Sting camera that Amitabh Bachchan didn’t see


The BBC’s “star of the millennium”, Amitabh Bachchan, has always had a hate-hate relationship with the media, except when he has had to love it to push a product or push himself, which is usually the same thing.

In the first week of his 67th year in the solar system (birthday: October 11),  Mr Bachchan has got his long legs entangled in a classic multimedia landmine.

This time with the Bombay tabloid MiD-DaY.

The paper’s executive editor Abhijit Majumder had sought an interview with the actor to mark his birthday, his 40 years in Bollywood, and the launch of BiggBoss 3. Bachchan, says he was initially willing to do an interview only by email, but relented to give a face-to-face interview.

The interview was published and, not surprisingly, as is usual with celebrities who think an interview is an advertisement, Bachchan complains on his blog that “it did not do justice to the responses I had given”.

What was surprising, says Bachchan, is that a video clip of the interview appeared on MiD-DaY’s website.

Writes he:

“I had never expected either the paper or any one else to have posted something which I would be unaware of. [And] now realize why Mr Majumdar wanted a personal meeting. He had placed a small “sting” camera on the table in front of me, without informing me that the interview was being video taped as well. He never told me that they had a video net facility in operation and that the recorded interview would find a place there.”

Bachchan accuses the editor of dishonesty and says the reason he had sought a one-on-one interview was with the “mala fide intent of recording the interview to be used as a live input on a video electronic facility medium that your paper runs.”

Video electronic facility medium, indeed.

But Majumder has hit back in the paper, printing a photograph of the actor sitting comfortably in front of the “sting” camera, and charging the actor of introducing a new word into journalism: a “sting of one’s own legitimate interview“.

Majumder says he had mentioned to Bachchan in the presence of the paper’s photographer and two unknown gentlemen who also seemed to be videotaping it, that the interview would be recorded on audio and video; that he had asked the actor’s secretary if he could bring along a photographer and somebody to video-record the interview.

“Either you are lying or I am. I would like to believe it is neither; it’s just your memory playing tricks at twilight.”

Of course, it is possible for a 67-year-old to have not spotted the device in front of him. Maybe he thought it was a simple tape-recorder like in the good ol’ days.

But an actor who fails to see a camera lens?

Photograph: courtesy Pradeep Dhivar/ MiD-Day

Link via Anamika Sengupta


  1. Mysore Peshva

    “Consent” is a defense against accusations of invasion of privacy. The burden of proving consent is on the reporter.

    Case law establishes that, (1) Consent obtained must be relevant to both the content and medium, (2) Consent obtained today may not be valid in the distant future, especially not oral consent. (2) Some individuals cannot give consent (underage, mental patients, etc.), and (3) Consent is void if the photo or quotation is altered after the consent is given.

    Even though Mr. Majumder is likely telling the truth, a court may well side with Mr. Bachchan unless Mr. Majumder is able to prove the above positions (1) and (4).

  2. Big B have rebutted Abhijit Majumdar in a very hard way. And indeed Mr Majumdar is seeen in very poor light. It seems that like the readers the editorial management of Mid Day also does not take tabloid seriously.

  3. […] (to put it rather bluntly), “what exactly is going on here?” After the ‘face-off’ with Abhijit Mazumdar of Mid-day last October, (maybe he must have bookmarked the paper then and there for ‘future reference), and even blaming […]

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