Has the public broadcaster said a big ‘thank you’ to the PM?
Doordarshan owes Narendra Modi big time. It may have annoyed candidate Modi by editing out portions of its interview with him just before the Lok Sabha elections, but he has generously turned the other cheek. Media organisations complain of being shut out of the Modi government, but DD News is being welcomed in by the prime minister with open doors.
DD News receives top billing for coverage of any move Modi makes. And when he makes a big move, travelling abroad from Brazil to Japan, DD News is his faithful chronicler. No other media house enjoys the proximity it does to the PM on his foreign visits. Thus, on his five-day visit to Japan, DD News dogged his footsteps. Every day there was extensive coverage of his daily programme, be it visiting a temple, drinking tea, beating drums, addressing businessmen, making an official statement or interacting with children — we’ve been treated to Modinama on DD News. In fact, if viewership of DD News has increased, it is probably solely because of Modi. Did we hear a big thank-you from the public broadcaster?
Courtesy DD News, we have seen facets of the PM’s character we didn’t know existed. The more relaxed, friendly side of his personality, and his sartorial elegance. One major difference between the present prime minister and his predecessor is in the choice of clothes. At home, Manmohan Singh was invariably seen in white kurta-pyjama and blue turban; abroad, he favoured a dark bandh-galla suit. Modi wears all the colours in the rainbow — and more. In Japan, he favoured lighter shades of brown, beige and yellow — Zee News was so impressed by his fashion statements that it crowned him with a “royal” look. Personally, think it was rather brave of him to turn out in yellow and beige when US President Barack Obama has received so much social media disapproval for wearing a fawn suit at a press briefing on Syria, Iraq and Ukraine.
We’ve been watching the “first attempt at a televised revolution” (Barkha Dutt, NDTV 24×7, Monday) as the siege of Islamabad plays out before us. There’s been some unnecessary gloating in TV studios over our neighbour’s misfortunes: heard one panellist on NDTV 24×7 pompously say that Pakistan should be more like India. Meanwhile, News X was getting ahead of the news and veering towards astrology: “Sharif ouster only a matter of time,” it predicted on Monday night. “Army orchestrates coup in Pakistan,” it added.
What do Modi and Ajinkya Rahane have in common? Both of them completed a 100 on Tuesday — the PM 100 days in office and Rahane 100 runs in the fourth ODI between England and India at Birmingham (Star Sports). As commentator Harsha Bhogle pointed out, the stands were filled with supporters of Team India, even if they had very “propah” British accents. In interviews with some spectators, Gautam Bhimani asked them to name their favourite cricketers — M.S. Dhoni, Virat Kohli came the replies. That Indians settled in Britain prefer to support India to England makes you wonder about its sociological implications for the UK.
The weekend was a sporty one with cricket (England-India ODI), soccer (EPL), badminton (World Championships) and tennis (US Open) on offer. And on Sunday, we had the final two matches of the Pro Kabaddi league (Star Sports). The Jaipur Pink Panthers literally stole a march on U Mumba and lifted the title — much to the uninhibited joy of Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan. Bachchan is the Panthers’ owner and couldn’t stop hugging Ash, much to the voyeuristic delight of spectators at the venue and those sitting at home. “These are memorable moments,” roared one of the commentators and, indeed, watching the Bachchans and the team jumping up and down was quite a moment.
If you’re not the sporty kind, DD National offers you an alternative. On Sunday nights, it telecasts the Best of Indian Cinema. Last Sunday, it telecast an unusual film, Missed Call. Viewers who are into good cinema should keep an eye out for the next film.
Last, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has started his state’s assembly election campaign earlier than others. TV commercials proclaiming “Sabse Aage Haryana, Sabse Uper Haryana, No 1 Haryana”, with Hooda smiling benevolently at you, are already up and running.