Anil Thakraney: Little Bitti Madness

11 Mar,2013

By Anil Thakraney


I was travelling all of last week, and therefore I caught up with news television in small doses. And the comedy circus I saw over convicted Odisha rapist Bitti Mohanty’s arrest left me guffawing. Times Now was busy trying to grab credit for the arrest, as were, I suspect, a few other channels. Perhaps that’s the reason I spotted a faint smile on the rapist’s face, I can think of no other reason for this, the chap faces a hard time in prison.


Two messages I want to send to editors of news channels. One, the media had absolutely no role to play in young Mohanty’s capture. From what I could gather, the Kerala police received a tip-off from an unknown source, they investigated and found the absconder. So then why were some channels gloating? It completely beats me. If you have been raising the issue of the rapist’s disappearance on your silly chat shows, and if that had put pressure on the security agencies across the nation to launch a desperate manhunt, then perhaps you have some reason to gloat. How can you take credit over a chance capture? It’s beyond belief.


In fact, I would say the man’s sudden disappearance into thin air presented an opportunity for the media to conduct a large-scale, nation-wide investigative story. This was not done for seven long years. All that the channels did was indulge in a lazy rant, so why all the chest-thumping now? Is Times Now expecting a Pulitzer for this ‘grand success’? All I can do is snigger away.


The other thing I wish to say to the editors is this: Even if you DID conduct a huge investigative campaign which led to the discovery of the vanished man, it’s extremely distasteful to gloat on air. Shows you in a very poor light. Confident people and brands don’t pat their own backs, they wait/hope for others to do it for them. Hope my colleagues in the television media remember this truth when they actually contribute in a crime expose. In Mohanty’s case, they were caught napping. Gloating over this one is a ROFL moment for their viewers.




PS: A good example of how to make technology get out of its cold environs, and come alive with fun and games. At least in the advertising. Dell says you have to create an alternate universe. I say you need fertile imagination. After all, what is high tech minus imagination? Must-watch for creatives who get bogged down by briefs on hardware and software products/services.

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