Anil Thakraney: Insensitive for channels to call know Thackeray-baiters

19 Nov,2012

By Anil Thakraney


For the last two days there has been carpet coverage of Mr T’s death, across the media. The poor Chadha brothers. They chose to shoot each other dead on the same day, and no one was interested in their totally sensational action, their story went almost unnoticed. Some random observations on the media coverage of the Sena chief’s death:


I was not very happy with the TV panel discussions on the evening of the demise. On the one hand the same boring politicians were invited, who then belted out the usual clichés. On the other hand, to spice things up, the anchors invited the known Thackeray-baiters. This, I found to be a little insensitive. Criticism of the man and his legacy must begin after the last rites are done, and not as soon as he’s announced dead. Not only is this morally wrong, all the dissing could have led to lumpen elements of the Sena losing their unusual cool. And a number of people in the city, who were still scrambling to their homes, could have come to grief. I think the news channels, in their search for eyeballs, must demonstrate a degree of sensitivity to the already harried aam aadmi.


Glad that the news channel CEOs did not decide to pull the ads as a mark of respect. Though I am certain this must have been discussed in the boardrooms. Doing such a thing over the death of a person who, although very popular, was an extra-constitutional authority, would have been way over the top. Apart from being bad for business, of course.


Some news channel editors seized the moment to replay old Thackeray interviews they had done, and kept reminding us that ‘Balasaheb told me this, he told me that, he opened up to me, etc’. Someone should point out to these worthies that this sort of gloating, especially at the time of death, is in real bad taste. Also, television is a total ‘team work’ medium, it must always be ‘We’. Never ‘I’.


In addition, the archival interviews, already watched umpteenth number of times by all and sundry, were quite boring. When most of us viewers, at least in Mumbai, were keen to know if there was a threat of violence in our backyard. And Dilliwallahs must have been desperate to find out what happened inside the Chadha household. Sometimes I think Indian channel editors are dictators. Don’t think their juniors have the guts to point out their obvious flaws.


As for the press coverage, the only thing I enjoyed was the reprint in Mumbai Mirror of Busybee’s super columns on Thackeray. There has not been, and perhaps never will be, a finer chronicler of Mumbai city than Busybee. He will be remembered long after Balasaheb is forgotten. Yup, I choose writers over cartoonists. 🙂


Must say Twitter was the most delightful of all media. The contrast was telling. All the movie stars (most of who did not know Thackeray personally), were busy singing sweet praises in his memory. And the ‘mango’ people were tweeting about traffic problems and other hazards that would come in the way of Mumbaikars. No prizes for guessing whose side I was on.


Last word reserved for the man himself: I don’t know whether to feel happy or sad that an average cartoonist hailing from a middle-class family, who builds his political brand solely on the junta’s perceived insecurities, can become such a powerful leader in this nation. Not sure if this is the sort of democracy our founding fathers had in mind.


RIP Balasaheb Thackeray.


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One response to “Anil Thakraney: Insensitive for channels to call know Thackeray-baiters”

  1. Sunil s. says:

    How can you have an objective assessment of the man if you dont put his detractors on the stand along with the hero worshippers?

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