Tuesday, December 2, 2008



All of us are witnesses to Vilasrao Deshmukh’s ‘Taj-gate’ controversy over his son Ritiesh and his friend Ram Gopal Verma’s presence as ‘terror tourists’ in his entourage to the battle scarred Taj. Ritiesh’s fault doesn’t lie in the fact that he went there to see the after effects. But he erred in that he is an actor and the CM’s son. Even then, if he had lost a friend or a sister in the calamity, we would have been tchtching all over him. But in the absence of that condition, we point fingers and accuse him of gaining cheap entertainment out of it all. Does a person, an actor at that, need to be related to a victim of the terrible tragedy in order to feel the anguish and the pain?

A person needs to feel all kinds of human emotions to be able to portray them effectively at a later date. A story writer needs to get the feel of the ‘environment’ so that he could create a work of art out of his experiences later on. Art and literature have always shaped people’s attitudes and cinema is a no mean mode of social change! Have we already forgotten the effects of ‘Bombay’ and ‘Mission Kashmir’? A film maker had just as much right to be there to imbibe the ‘atmosphere’ of pathos as did the TV crews and the news channels that are busy even now milching the tragedy to its last drops in order to raise their TRPs!!!

But the Media is on a spree of ‘witch-hunting’ and Ritiesh’s and RGV’s were the shoulders on which they laid the ‘arthi’ of Vilasrao’s Chief Ministership.

There is no doubt that trivialities are being blown out of all proportions. The TV channels, stuck with 24 hours to fill up with ‘NEWS’, repeatedly play the same videos with the accusatory red rings of halo around Ritiesh’s and Ram Gopal Verma’s heads- making them out to be criminals of sorts.

 And yet, a mere decade ago, these two main actors would not even have earned a mention in the news broadcasts. Summarization was the norm then for news readers. They had to report the maximum of news in the minimum of time. Today however, repeated telecast of video footage, use of constant commentary-style of reporting has zoomed in and focused on an otherwise innocuous happening into a career breaking event and caused the CM to step down from his chair.

Don’t get me wrong. I am no ardent fan of the chief minister and am not in favour of his continuing in the seat at all!

But I would have appreciated it more if the cameras had tried to search for him on the days of the holocaust. They would then maybe have discovered him abandoning the comforts of his plush residence which happens to be located in South Mumbai, and taking refuge along with his deputy, Mr. R.R.Patil, in the Raj Bhavan which is at a considerably ‘safer’ spot in Dadar. This would indeed have exposed the truths and would have really been a good bit of journalism.

As it is, we are only in search of excuses to find scapegoats at the altar of the mythical ‘public opinion’ and Truth and Reasoning be dammed!!!!!