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Playing with the Enemy

Even though the world at large believes that achche din have happened thanks to a Modi sarkar all set to take charge, for our news anchors it’s business as usual. So there is much angst about Cong prez Sonia Gandhi and veep Rahul not taking moral responsibility for the drubbing. There is an anxiety about how involved the RSS is in the ministry forming. And of course there are question asked about how every regional party that flopped on Results Day will ever resurrect itself.

For our nightlies on telly, everyday is lived in extremes. And what would otherwise be an internal matter of political formations is now all in the open.

C’est la vie. Yeh hi hai zindagi.

Zindagi reminds me of a meeting I had with Zee CEO and managing director Punit Goenka as he was unveiling details of a channel (coincidentally named Zindagi) that his network is scheduled to launch on June 23. I’m surprised nobody thought of airing new and not-too-old Pakistani serials earlier. It was a no-brainer.

Given the likeness to Hindi serials, they are a rage with Indian viewers. I still remember how in the late 1980s, I would borrow cassettes of Tanhaiyaan or Dhoop Kinare from the video libraries. On my NVOD at home, the first eight channels are Pak shows (Perfume Chowk and Tair-e-Lahooti).

I think it’s quite a bold move for Zee to start Zindagi given that tensions between our two countries are huge.

Regrettably the first casualty is always entertainment, the arts and sports. Just yesterday, we had Uddhav Thackeray proclaiming that India-Pakistan cricket matches should be called off. Given that there was a Congress-led UPA government for the last decade, we could manage some cricketing encounters with Pakistan. But with Modibhai in power, one can’t be sure.

Ab ki baar, karo inkaar!

PS: So Arvind Kejriwal was arrested amidst some drama. The channels were full of it. Am sure the AAP folks weren’t complaining. Slaps, ink-smearing and arrests are always welcome. Anything for easy publicity!

Pradyuman Maheshwari is a senior journalist and editor. When he’s not chasing news, he’s watching it. Twitter: @pmahesh
E: noose@pman.in

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