Search Results for “mid-day”

An artist and an interviewer: former ‘Mid-Day’ and ‘Sportsweek’ art director Ataullah Khan falls to COVID

From Jeddah, the news of the death due to COVID, of Ataullah Khan, the well-regarded former art director of the Bombay tabloid, Mid-Day, and its sister magazine, Sportsweek.

He also did interviews with movie stars for the group’s Urdu daily Inquilaab.

Mr Khan’s brother Masiulla Khan was the art head of The Sunday Observer, both during its Jaico and Ambani days.

Sachin Tendulkar, Mid-Day & the Indian Express

Thankfully, Sachin Tendulkar‘s below-par performance on the Australian tour has dimmed the spotlight somewhat on the Indian media batting for a Bharat Ratna for the cricketer in quest for his 100th hundred.

In Lounge, the Saturday section of the business daily Mint, columnist Aakar Patel argues why, among other reasons, Sachin shouldn’t get the nation’s highest civilian honour:

“On 15 April 1999, just before the World Cup, Sachin Tendulkar’s car hit a Maruti 800 in Bandra. Tendulkar got [Shiv Sena chief] Bal Thackeray to telephone Mid Day, the paper I joined the following year.

“He warned them against carrying the story. This was surprising because nobody had been seriously hurt in the accident.

“Thackeray told the paper running the story would damage “national interest”.

“What was this national interest? Mohammad Azharuddin was about to be sacked, Thackeray explained, and Tendulkar was likely to become captain again. Such stories could spoil his chances. Except The Indian Express, no newspaper ran the story. In July, Azhar was sacked and Tendulkar was named captain.”

Since that story, Tendulkar and Thackeray, Bandra-ites both, have had a small run-in over the batsman’s statement that “he was an Indian first and Marathi too, but Mumbai belongs to all“.

Read the full column: Why Sachin shouldn’t get the Bharat Ratna

Also read: ‘Indian journalism is regularly second-rate’

Prime minister, maybe, but not a very good sub-editor

Mid-Day Delhi and Mid-Day Bangalore to shut

The front page of the final edition of Mid-Day, Bangalore, on 6 December 2011, with a farewell note by executive editor Sachin Kalbag

The Bombay tabloid Mid-Day has made three attempts to break into Bangalore. The first was in the early 1980s under the redoubtable Khalid A.H. Ansari, and the second in the late 1980s under his sons Tarique and Sharique Ansari, when the Bangalore editions of Sunday Mid-Day rolled out. Both those attempts  came quickly unstuck.

The third entry came in 2006, when the group launched a daily edition, hoping as all groups do to tap into the “high-earning, big-spending IT crowd” that only media managers can spot. The third entry also coincided with the paper’s full entry into Delhi. Now, both editions are being shut down by the news owners, Dainik Jagran, effective tomorrow.

Below is the full text of the email received by employees from group CEO Manajit Ghoshal at 5.13 pm, and it is remarkable for how lightly it treats the lives of dozens of ordinary journalists and other staffers at short notice, while dishing out the boilerplate managerial bullshit about “corporate scenario”.


Dear colleagues

It’s with a heavy heart that I have to announce the closure of Mid-Day Delhi and Mid-Day Bangalore editions. Tomorrow’s issue will be the last issue for both the editions. This has been necessitated by the prolonged losses we had to incur on these editions.

The idea behind starting these editions was to establish these brands in these cities and make a difference in the lives of the citizens there. We had begun well and were appreciated for the quality of product we put out. However, in a corporate scenario the books need to be balanced.

Due to the ever increasing competition in the print media space, the funds required for breakeven in these cities kept escalating. Finally, we had to take this call. We will however, continue to maintain a news bureau in Delhi and our sales offices in Bangalore and Delhi.

But, every dark cloud has a silver lining. The silver lining in this is that Mumbai Mid-Day now will have the strength to soar to greater heights. By cutting our losses in Delhi and Bangalore editions, we will be able to bolster our circulation in Mumbai.

Apart from the plan to channel these investments, Jagran group (our parent company) will invest a large sum in boosting Mid-Day’s circulation in Mumbai. This will give our sales guys across the country to pitch Mumbai Mid-Day to clients and agencies in a new light.

We need to now concentrate on building brand Mid-Day in Mumbai and monetizing Mumbai Mid-Day’s large increase in circulation and in this our sales colleagues in Delhi, Bangalore and Pune will have to play a significant part.

Gujrati Mid-Day and Inquilab continue to go from strength to strength. We are increasing the circulation of GMD at a brisk pace and will continue to do so. Inquilab has flourished in the north and we now have 14 editions in all and are far ahead of any competition in the Urdu space.

Mid-Day Pune is an extension of Mid-Day Mumbai just as the Pune city is an extension of Mumbai. Mid-Day Pune will continue to run at an ever increasing pace and we will be monitoring the Pune media market keenly to spot opportunities to improve the circulation of Midday Pune.

We will continue to invest aggressively in our digital properties as we believe that this is a medium whose time has come.

5th December, 2011 is an important day in the history of Mid-Day. Today, we will have to halt and think. Think about many of our colleagues who will have to move on.

It’s a testing time for them as it is for us. Right now it might look dark but I am sure both of us will come out of this with flying colours. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors. We also need to think about the added responsibilities for all of us who remain in this great organization and who have to carry its legacy forward. Let’s begin this phase of our journey with renewed vigour and conviction.

In conclusion, I can only say that all dreams may not fructify but that will only encourage us to try harder and bring us closer, marching forward with a vision which only we can realise. We strive for continuity and absolutes but are reminded time and again that change is the only constant.

In this time of great pain and heavy responsibility, I am sure God will give us the tenacity to walk on—and then to break into a run—and once again soar to live our destiny.

Manajit Ghoshal

‘Time and Tide’ waits for no man: after 157 Tests, Kishore Bhimani ties up his next assignment, 22 days after Dean Jones

Kishore Bhimani, the voice that relayed to the world that a Test had been tied in Madras, with the scores level of both the teams with all wickets down, only for the second time in cricket history, has passed on—just 22 days after the demise of the Australian star of that match, Dean Jones.

