Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

Telescope: Munde’s death dominates news

Gopinath Munde, was killed in a car crash in Delhi. (Express photo by Pavan Khengre) Gopinath Munde, was killed in a car crash in Delhi. (Express photo by Pavan Khengre)
Written by Shailaja Bajpai | Posted: June 5, 2014 2:34 pm

The sudden and tragic death of the Union Minister for Rural Affairs Gopinath Munde, on Tuesday in a car accident, saw the TV news channels pay tribute to the BJP leader with carpet coverage throughout the day and into the late evening. It forced TV correspondents to park themselves on the roads of Delhi, especially at the site of the collision. It also drove news channels to debate road safety in the capital and in India (NDTV 24×7, CNN-IBN)—something they are unlikely to have done otherwise.

Some channels did not apply brakes to their coverage; instead they allowed their imagination to run wild, perhaps beyond the limits of decency. One news channel, for instance, recreated the accident with graphics and then with dramatis personae: an actor played Gopinath Munde inside the car and we saw him flung across the backseat with the impact of the collision (Aaj Tak). Was this really necessary?

Equally, did Headlines Today – and other news channels – find it necessary to debate Narendra Modi’s first week in office? Will they debate the second week? And the third one? And then the first month, so on and so forth? Please, give the prime minister a break.

The PM made his first (there we go again!) major political speech after assuming office when he addressed BJP workers on Sunday in Delhi. This was a very different Modi from the one we had become accustomed to hearing during the Lok Sabha election campaign. He was tempered not impassioned and spoke like a prime minister rather than a political leader, that is to say, he was more statesmanlike in his approach and words. We are likely to see much more of this Narendra Modi in the days ahead.

According to Baba Ramdev, Narendra Bhai Modi (as he called him) `ka nature farak hai’ ( Muqabala, NDTV India). Seated in the plush surroundings of his Haridwar ashram he told Abhigyan Prakash how so. He also explained his views of corporates (they’re okay) and the advantages of a mobile mosquito net which he demonstrated by sitting inside one, not reclining as Prakash pointed out to him.

DD News is doing its best to give adequate, even fulsome, coverage to the PM and his new government. It covers all his events including the speech to BJP workers, and is also acquainting us with the new ministers through a series of interviews. Have seen Prakash Javadekar (Minister of I&B, Environment) and Dr Harsh Vardhan (Minister of Health) so far.

What we have not seen at all is the French Open Tennis Championships. None of the sports channels seem to be covering it. Why not? It will be the first time (ahem!) since we don’t know when that the tournament, one of the four grand slams, has been ignored. A pity because there’s just a chance that we might see Rafael Nadal slip on the red clay after winning eight titles.

The IPL meanwhile, was splashed all over the place, on Sony Six, Sony Max and the news channels. It ended when Piyush Chawla hit a four to win the final match for Kolkata Knight Riders against Kings XI Punjab. We might actually miss it because what is supposed to pass for entertainment on the general entertainment channels is hardly what you would call entertaining. Wait for the soccer world cup now.

Or, watch Rabobank World Cup Hockey (Ten Sports) which features India. The India matches are running on DD National too but it makes for disappointing viewing as India lost two matches in the dying moments.

By the way, saw promos of Amitabh Bachchan in Yudh (Sony) a series that will mark his dramatic debut on TV. Hope it proves to be more entertaining than the current crop of soaps which continue forever in the same vein. Ek Nayi Pechaan (Sony) is currently showing the oldest story of all– a wife catching her husband in the arms of another woman. And in Diya Aur Batti Hum (Star Plus), lead character Sandhya may be a police officer but she still needs the help of a man by her side. So what else is new?

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