Category Archives: A bit of fun

“Journalists make terrible politicians. You have to have a very, very thick skin to survive the muck. I made a mistake,” says anchor Ashutosh who had vowed (on camera) never to come back to journalism

Do journalists betray their profession when they enter politics? Do journalists make terrible leaders? Should there be a “cooling-off” period before a journalist takes the plunge? Questions, questions, questions. All asked a zillion times before whenever a journalist steps over to the other side of the mike. As Supriya Shrinate, a former ET Now presenter,…

Pritish Nandy was the reason Daler Mehndi made the hit number ‘Tunak Tunak Tun’. As at least one answer in every interview in the ‘Illustrated Weekly of India’ would start, “You know, Pritish.”

The big, booming voice of Daler Mehndi, the superb sufi and bhangra singer, no longer rocks pubs, clubs and dinner parties. Bollywood has moved on to his brother Mika Singh, and Daler’s own legal tangles with alleged human trafficking have cast a dark shadow over him. But, Holi Hai! In an interview to Seemi Pasha of…

‘The Daily Telegraph’ journalist who found Nirav Modi in London was, er, not quite looking for the diamond fraudster that Narendra Modi had happily let go

Journalism doesn’t always happen by design. When The Daily Telegraph found the fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi hailing a taxi in London, and peppered him with questions, it was not because a crack investigative team was actively looking for the man who had defrauded banks in India of Rs 13,000 crore. It was because the paper’s magazine…

Who tried to kill a senior journalist? Anushka Sharma will tell Tarun Tejpal’s novel of his would-be assassins, and Amazon will stream it.

With impeccable timing, on International Women’s Day 2019, Mumbai Mirror reports that former Tehelka editor Tarun J. Tejpal‘s 2010 novel The Story of my Assassins, is to be made into a web series by the actor and director Anushka Sharma. A true story, the novel tracks a senior journalist as he sets out to investigate…

18 things you didn’t know about ANI, from the ‘The Ken’ and ‘The Caravan’ profiles of the video news agency to which Narendra Modi has given four interviews in five years

When the letters “ANI” stare at viewers in virtually every news clip; when the prime minister gives the agency his first “interview” of the year; when an opposition leader calls the interviewer “pliable”, naturally somebody is going to ask how “Advani News International”, as it used to be once derisively called, became the go-to media…

The ‘Sunday’ magazine sub-editor who secretly cooked her way to become the best known Indian chef in the world, after Gaggan Anand (if you believe food critics, that is)

In the Hindustan Times magazine supplement, Brunch, the food writer Vir Sanghvi writes about Asma Khan, the former Sunday magazine journalist whose hashtag could well be #SubKaChaatSubKaVikas. (Sunday, launched by the Ananda Bazaar Patrika group, is now defunct. M.J. Akbar was its first editor.) Writes Sanghvi: “It is a funny feeling when a colleague from decades…

‘Dus hazaar tadtadate toofan’: Tintin, the Boy Reporter, was like Superman and James Bond, a status quoist, an apologist for hegemony

Uddalok Mukherjee makes a ‘defamatory’ attack on everybody’s favourite journalist, the “world’s most underworked, overexposed reporter”. “Journalists should not emulate Tintin. He is rarely seen filing copies; he is even casual about deadlines. He is arguably a poodle too; he is a pet of the establishment…. “The Boy Reporter’s acquaintances were a mixed bunch of…

How newspapers prepared Rajasthan fast bowler to get his deliveries right—and he has 50 wickets this season to show

Karnataka is playing Rajasthan in the quarter-finals of the Ranji Trophy in Bangalore. The Hindu has a feature on Rajasthan’s left-arm seam bowler, Tanveer Ul-Haq, who has bagged 50 wickets this season. Tanveer, 27, worked as car mechanic and then as a newspaper delivery boy before a life in cricket beckoned him: “I worked as…

In the tragedy of errors that is Rafale and CBI, former Press Council chief Markandey Katju provides all the comedy, with 48 tweets in four days

A somewhat comical, even if self-serving, side play in the Narendra Modi government’s brazen (and thus far successful) attempts to fool the Supreme Court—not once, but twice—in #Rafale and #CBI, have been the interjections of Justice Markandey Katju*. Justice Katju has tweeted 48 times on or around the “transfer” of CBI director Alok Varma by…

“Headline management”, which Arun Shourie said was the Modi government’s USP, is now faster, vaster, insidious—and real time

During the previous Congress-led UPA government, it was widely rumoured that a non-Hindi speaking Union minister was so mixed up with one English TV news channel that he routinely telephoned his favourite anchor or the “PCR” (production control room) to correct or dictate the “news ticker”. It hasn’t changed much during the BJP-led NDA government,…

Why is BCCI rolling out the red carpet to one “ultra-friendly English news channel”—India Today TV if you really want to know its name?

Girilal Jain, the late editor of The Times of India, used to say that, in India, politics sets the pace and everything else follows in its wake. So, just like some news channels are completely in the thrall of some political parties, some news channels are also the go-to stations for cricket bosses. After the…

NDTV’s Prannoy Roy ‘Sir’ is the kind of generous teacher those aspiring to join Morgan Stanley should get

Every new year, Ruchir Sharma, the precocious Morgan Stanley banker sits down with NDTV’s Prannoy Royfor one hour of ad-free programming, in which he makes predictions for the year ahead. It is first-class television: calm, clean, chummy, insightful—and fun. The “Limousine Liberals”—Sharma gives a bunch of journalists and pollsters a 7-star ride before every major…

‘Deccan Chronicle’ says TOI is stealing its ads!

  Nothing is impossible in the merry world of Indian journalism. Big newspapers (and magazines) flick stories from small ones without as much as acknowledgement. Big TV stations conduct whole debates on issues first flagged by newspapers (and magazines) without so much as a by-your-leave. But at least there’s a word for it: plagiarism. What’s…

When salary isn’t commensurate with circulation

The latest issue of Caravan magazine has more than just the story of former Indian Express editor-in-chief, Shekhar Gupta. There is a fine profile of Eenadu bossman Ramoji Rao, and there are interesting numbers in a data analysis of the big newspapers by howindialives.com. One of the charts (above) in the latter story is how…

18 factoids in ‘Caravan’ profile of Shekhar Gupta

The December “media issue” of Caravan magazine has a 20-page profile of former Indian Express editor-in-chief and shortlived India Today editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta. Authored by Krishn Kaushik, the profile is titled “Capital Reporter”, with the strapline “How profit and principle shaped the journalism of Shekhar Gupta”. *** # The son of a minor bureaucrat from…

Why NaMo shouldn’t take media on foreign trips

As Indian journalists come to terms with a Narendra Modi dispensation that doesn’t want to court them or take them on foreign junkets, K.P. Nayar, the former Washington correspondent of The Telegraph, Calcutta, writes that the US administration is no better. Each correspondent who accompanied US president Barack Obama on his trip to India had…

The hottest reporters covering the World Cup*

The Times of India fills a vital blank in the public discourse: the hottest reporters covering the football World Cup in Brazil— Ines Sainz and Vanessa Huppenkothen. * Search engine optimisation techniques shamelessly at work *** Raveen Tandon as Shobha De: Glamourous, sexy, brainy, seductive Look, who wants to play Christiane Amanpour: Kareena Kapoor Will…

The scoop interview that didn’t see light of day

Reporters look as if they have been stabbed in the back, as if the world as they knew it has come to an end, when their favourite stories and hobby horses are stopped in their tracks by those godawful editors who have “never been in the field” unlike the only Indian living editor who has…