“It’s a tie, it’s tie,” Bhimani repeated in his staccato voice on air as left-arm spinner and No.11 Maninder Singh was adjudged leg before wicket to Greg Matthews, with Ravi Shastri at the other end, having taken a single to ensure India didn’t lose.


There are measly obituaries in most mainline dailies but in the Bombay tabloid Mid-Day, sports editor Clayton Murzello (above) doffs his hat.

“His willingness to use his contacts for good causes is best illustrated by Jyotsna Poddar, who put together the book, Cricketing Memories in 1987 which had the best names in the game recalling their funny moments. The proceeds of the publication went to a fund aimed at helping retired cricketers.

“Sir Donald Bradman, who by then had stopped writing Forewords to books, agreed to pen one because of this noble reason.


The Calcutta newspaper The Telegraph pays tribute on its city pages to the man who covered 157 Tests and 203 one-day internationals for the city’s rival daily, The Statesman.

Bhimani wrote in The Statesman on the historic victory in April 1976:

“In the dusty twilight of a deserted stadium I gaze upon a wizened old groundsman sweeping away…. So much has happened here in the dressing room under the Geddes Grant Stand — Clive Lloyd’s decision to declare; the promotion of ‘Jimmy’ Amarnath and Bishen Bedi‘s persistence with his own bowling and the confident last-ditch stand of the never-say-die Patel and Madan Lal and the lone Indian cheering hoarse in the Errol dos Santos Stand…”.

The Telegraph records that besides cricket, football and rugby, Kishore Manubhai Bhimani also commentated on horse racing and was a steward at the Calcutta turf club.

“Bhimani owned his first horse Time and Tide in the early 70s,” said Pritheesh Verma, a judge at RCTC. “He would jointly own a horse with Ravi Shastri in later years,” added Cyrus Madan, one of the stewards now.


In Kishore Bhimani’s own paper, Aditi Roy Ghatak offers warm memories of a colleague who sulked whenever he had to work indoors.

He came and went at will, and sulked every minute he had to work indoors, typed out his copy occasionally on the desk, choosing to type elsewhere and only submitting it and generally growled about everything.”

“India has ceded territory to China”: near-unanimous newspaper editorials call the Modi government’s bluff—and reaffirm the value of print journalism

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Editorials in India’s major English newspapers on the “mutual disengagement” that India and China have agreed upon, are nearly unanimous in their verdict: under “strong man” Narendra Modi, India has surrendered its territory to China.

The mature and considered reading of the newspapers is in marked contrast to TV news channels parroting the BJP-led NDA government line, relayed via WhatsApp.

Barring The Economic Times, the editorials unhesitatingly call out the failure of the Modi government in restoring the status quo ante in Ladakh, that is the position that existed on the ground before Chinese troops occupied Indian territory.


Deccan Herald, Bangalore

In Galwan, why are we pulling back? Govt must explain what’s happening in Ladakh

“There is little reason for India to draw satisfaction from events unfolding in Ladakh. Contrary to claims that India held its ground in the talks between National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and China’s foreign minister Wang Yi, it does seem that India has ceded territory to the Chinese.

“India’s stated position on the Galwan Valley is that this area is on the Indian side of the LAC. Then why has India pulled back 1.8 km from the face-off site here? And why did it agree to a ‘buffer zone’, again in what is Indian territory? Beijing has made a grand show of pulling back a bit. But it has gained territory overall in the ‘mutual disengagement process’. By agreeing to this farcical pullout, the Narendra Modi government seems unable to revere the Chinese land-grab in Ladakh.

Business Standard, Delhi

Lessons of disengagement: China takes two steps forward, one step back

“The de-escalation agreement clearly does not restore the status quo ante of April, before the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was effectively redrawn by the occupation of several patches of Indian territory by Chinese soldiers.

“A fair and honourable settlement should see both sides pulling back to the positions they held in April before China violated the LAC, but that is not what is happening. The implications of this are not difficult to see. China will have effectively redrawn the LAC by retaining chunks of Indian territory it has encroached upon.”

Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad
The Asian Age, Delhi

China pullout: firmness, vigilance are both critical

“The pullouts created a buffer zone between the two armies which in itself would be a desirable thing if it weren’t for the fact that the buffer zone lies within areas that India controlled along the LAC—in other words, what was Indian territory (in its perception) has been made a no-man’s land without a similar zone on the other side of the LAC. Notably, the Chinese have still not discussed their incursion at Pangong Tso Lake. The establishment fears the Chinese want to retains this, and are surrendering other areas in their “two steps forward, one step back” strategy.

Hindustan Times, Delhi

India must remain careful: Disengagement is positive, but verify and be prepared

“India must ensure complete restoration of status quo ante. China has violated past understandings; its statement contained a hint of continued belligerence, and there doesn’t appear to be a deal on it stepping back from the finger area in Pangong-Tso.”

The Times of India, Bombay

Stepping back: India, China agree to disengage, but New Delhi must keep its guard up

“The buffer zones themselves deny Indian troops access to patrolling points they have traditionally traversed. Beijing has also made large new territorial claims in eastern Bhutan bordering India’s Arunachal Pradesh, fulfilling which will require the Chinese to acquire the latter too. All this clearly shows that China will not relent on pressing India along the LAC. New Delhi, therefore, has to be prepared for a two-front war as any conflict with Beijing will likely draw in Islamabad as well.”

The Hindu, Madras

Days of disengagement: As India and China disengage militarily, they must slowly seek to rebuild trust in ties

“The government should inform the country about the considered measures such as “buffer zones”, the patrolling-free period, and the reasons for the decision to pull back Indian troops in the areas of disengagement. The government must also continue to work towards its stated goal of restoring the “status quo ante” or the position of troops to the situation in April, before the mobilisation began. Else, prime minister Modi’s strong words at Leh will have little meaning.”


Screenshot 2020-07-08 12.03.02

The really surprising editorial is in The Economic Times, the newspaper which reported the heat that was building up in Ladakh, as early as May 12.

