good. Think I'll head for that glass of beer, which your editor is gulping down, right behind you, in the newsroom. Hehehe..."

Q: "And how does it feel, coming on national television? Aaj tak se baat karke aapko kaisa laga?"
A: "Bahut accha lag raha hai. Apne bhai behen mujhe dekh rahen honge...(nodding towards camera) Kai ga vahini? Kashi aahes? Aai, jevan karoon ghe..."

Q: "Mr.Snake Catcher...thank you for talking to us..So, there you saw, how Mr.Snake Catcher gave us a terrifying account of how he caught the snake, that had found it's way to Sanju baba's house. In our next section, we'll have a look at what animals have been caught in celebrity houses.

1. Once, a bhaaloo catcher was called for urgently at Sridevi's house. She had felt an immensely hairy animal leap into her bed and go beneath her bedsheets. The catcher on arrival, was disappointed to find that the so-called 'bear' was in fact Anil Kapoor. Naked.

2. Gauri Khan, once heard goats in her bathroom. She called up PETA (since there are no farmers near Bandstand), only to realise it was SRK inside, practising his lines.


There is no doubt, that we're witnessing an overdose of 'kaisa lag raha hai' journalism, nowadays. 'How does it feel' is what the brief is for reporters. Or is it? Of course, there are ways of arriving at a point. We are keen to know how do the newsmakers feel and we want to hear it from the horses mouth. However cliche it may sound, "Bahut hi accha lag raha hai..." from Indian Idol Abhijeet Sawant, just after he won the title, is just what you might have expected him to say. It's a different story that Mini Mathur, is not a journalist.

I feel Munnabhai would have done a better job. Atleast he'd genuinely ask questions to the people in power - "Tumko is maamle mein kya feelings hai?" (Remember the way he'd asked Suman...'Tumko mere baare mein feelings hai kya?")

Come to think of it, Munnabhai as a journalist would be interesting to watch, especially for mediamen. The media has become a subject of mockery today - In every episode, Laughter Champions has atleast one gag about newchannel waale. The print media has been padded from the ridicule, to some extent though.

Taking the Munnabhai possibility forward, let's hear how a normal news-report would sound like...
Munna: "Arey circuit, suna hai udhar baarish ho rahela hai? Log doob rahe hain kya?"
Circuit: "Tension nahin lene ka bhai !! Baarish toh solid ho rahela hai, bhai. Idhar ka collector saala kuch kaam nahin kar raha tha...usko do teen kaan ke neeche bitha ke diya na bhai. Ab sab theek ho jayega bhai..paani nikaal rahela hai bhai, BMC ka log. Sab shanti hai bhai."
Munna: "Hahaha..theek hai."

Talk about media impact. Immediate relief. No floods. No erring officials. Only Circuit and Munna. Reminds me a bit of that Anil Kapoor starrer 'Nayak', which had raised many eyeballs.
But a Munna Circuit journalistic pair would surely do some good today's journalism scene.