Saturday, April 16, 2005

Media moves....

The recent big-ticket movement of Rajdeep Sardesai from NDTV is a shakeout in the media industry, as far as I'm concerned. This is one guy who pretty much spoke his mind and didn't care too much about the reputations and profiles of his interviewees. I have seen scores of his programmes where in his typical, inimitable style, he would sign off with an interviewee, saying," At the end of the day, X, isn't it the responsibility of the people like you in power, the authorities to take care of the system?” And at most times, he pretty much guessed the reactions he was going to get.

As one of the long standing reporters of the doyen of Indian broadcasting, Dr. Prannoy Roy, this cricket fanatic would surely have made even Dr. Roy have a lump in his throat with his exit from NDTV. Not too often do you see Dr. Roy animated, but there have been more than a handful of occasions when Rajdeep and Dr. Roy have orchestrated some of the finest broadcasting hours that Indian television has seen. I mean, before Star News, before NDTV, it was this duo along with that other class act, Vinod Dua who used to bring incisive news to our homes. I will never forget those wonderful nights back in my school days, when I used to wait for The World This Week on Friday nights when Dr. Roy just had me hooked on something never seen before - news from around the world in a half hour capsule, with such limited sponsorship and no jazz or advertising as seen today. And I distinctly remember, a young Rajdeep with a squeaky voice, covered in jerkins sending in reports to the newsroom and Dr. Roy asking him very pertinent stories that would translate to news-worthiness of the story. It was as far back as that, that this combine of Dr. Roy and Rajdeep created a lot of flutters and then went on to attain legendary status in Indian television broadcasting.

But this exit of Rajdeep needs to be seen in a far greater context of what Dr. Roy has done for Indian television broadcasting. Not just Rajdeep, but quite a few of his team’s lead anchors and journalists have gone on to hone their wares in greener pastures. It only reinforces my admiration for what Dr. Roy has done to Indian television broadcasting. This psephologist turned king of Indian television journalism, especially in the tough realm of current affairs has pioneered, nurtured, built and made an industry against all odds possible. In one of the recent awards that NDTV received, Dr. Roy said that the Indian television industry now employs over a million people, with a significant number of them in the news broadcasting stream. And I could distinctly sense pride when he stated that.

Why don’t we moot the idea of instituting an award in Dr. Prannoy Roy’s name? I think it’s the least we can do to recognize a man who has created an industry and provided so many lives with opportunities to make the most of news, not just in delivering it, but also in analyzing it, synthesizing it, and I dare say, opinionating it. We have so many great people from India, in different walks of life. More often than not, we tend to get carried away with the glitz and glamour of these high profile individuals. But here is a man, who has tirelessly worked and deserves accolades more than he has actually received.

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