The Economic Times, Delhi

Welcome easing of tensions with China

What India needs is not a return to the status quo ante before June 15, but a more active, persistent campaign to pressure China to abandon its expansionists claims on neighbours’ territory and to settle its border with China. New Delhi appears to be finally evolving a China policy that acknowledges Beijing’s expansionist and mercantile tendencies.”


But the most succinct observation of the ‘Surender’ comes from Sushant Singh, the Indian Express editor, who along with Ajai Shukla of Business Standard, has done some stellar reporting.

In other words, the Chinese have achieved what they set out to.



Cartoon: courtesy Manjul/ Mid-Day


Also read“Ambiguous. Beseiged. Confusing. Disappointing. Dismaying. Evasive. Frightening. Unpardonable. Unsatisfactory. PM should speak again”: editorials on ‘Surender’ Modi’s cop-out

The veterans who unmasked the Chinese incursions

Stop showing satellite images, TV editors get a nudge

A well-travelled story that goes from Rediff to Washington Post

Press Club of India tears into attack on Press Trust of India

The 15-point memo journos received on what line to push


The news of a declaration: Hindi magazine ‘Cricket Samrat’ has published its final issue

COVID has impacted the media in a myriad ways, and magazines, especially niche magazines, are collapsing under its weight.

Mid-Day reports the closure of the pioneering Hindi cricket magazine Cricket Samrat after 42 years of publication.

Sportstar, the weekly from The Hindu group, has already gone online.


In the Indian Express, the paper’s sports writer Daksh Panwar calls Cricket Samrat a combination of Cricinfo, Sports Illustrated and Star Sports rolled into one.


Screenshot: courtesy Mid-Day

Barkha Dutt’s father and the Netflix founder Marc Randolph’s father have one thing in common: a hobby that hooked them for life

Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph‘s father was a nuclear engineer who, after returning home every day, would slip into overalls, head into the basement and assemble toy trains.

The paragraphs above appear in Randolph’s book That will never work.


In today’s Sunday Mid-Day, there is a similar story of TV journalist Barkha Dutt‘s father, S.P. Dutt, assembling Meccano sets at the ripe young age of 81.

Among the items on display, a robot, steam locomotives, and model trains running below the ceiling, above a picture of his wife, Prabha Dutt, a pioneering journalist who worked for Hindustan Times.

Bahar Dutt, the younger of their two daughters and an environmental journalist, says:

“I have admired my father for his patience, his ability to parent two extremely tenacious daughters, but weeks into the lockdown, I was struck by his ability to be happy at home, doing what he loves doing.”

Everybody loves Rashid Irani: When a fine movie critic—a restaurant owner who doesn’t own a stove or a fridge, and can’t cook—gets stuck at home

How did a Bombay film critic who lives alone, without a cooking range, TV or fridge, and who has eaten all his meals outside for 35 years, live through the 75-day lockdown?

Rashid Irani, long time movie reviewer for The Times of India and then Hindustan Times, recounts his saga in Sunday Mid-Day.

“Though I live with over 5,000 books and magazines for the last two-and-a-half months, I have not felt the urge to read or re-read a single book. I feel what is the use of all this reading, if it has to come to this. It has made me cynical.

“I have been watching films for the last 50 years. But, since the lockdown, I have not been able to see a single film, and strangely, I have no regrets about that.

“Earlier, I would go down at least two or three times a day. I’d visit the nearest tea shop in the neighbourhood, have a simple chai and omelette, and come home satisfied. Now, that all restaurants are shut, I go once in the morning for my tea, at a small shack in the nearby lane. Here, I am joined by garbage workers, the underprivileged, and the elderly; [they have been hit the worst due to the lockdown] and yet, I do not see despair in them. That’s moving, but it has also made me very angry. At times, I am overwhelmed with rage.

Like most people, I am disoriented, and have become borderline depressive. While I live alone, I do not thrive on this loneliness; I need human contact. What this lockdown has done is turn me into an automaton.

The irony of Rashid Irani’s story is that the trained chartered accountant is the working partner of Brabourne, the eponymous Irani restaurant on Princess Street in Bombay with which his family has been associated since 1934.


After Rashid Irani’s troubling account appeared, some film folk jumped in. And the following diary item appears in today’s Mid-Day.

Also read: A portrait of a critic at the cash counter

In the good old days, when journalism was still fun, before the nerds and “grads” arrived and sucked the oxygen out of the newsroom…

Khushwant Singh said he cooked up the weekly astrological predictions for The Illustrated Weekly of India for a couple of weeks when the designated crystalball gazer was rendered hors de combat.

The claim was difficult to ascertain given the general record of its source.

In the Bombay tabloid Mid-Day, its former staffer Mark Manuel recounts a similar tale, that he wrote Bejan Daruwalla‘s column after losing a pile one week.

“Bejan stayed at Shalimar Hotel in Kemps Corner and came to our office in Tardeo bringing one week’s forecasts at a time.

“I lost them all one day.

“Afraid of losing my job, I fearfully began writing the daily forecasts myself under the great Bejan Daruwalla’name. It was not difficult to do, people were emotionally bankrupt, they wanted to read good predictions only.

“But I got caught. My editor Behram ‘Busybee’ Contractor was furious. Not with me but with Bejan. Told him one of his “boys” was writing the astrology column and nobody could tell the difference.”

Screenshot: courtesy Mid-Day

When a teenage prodigy with 34,347 international runs grinds his way to a slow and steady 25, it is news to celebrate

In the Bombay tabloid Mid-Day, its group sports editor Clayton Murzello marks the silver jubilee of batting legend Sachin Tendulkar‘s wedding, 25 years ago today.

Clayton writes that he gifted the couple a marble Ganesh idol, and recounts Behram “Busybee” Contractor making mental notes for his Round & About column in the Afternoon Despatch & Courier.

Busybee, he says, wrote three pieces on the wedding:

“If Wills were to revive its ‘Made for Each Other’ contest, the couple (Sachin and Anjali) will win it hands down.”

