Anil Thakraney | Credit for return of marines must go to media

24 Mar,2013

By Anil Thakraney

 

Some observations on the two big stories of last week. One, as the government (and strangely the opposition party!) takes credit for the return of the killer Italian marines, no one should forget the role played by the Indian media. In fact, in my books, this is the media’s victory, another feather in the cap. Had the media not raised a hue and cry, these murderers were lost to us forever, there’s no way the government would have negotiated furiously with their Italian counterparts to find a way to get these doods back. A pat on the back is in order, and am hoping it comes from the usually sleepy PM. A side-note on this issue: The marines will live a life of luxury inside their embassy, right till the trial is over. After conviction, which will quite obviously result in a jail term for a few years, they’ll fly to Italy to serve the sentence out there. Wow, how very cool! Wonder who’s having the last laugh in this tragic tale.

 

Two, despite the boredom I expressed with the Sanjay Dutt saga (read my Friday post), the caravan is chugging along merrily. Bollywood’s PR machinery, now that the frat has discovered the ‘pardon’ option, is in overdrive. They are determined to see that baba never goes to jail again. Of course, these filmi types wouldn’t care for the long term impact of this on the nation’s collective psyche, that’s not their problem. But Justice Katju leaping to the rescue of the criminal star is nothing less than shocking. The retired judge, in his infinite wisdom, forgot that influential people such as himself must stand up for the weak and the deprived. Not for those who are already rich and already well connected. Not sure if Katju realizes this, but his emergence as a huge fan of Sanju baba has dealt a body blow to his own credibility.

 

One other thing: I saw Katju speak very rudely with NDTV’s Nidhi Razdan and CNN IBN’s Bhupendra Chaubey, when the TV anchors were grilling him over the Dutt pardon issue. Both the journos maintained their composure in the face of what was nothing short of live television humiliation. In fact, Katju even questioned Razdan’s anchoring abilities! To be honest, my blood was on the boil just watching all this go on, full marks to these guys for taking it all so calmly. I do hope to meet Justice Katju someday. Up close.

 

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PS: Must say I am disappointed with the ‘new’ Anandi in Balika Vadhu (Colors). It’s my favourite daily serial, and the producers usually get the casting bang-on. In all these years this must be the first time they’ve got it wrong. The new maiden lacks distinctive character on her face, as also the gravitas required for this particular role. She’s just another pleasant TV face, the sort we encounter in every single soap. Sad.

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