Ranjona Banerji: Why we can get gussa with Ram Gopal Verma!

23 Nov,2012

By Ranjona Banerji


Interesting that neither The Times of India nor the Hindustan Times in Mumbai chose to run with former CAG officer RP Singh’s claims that he was forced to sign off on the CAG report on 2G spectrum even though he did not agree with the findings. Singh had done the audit. He also claimed that his fellow officers visited Parliamentary Accounts Committee chairman MM Joshi at his home before the PAC submitted its own report. The CAG figure of a presumptive loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore was not borne out by the auction just held, which got Rs 9400 crore. Singh said he put the figure at Rs 2645 crore but was forced to change it by Vinod Rai, head of CAG.


Television had run with the story through Thursday. Indian Express carried it as its lead.




The sudden hanging of terrorist Ajmal Kasab on Wednesday morning took both television and the nation by surprise. Many people on social media castigated their friends and followers for spreading rumours. TV anchors undoubtedly felt cheated out of a live even which they could have milked to the nth degree with their breathless moment by moment coverage – now Kasab has eaten a tomato, now he has rubbed his eyes, now the rope is being rubbed with wax and so on.


Having been denied this ghoulish made-for-television opportunity – which would have given Gandhian social activist Anna Hazare the public execution he so longed for – TV then spent all day talking to survivors and victims’ families. TV9 apparently went as far as running a graphic of a hanging man dangling away on one side of the screen. In case anyone missed the point presumably.


Ram Gopal Verma – responsible in a sense for Vilasrao Deshmukh losing his chief ministership after he accompanied him to the Taj on a post-attack official visit – wrote a controversial and somewhat unfortunate article for Bombay Times which contained the following paragraph: “The tremendous anger felt by almost all Indians ever since they saw Kasab on the cc footage at cst of the night of 26/11, 2008, finally came to a happy hanging ending. Though it must be said that in the way it was done so completely out of the blue, was very akin to a sudden orgasm without having even a teeny weeny bit of foreplay… Many including me would have relished seeing Kasab being lynched and tortured before being put to death…”


Comments below the article start with a reader questioning Verma about how he comes to the conclusion that “many” would have liked to see Kasab tortured. Verma also denies that he wanted to make a film on the attacks when he went to the Taj but now says Kasab’s hanging has given his film an ending which is the “perfect icing on the cake”.


It is one thing to be clever and quite another to be indecent, which is what Verma seems to have decided suits him better.




The case for the abolition of capital punishment was discussed on edit pages. The Times of India hopped a foot off its normal stand against the death penalty by saying that it was necessary in extreme circumstances. Mid-day was against the death penalty arguing that it had no place in a compassionate society.




Parliament was disrupted on its first day of the winter session which took up some TV time as it happened and on discussion groups later that night. But as there was nothing unusual about this, newspapers were not interested.




The endless dissection of Bal Thackeray’s life and times continued in print with everyone who had heard of him for even 10 minutes giving us their analysis. Thus emphasising the severe lack of depth and objectivity in journalism today.


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