Soon streaming on a screen near you: Anushka Sharma-backed Amazon Prime show, based “on a line” from ex-Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal’s true story of his assassins

Say what you will, Anushka Sharma is a woman of her word.

In March 2019, the actor backed a web series based on disgraced Tehelka editor Tarun J. Tejpal’s book The Story of my Assassins despite the cloud of sexual harassment charges hovering over him.

The Bombay tabloid Mid-Day reports today that the project is well on stream and Pataal Lok will be streamed on Amazon Prime, despite Amazon wanting to pull the plug in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

“We took a one-line plot from the book. The author of the book (Tarun Tejpal) was not involved in the development or production of the show,” claims the show’s creator Sudip Sharma.

A true story, Tejpal’s novel tracks a senior journalist as he sets out to investigate his would-be killers. Jason Burke then of The Guardian noted that the story was “told with the eye of a journalist but with the verve of a novelist”.

Tejpal had stepped down from his Tehelka position after a female colleague accused him of rape inside the elevator of a hotel in Goa in 2013 during an event organised by the magazine. He was subsequently arrested and is on bail since July 2014.

Screenshot: courtesy Mid-Day

Also read: Who tried to kill a senior journalist?

A true love story: How a Parsi journalist at ‘Current’ met the Editor of ‘Onlooker’ magazine and lived happily forever, but got excommunicated from her community

Two weeks after her death in the middle of the COVID pandemic, The Telegraph‘s fine London correspondent Amit Roy has a long obituary of Gulshan Ewing nee Mehta.

Gulshan Ewing was the editor of the women’s magazine Eve’s Weekly for 23 years, from 1966 to 1989, and also editor of the film magazine Star & Style.

She began her career with the weekly tabloid Current, under the editorship of the doughty Dosu Karaka and went on to Femina from the Times of India stable, and then Eve’s Weekly, owned by the Somani group.

Ms Ewing’s daughter Anjali Ewing dicusses how her parents met.

“Just after India’s independence in 1947, when most British people were fleeing India to return to the UK, Joseph Dennis Ewing made the journey in the opposite direction. He left Manchester for a job as a financial editor of The Statesman of Calcutta.

“His son, Guy, 17 at the time, also began in journalism in Calcutta before venturing to Bombay a couple of years later. In time, he became editor of Onlooker.

“My dad was outside the Strand Cinema in Bombay with a friend of his — he spotted my mother with a group of her friends. He said, ‘Oh, look at her.’ His friend, Charlie, said, ‘Oh, that’s Gulshan Mehta, she works at Current, she is a journalist.’

“My dad said, ‘If you know her, can you get us together? His friend said, ‘Come on, I will introduce you.’ My dad said, ‘No, no, not like this. Why don’t you throw a get together of some kind?’

“Charlie threw some kind of party and he invited my mum. And my dad monopolised her for the entire evening. Apparently he proposed towards the end of the evening.

“My mother said, ‘Don’t be silly. You are tipsy.’ So he promised to propose sober the next day which apparently he did do. They courted for a year — and got married in 1955 and stayed on in India.”

Read the full obituary: Gulshan Ewing


In an earlier obituary by in Mid-Day, the journalist Sherna Gandhy recalls:

“When I joined Eve’s Weekly in 1979, I had no degree in journalism, but like everyone else, I learnt on the job because we had wonderful mentors and we were never hobbled by petty politicking, which often starts at the top.

“Mrs Ewing was the least petty of people. We were all women on the editorial staff (with the exception, for a while, of the chief sub editor, an old school gentleman who once gave a headline in which he spelt ‘complete’ as ‘compleat’, intentionally of course, referring to Izak Walton‘s 1563 book The Compleat Angler; Mrs Ewing came into the room chuckling away and told Mr Rao that she was in the Managing Director’s bad books because she had employed a chief sub who couldn’t even spell ‘complete’!)

Read the full obituary: The glamorous, kind hearted editor


Also read: Pioneering woman editor

The queen bee of Bombay film journalists

It’s curtains for Busybee’s baby, the ‘Afternoon Despatch & Courier’

The Afternoon Despatch & Courier was launched by Behram Contractor alias ‘Busybee‘ in what was a protest action against goings-on in Mid-Day.

The founder is long gone, and the paper soon will.


Farzana Contractor recounts the launch of the paper, in Mumbai Mirror.

“Anybody can do an MBA. Not everybody can become a cartoonist”: the sage advice that turned Satish Acharya into a 24×7 cartoonist in the social media age



Although the Mysore-born R.K. Laxman is the best known of them all, it is Kerala that has produced more political cartoonists in the English language: P. Shankar Pillai, O.V. Vijayan, Abu Abraham, Kutty, Unny, Ravi Shankar, Ajit Ninan et al.

In recent years, Satish Acharya has joined his Kannadiga torch-bearer as a political cartoonist of promise, his works first adorning the Bombay afternoon paper, Mid-Day, and now a number of newspapers and websites across the country.

As India heads into general elections, Acharya has two new books of his cartoons during the last five years. Titled ‘Cartoon Sarkar!’ and ‘Hum and Them‘, the covers capture the challenges of cartooning in the time of social media.

The Bombay radiologist, quizzer and cartoonist, Hemant Morparia, has a foreword.

Acharya, 47, now based in Kundapur in coastal Karnataka, speaks of his art and craft ahead of the launch of the books.



Q: When and why did you feel like becoming a cartoonist? How did you start? 

Satish Acharya: During my school days, I was fascinated by the story-telling power of illustrations in Amar Chitra Katha books. Then the cartoons of R.K. Laxman and Mario Miranda which used to appear in The Illustrated Weekly of India attracted me. I started copying them religiously. Gradually I developed my own drawing style.

In college, I used to send pocket cartoons to Kannada periodicals like Taranga, Tushara and Sudha. After many failed attempts, my first cartoon was published in Taranga. I was paid Rs 25 for my effort!

