Shailesh Kapoor: A Week To Remember: Politics, IPL & More

30 May,2014

By Shailesh Kapoor


Television weeks can be fairly routine, except in periods like the Elections recently, or the week of a big-ticket cricket series. An odd launch here and there, like Satyamev Jayate, can spike interest. But in most weeks, it is the staple diet that dominates.


In contrast, the last six days have been wildly engaging. I don’t remember a week that offered so much to watch and talk about, driven by politics but certainly not restricted to it. The gossip around the shift in power at Network18 has provided the off-screen masala too. But I shall restrict myself to on-screen material only. Here are my picks of TV events that dominated the week that was:


1. The Swearing-In Ceremony: Swearing-in ceremonies can be dreadfully boring. But the upbeat mood around the new Government ensures that anything involving them gets people interested. The Monday that went by kept the news channels busy, first with conjectures on portfolio allocation, then with the informal but actual list of portfolios, and finally with the live telecast of the actual ceremony. The entertainment was provided by an alert President, who rebuked two ministers for skipping the oath-taking protocol.


2. What A Match: The Mumbai-Rajasthan game last Sunday provided such a big dose of entertainment, it may have over-compensated for a low-key IPL. I don’t remember seeing a match ever, where a team won despite not meeting the originally-announced target. The math of it had most commentators stumped, even though it was fairly elementary, and in fact, should have been a part of the talk even while the chase was going on. The IPL is in its last leg this week, and game last Sunday will ensure this year’s IPL ends on a high – something we were not so sure about a month ago.


3. Ministers In Office: In a first, media has covered ministers in the new Government taking charge better than ever before. A more pro-active Prime Minister and a young, media-savvy Council of Ministers has helped. If this week is anything to go by, we seem to have found our most media-friendly Government ever.


4. Zindagi and Indo-Pak diplomacy: It can be termed as uncanny and highly coincidental. Zee’s new channel Zindagi, which plans to air content from Pakistan, was formally launched last week. As the campaign gained momentum this week, events engineered by our new PM led to Nawaz Sharif making a much-discussed India trip. Zindagi is bound to benefit from the sentiment of hope that Indo-Pak relationships may indeed improve under Modi. The photo-op between Sharif and the Essel Group Chairman Subhash Chandra was an icing on this rather intriguing cake.


5. The Smriti Irani controversy – Much ado about nothing: The Congress party has started the witch-hunt for chinks in the new Government’s armour. If their attempts at creating controversy around Smriti Irani are anything to go by, they will do well to take a break from these desperate measures. Smriti Irani, the youngest member of the Modi Cabinet, has all the makings of a great minister. Her rise from a TV star to a political heavyweight may just turn out to be one of the most fascinating political anecdotes of modern India.


6. Congratulations Tulsi: Did you see the Star Plus ads congratulating “hamari Tulsi”? A class act, in both idea and execution. That’s how leader brands grab opportunities that come their way.


What a week!


TV Trails is a weekly column written by Shailesh Kapoor, founder and CEO of media insights firm Ormax Media. He spent nine years in the television industry before turning entrepreneur. The views expressed here are his own. He can be reached at his Twitter handle @shaileshkapoor


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