I continued to contribute pocket cartoons to Kannada magazines and earn my pocket money during college days. But I never considered taking up cartooning as a profession. As I hailed from a lower middle-class family I knew that only a good job could change our financial situation and cartooning in Kannada didn’t hold any promise.

After completing B.Com., I did my MBA and started hunting for a job in Bangalore. During one of these interviews, the interviewer, after observing my keen interest in cartooning, told me, ‘Anybody can do MBA, but not everybody can become a cartoonist’. That line prompted me to look at cartooning seriously.

After failing to get any suitable job in Bangalore I moved to Mumbai. And it was in Mumbai that I realised that cartooning could be a profession. I started freelancing for some newspapers and magazines while working as a client servicing executive at an advertising agency. But I couldn’t focus properly on either of them. So, I had to take a tough decision to pick up cartooning as my profession. 

But it took me almost 10 years to get a break as a professional cartoonist. In 2003, I got a break at Mid-Day, as a graphic designer and illustrator. 

Aakar Patel was my editor. Basically I was doing graphics and illustrations, and making pages at Mid-Day. But my ambition was to become a cartoonist. I started doing small cartoons and sent them to Aakar and the newsdesk team. They started printing them along with readers’ letters. Luckily Aakar saw some potential in me as a cartoonist and offered a regular column in Mid-Day. 



Q: How do you go about creating a cartoon? What is the inspiration? Does the line come first or the cartoon? 

Satish Acharya: I call myself 24×7 cartoonist. Though the actual time spent in creating a cartoon is just 40 minutes to an hour or two, the hunt for ideas continue through the day. I keep reading news portals, scurrying through social media (especially Twitter) and pick the most interesting talking point of the day. Most times, a news development prompts a cartoon idea. Sometimes I feel strongly about an issue and start brainstorming. 

On most days, I draw around 2-3 cartoons. On some days ideas flow fluently and some days are hard. When there’s a good cartoon idea, it makes me restless till I complete the cartoon. It’s like labour pain!

News is always the inspiration. Some quote, some visual…anything can trigger a cartoon idea.

I used to draw with brush and ink when I started, then moved to pen and ink and later sketch pen/marker. Now I use Wacom Cintiq to draw cartoons directly on computer, though I still practice with freehand sketching. 

Most of my cartoons are now published on news portals, where I get more freedom and face less interference. Sify, One India, Star of Mysore, Newssting, Sportstar, Sports Illustrated, Udayavani etc are some of my clients.


Q: Who are your favourite characters? Who do you find easy to draw—and difficult? Is it easy drawing women for you?

Satish Acharya: Mostly the politicians who are always in news become regular characters in my cartoons. And you get used to them. Presently Modi, Rahul, Shah are my favourites. When you start with a new face, you struggle to simplify the face to fit into political cartoons. But gradually you succeed in creating your own stylised character sheet for different characters. 

I always found drawing Nitish Kumar little difficult. Every time I drew him, he appeared more like Vajpayee!

Drawing pretty faces is a little tough, so women are difficult until you draw lots of their sketches. But every face has a prominent feature which readers identify with and cartoonist latches on to it.

Q: What, to you, is the role of an editorial cartoonist in journalism? Whose works do you admire in India? 

Satish Acharya: A cartoonist’s comment is as important as the editor’s comment in a newspaper. If you take up any newspaper, you will find that the cartoonist delivers the most independent voice, consistently. An editor might be handicapped by the paper’s stand, but a cartoonist has no such obligation.

I’m a great fan of cartoonists like Sandeep Adhwaryu (The Times of India), Surendra (The Hindu), Dr Morparia (Mumbai Mirror), Manjul, P. Mohammad. Each of them is so distinctive and so consistent.

I’m regularly in touch with most of them, and they inspire me every day.

Q: Is it easy being a freelance cartoonist? What kind of pressure do editors impose on you? How do you react to criticism from readers and trolls? 

Satish Acharya: It’s tough being a freelance cartoonist. Though I have established my name in this profession, I still face uncertainty. Money-wise it takes some time to quote your own price. But the biggest problem is not getting paid. Some journalists promise you payment, but cheat later. As you don’t always start with a contract, they misuse the trust. 

Fortunately, I live in the small town of Kundapur (after relocating from Mumbai), so my needs are limited and I can survive even without some clients.

I must say, most of my clients give me enough freedom and mostly they don’t interfere. Though I’m open to debate and changes, there have been uncomfortable situations, where editors tried to modify my opinion and I resisted. Once I resist, I realise that my days are numbered. Most of the times, they end the association abruptly. 

Losing a client poses lots of challenges. You lose your precious time in finding another client and settling down with another client takes time.

I welcome criticism as it helps me get out of my comfort zone. But in the last five years, criticism has been replaced by whataboutery! They are getting abusive, personal and threatening. Initially these things shocked me. And the silence of audience was uncomfortable. But during the last three-and-a-half years I see that readers are standing with cartoonists to protest against trolls. Cartoonists are getting lots of support from readers on social media. It gives lots of hope, and fill you with courage.

Earlier I used to react to some of these trolls, but then I realised that they are doing a ‘job’ and I just need to focus on my job. So, I ignore most of them as if they don’t exist.

Since they work as a gang. Once they pick a target, they abuse, threaten, disrupt social media pages, try to instill self-doubt etc. Their intention is to stop you from creating your next cartoon. But I end up doing two more cartoons!


Screenshot 2019-02-07 15.19.22.png

Q: Why did you decide to do these books? 

Satish Acharya: In 2014, just before the elections, I published a book titled, ‘Mein, Hum & AAP’. That book was an attempt to chronicle the political developments leading to 2014 general elections. It was liked by many. That election was a crucial one, after Anna Hazare‘s movement.

I feel 2019 is going to be another crucial election for Indian democracy. I thought I must come up with a book to record this journey from 2014 till the elections. I ended up picking around 200 cartoons, so I had to go in for two books. 

On social media normally some readers judge a cartoonist looking at one cartoon. They don’t look at the body of works. A book of cartoons is an opportunity to showcase the different perspectives.

Q: What is your advice to a young person wanting to do cartoons for a career?

Satish Acharya: During my college days, I had sent a letter to R.K. Laxman briefing him about my passion for cartooning. I received a reply through his secretary. Laxman advised me to focus on studies. Later I realised the meaning of that advice. 

Being passionate about cartooning is good. But you need to support your passion with lots of hard work. Your education, your reading and your interests play a crucial role in your ideas. And for me, an idea is more important than the drawing part in a cartoon.

Work on your drawing skills, without worrying about the digital tools or software. But you should be open enough to build your opinion through lots of studies, reading and also through different perspectives. 


Cartoon Sarkar! published by Vibhinna Ideas; 104+4 pages; Rs 250

Hum and Them! published by Vibhinna Ideas; 104+4 pages; Rs. 250

Buy directly from or through PayUMoney

When a newspaper Editor looked like a hippie

vinod mehta

Mainstream Indian (print) editors today are usually at their nattiest best, wearing carefully chosen Fab India kurtas if not designer clothes, trendy watches and slick spectacles, with not a strand out of place on their mane.

But there was a time, in 1971, when editors looked like Makarand Deshpande

Guess who this newspaper editor is?

Sachin Tendulkar, Sigmund Freud & the media

As the Indian (and global) media—print, electronic and digital—reports Sachin Tendulkar‘s retirement from cricket as if it’s the end of the world; as breathless reporters, writers, anchors and tweeters ask “What will happen to cricket now that Sachin is gone?”, now is a good time as any to remember Harold Ross and James Thurber.

Ross was the founder of the New Yorker magazine, and Thurber its most famous cartoonist, who could also write. Twenty-six years after he founded the legendary weekly, Ross passed away, as all of us must, in 1951.

Here’s what Thurber writes in ‘The years with Ross‘ (page 272):

“People still speak of ‘Ross’s New Yorker’, and his name is heard in conversations and seen on printed pages. At least half a hundred people in the past seven years have said, or written, to me, ‘I never knew Ross, but when he died I felt I had lost a dear friend’.

“One man, a literary agent who gets around town, told me, ‘You could feel the sorrow all over the city the day after Ross died. I don’t think I have ever experienced such a sense of communal grief about a man most people I met had never seen.’

“We were all asked, a hundred times, ‘What will happen to the New Yorker now that Ross is dead?’ We had our separate answers to that, but Joe Liebling’s is perhaps the one that will last: ‘The same thing that happened to analysis after Sigmund Freud died’.”

Id est, life goes on.


Also read: A front page with two mastheads for two jewels

Sachin Tendulkar, Mid-Day and the Indian Express

Poonam Pandey, Sachin Tendulkar and The Telegraph

India’s cricket reporters are too soft on cricketers

Today’s cricket journos are chamchas of cricketers

The 5 stereotypes of journalists in Bollywood


In the 1983 hit comedy, Jaane bhi do yaaro, Naseeruddin Shah and Ravi Vaswani work as freelance photographers for Khabardar, a muckraking magazine edited by “Shobha Sen”, played by Bhakti Barve Inamdar

Much as the role of the hero and the heroine has morphed in the Hindi film industry, so has the depiction of the villain and the vamp—and, of course, the journalist.

From a pure print person till well into the late 1980s, the journalist on film is now largely a TV person.

From a poorly paid, poorly dressed, paan-chewing jholawala working for a “cause”, we are now (largely) shown as slick, loud-mouthed, loose-tongued buffoons, in bed with the crooked and the corrupt, and not very different from them.

Two young London-based Indian journalists, Ruhi Khan (formerly of Hindustan Times, Mumbai Mirror & NDTV) and her husband Danish Khan (formerly of Mid-Day and Mumbai Mirror), have analysed 33 films over the last 30 years and written a paper for the journal “The Image of the Journalist in Popular Culturepublished by the University of Southern California at Annenberg.

“Our analysis revealed five popular representations of the journalist that we have classified as romantic companion, glamour chaser, investigative superhero, power magnate, and brainless mouthpiece.

“These categories, though distinct, can also find themselves sharing screen space and often overlapping in the same film’s narrative.

“These stereotypes have been so strongly entrenched in Bollywood scripts that even films inspired by reallife incidences fail to break free of them.”

Here, the Khans introduce their work.



Working as journalists in India’s tinsel town Mumbai-home to Bollywood cinema, one often comes across various public prejudices against the reporter. From being revered and trusted to help foster change for the better, to being accused of trivialising the profession or manipulating news for profits.

The IJPC article stemmed for our desire to find out how such public perceptions are influenced. In this article we analyse only one element – perhaps one of the greatest factors that can affect mass perceptions—Bollywood films.

Most commercial films are not a prism reflecting reality, but a figment of someone’s imagination and desire to see the world as he or she would like to. Hindi film is devoid of much reality and is often an exaggeration, yet it defines its audience’s aspirations and perceptions.

And this is what the article reflects—the caricature images of journalists portrayed by Bollywood, from their most Romeo-like romantic image to their most macho Rambo superhero.

We analysed 33 films over a 30-year period from 1981 to 2011, ranging from “Mr. India” to “Rockstar,” where the role of the journalist or media has been important in the film’s narrative script or has been entrenched in public memory for its journalistic aspects.

Our analysis revealed five popular representations of journalists. We found many Bollywood films depicting journalists as a Romantic Companion to the other lead protagonist. This is where the focus is on the scribe’s singing, dancing or seducing skills rather than his reporting.

A more realistic category is the Glamour Chaser where reporters are portrayed as flies fluttering around a ‘celebrity’ candy. Need we say more on this, doesn’t seem much difference in real and reel life journalists in this category?

In the Investigative Superhero category the journalist makes powerful enemies in the course of his or her investigative work, just like a superhero who takes on the bad guys. This category showed us two opposite depictions of journalists. While the first half of the period in which our analysis takes place showed investigative reporters often paying a heavy price for their work- often being martyrs in the process; in the latter part the journalist began leveraging his or her profession to safeguard himself or herself by garnering the power of the fourth estate and mobilizing public support and scrutiny.

Next, category Power Magnate shows the media as ‘kingmakers’ holding the power to sway decisions on prominent issues. Prominent senior journalists are ‘sense-makers’ where in they have the power to influence how the public should interpret complex issues.

The last category is the one most journalists in real life are very uncomfortable to even acknowledge but the reel gives plenty of examples to entrench it strongly in public memory—the Brainless Mouthpiece speaks of the most prevalent public perception where journalists are shown as brainless twits who simply follow instructions, bytes, or gossip without questioning anything.


Read the full paper: From Romeo to Rambo


Raveen Tandon as Shobha De: Glamourous, sexy, brainy, seductive

Look, who wants to play Christiane Amanpour: Kareena Kapoor

Emran Hashmi to play Rajdeep Sardesai, Arnab Goswami

Journalism film Dev Anand didn’t make featuring Shekhar Gupta

Ram Gopal Verma‘s hit and Rann: ‘I want to expose media’

Will the underworld a hot reporter like Gul Panag?

Anju Mahendroo plays queen bee of film journalism, Devyani

For Sashi Kumar, Ranganath Bharadwaj, acting is second nature

Finally, Karnataka gets an acting chief minister: Ravi Belagere

Dicky Rutnagur, an ekdum first-class dikra: RIP

SHARANYA KANVILKAR writes from Bombay: After three days of parsimonious one-paragraph obituaries, the tributes have started coming in for Dicky Rutnagar, the Bombay-born cricket and squash correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, London, who passed away on Friday, 20 June 2013, at the age of 82.

Rutnagur, who covered 300 Test matches before he retired in 2005, belonged to the “old school” of cricket writers who believed in reporting what took place on the field.

Nicknamed “Kores” for the number of carbon copies he took of his reports to file for various newspapers Rutnagur’s favourite two words were “bloody” and “bastard”.


In The Hindu, where Rutnagur’s pieces often appeared, the veteran cricket and music writer Raju Bharatan of the now-defunct The Illustrated Weekly of India, calls Rutnagar the Zubin Mehta of cricket writing.

“Dicky’s breakthrough in journalism came as the illustrious Hindustan Times editor, S. Mulgaonkar, handpicked him to report Test cricket, at home and abroad, replacing Berry Sarbadhikary….

“His roaming spirit made him the exemplary freelance. No one enlivened the pressbox more with his puckish presence. As one Palsule from a vernacular paper kept importuning Dicky for return of a sum, his response was vintage Rutnagur: “If you ask for your money one more time, I will never borrow from you again!”

In The Telegraph, Calcutta, Amit Roy writes of how Rutnagur made the jump to the British press.

“In 1966, Dicky arrived in England with an agreement to work every day during the summer covering county games for The Daily Telegraph and then disappear abroad for the winter for Test matches.”

As if to live to up to C.L.R. James‘ famous line “What do they know of cricket who only cricket know,” Rutnagur, like his compatriot K.N. Prabhu of The Times of India, had an ear for classical music.

“I would say that cricket has been almost – almost – all consuming. But I am very fond of classical music – and jazz. Mozart and Rachmaninov, Tsaichovsky, and latterly in the last few weeks I have been listening to a lot of Beethoven.”

Like a good Parsi, Rutnagur believed in telling it like it is, sans political correctness. He said cricket writing had come a long way: From Cardus to Kotnis.

In Mid-Day, the former Hindu cricket writer, R. Mohan, reminisced:

“Walking into the Indian dressing room with him on the morning of the first ever Test match in Ahmedabad, Dicky came up with the best joke on the Indian team I had heard in a long time.

“Looking at all the Sardars sitting around – Sidhu, Sandhu, Maninder, Gursharan – Dicky came up with – Sorry, I thought this was the Indian dressing room, not the Motibagh taxi stand.’”

Amit Roy writes that Rutnagur believed the authorities at Lord’s were right to apply a strict dress code – tie and jacket for men; no jeans or trainers; and for women, no cleavage on display.

“We” – meaning men – “take the trouble to dress properly,” he said. “The least women could do was adopt the same code.”

Rutnagur wrote two books, Test Commentary (India v England, 1976-77) and Khans Unlimited (a history of squash in Pakistan).

Photograph: courtesy Mid-Day

Read a Dicky Rutnagur report: Silencing the Calypso

Will TV channels lose out to newspapers by 2050?

Before the reforms of 1991 prised open the doors of Indian journalism (and the minds and wallets of publishers and promoters), “Gulf” was the El Dorado journalists and editors chased. In Bombay and Bangalore and Delhi, dozens of journalists and editors attended road shows and group-interviews in the banquet halls of five-star hotels.

Khaleej Times, Gulf News, The Peninsula… would eventually be the ports of call that beckoned some of India’s bigget and brightest names, from S. Nihal Singh to Pranay Gupte, Bikram Vohra to Khalid A.H. Ansari.

Khaleej Times turned 35 years old this week and like the rest of its dead-tree brethren across the globe is coming to terms with the realities of the modern world. Ramesh Prabhu who left Mid Day, Bombay, to join the Dubai paper, writes in the anniversary issue on the what the next 35 years holds for newspaper journalism.



Eight years ago, while addressing college students at a media seminar in Bangalore, the editor-in-chief of The Indian Express group had bemoaned the fact that television news was chipping away at the raisons d’être of newspapers.

Television channels had expropriated from the dailies, Shekhar Gupta said, the who, what, when, and where of news. “Of the five W’s and one H,” he told the audience, “we are now left with only the why and the how.”

Shades of “Video killed the radio star”?

At the time, in 2005, when Gupta was dwelling on a topic that would resonate with newspaper journalists everywhere, it had not yet become clear that Google was well on its way to eating the newspaper industry’s lunch and dinner, having already chomped down its breakfast.

Quite a few people, especially young adults, were going online to get the who, what, when, and where of news. And when there were no compelling reasons to look for, or to understand, the why and the how, what did they have to read a newspaper for?

Cut to 2013. Already, the iconic Newsweek has gone “all-digital”, while other print publications, including daily newspapers, especially in the West, are in the doldrums, pondering a future without a physical presence, as in the case of Newsweek, or any presence at all, as in the case of the Chicago Daily News and the Baltimore Examiner (visit for all the gory details).

What to do?


Parvathi Menon, resident editor of the Bangalore edition of The Hindu, recently gave aspiring journalists something to think about regarding this issue.

Speaking at a local media college’s annual seminar in February, Menon referred to the economic problems plaguing the industry but she asserted that the principles of journalism have not changed and do not need to change; it is only the medium that is changing.

She also spoke about the urgent need for newspapers to figure out how to make money off their Web offerings. The underlying message: Newspapers are not going to survive, leave alone thrive, unless they come up with a sound online strategy.

But what constitutes a sound online strategy?

The New York Times, one of the world’s great newspapers, has been thinking hard about the answer to this question for some years now.

As far back as July 2008, responding to a reader’s question on the newspaper’s website, Marc Frons, the executive in charge of digital operations, had written that the goal was to enable “our readers to have the best of both worlds — technology that allows them to personalize aspects of their experience while at the same time highlighting the editorial judgment that’s unique to The Times”.

In other words, the aim at The Times was, and is, to engage with its audience not just once a day at the breakfast table but throughout the day with a continually updated, reader-friendly website.


Closer home, in India, the respected business paper, Mint, last year adopted what it calls a Web-first philosophy. What does this mean for the reader?

The editor, R. Sukumar, explained in a note in the paper that stories would now be broken first on the website, and updated continuously if they merit updates. The note continued (bear with me here for reproducing the longish excerpt below, but this will help us to understand the manifold changes newspapers need to think about making):

“It means opinion and analysis pieces, too, appear first on the Web, soon after a big event, so that the readers can understand what it means. It means the extensive use of social media to amplify stories, engage with readers, and also, in some cases, to constantly provide updates on developing-by-the-minute stories. It means the extensive use of multimedia, including video. It means reaching out to people on a variety of devices (phones, tablets) through apps and a dynamic website.

“It means producing a paper that factors in everything we have done in the past 12 hours and understanding what makes most sense for readers, sometimes a full 18 hours after the original news has broken. And it means doing all this without compromising our integrity or high journalistic standards.”

There is no better way to chart out what should be the priorities of every newspaper today.

Note the emphasis on reaching out to people on a variety of devices. Most young people I know do not subscribe to a daily newspaper. And they will not read a newspaper, if they can help it. If at all they make an attempt to glean the day’s news, they do it by firing up an app on their mobile phones or using their mobiles to surf online.

Note, too, the emphasis on editorial judgment in The Times executive’s quote, and on journalistic standards in the Mint editor’s note.


The zillions of bloggers out there offer news of a sort, sure, but the writing on most blogs, apart from being of poor quality, is often slanted and ill-informed, making it difficult to comprehend what one is reading. Only trained and experienced journalists can provide editorial judgment and be expected to uphold high journalistic standards.

(Yes, and this is sad but true, some publications have justly earned a reputation for being on the make. However, I believe that the greater number of newspapers — and journalists — take very seriously their role as watchdogs of society. This is a discussion, though, for another occasion.)

But are editorial judgment and high journalistic standards enough to attract the next generation of readers, the people who will form the bulk of the readership 35 years from now? The answer appears to be “No”, going by the indifference to newspapers of young people today.

If we want them to read news on handheld devices and if we want newspapers to become the go-to sites on their screens, we need, as journalists, to focus on what I term the three E’s of journalism: engage, entertain, enlighten.

Given that the basic values and disciplines of journalism have been imbibed and are being practised, the writing has to be top-notch, above all. There was a time when the No. 1 quality sought in journalists was their nose for news, their ability to judge newsworthiness; if their writing skills were, at best, adequate, it was considered good enough.

But adequate writing skills are not good enough today. And they won’t be any good in 2050.

Indifferent writing breeds indifferent readers.

Quality writing attracts readers of all kinds.

In a topical book I am reading just now, The Imperfectionists by journalist-turned-novelist Tom Rachman, published in 2010, the editor of a Rome-based newspaper tells the mediator at an industry conference that news will survive and quality coverage will always earn a premium.

“Whatever you want to call it,” she says, “news, text, content — someone has to report it, someone has to write it, someone has to edit it.”

Rachman’s fictional editor, Kathleen Solson, also discusses living in an era when technology is moving at an unheralded pace. “I can’t tell you if in fifty years we’ll be publishing in the same format,” she tells the mediator. “Actually I can probably tell you we won’t be publishing in the same way, that we’ll be innovating then, just as we are now.”

On that promising note, I am going to go out on a limb and predict that 35 years from now when Khaleej Times sets out to hire journalists for its expanded web-print empire, it will be looking for tech-proficient reporters and editors who have not only been trained in Journalism 101 but also have exceptional writing skills, even new writing skills that we are missing out on now.

They will be able to speedily compose and edit articles that will engage, entertain, and enlighten readers. Articles that will be read from first word to last. Articles that will give readers compelling reasons to stay glued to their screens.

The five W’s and one H of news will be buttressed by two additional, crucial elements: “So what?” and “What next?”

There will be an incentive to care about the news again. And a well-known television journalist, speaking at a media seminar in 2050 in Dubai, will then lament how TV news channels are losing out to newspapers.

What is it they say about just deserts?

(Ramesh Prabhu has worked as a journalist in Mumbai, Dubai, and Bangalore, having begun his career with Mid Day in 1981. He is now professor of journalism at Commits Institute of Journalism & Mass Communication, Bangalore.)

The many faces of Aakar Patel (as per Google)

Aakar Prakaar

Google now has a search facility by which you can look up images of people by putting in an image in the search window.

This is what turns up when you look for Aakar Patel, at various times the executive editor of Mid-Day, columnist for Mint Lounge, Hindustan Times, Express Tribune, First Post and Open, and a talking head on CNN-IBN.


He said it: ‘Indian journalism is regularly second-rate’

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