Depending on what time you are reading this, the general elections would’ve been announced.
Those who’ve been tracking the polls on television for over a decade would agree that perhaps the best presenters of the results on telly ever since transmission started have undoubtedly been Dr Prannoy Roy and Vinod Dua.
Roy and Dua formed the perfect jugalbandi, quite like, say, a Pandit Ravi Shankar on the sitar and Ali Akbar Khan on the sarod.
However, while Dua became a household name in Hindi-speaking India and hence had a larger following, it was Prannoy Roy and his connections (and stature) that steered him way ahead and won him contracts first with Doordarshan, then with Star India and eventually with a fair number of benefactors to set up his own news network.
Dua did join NDTV, but wasn’t the star he deserved to be. In fact he has been so out of news media limelight that one doesn’t really remember which channel he was on last. Yes, he did (or does) a travelling food show and he was (or is?) pretty good at it, but the real place for the man is news and current affairs.
Last month, we were informed that Dua and Sanjay Pugalia were to be on IBN7 hosting two primetime shows. Pugalia, like Dua, is a senior news journalist — first in English and Hindi print and then on various channels including Star News as as its editor-in-chief. He has been with the Network18 group for a decade, helming CNBC Awaaz, the Hindi avataar of the businessy CNBC-TV18.
IBN7 ought to have got Pugalia on loan much earlier. While we’ll know soon enough how the channel fares in terms of ratings after the two have hopped on, I am unsure if they’ll be able to achieve much. It’s possibly a case of too little too late.
Pradyuman Maheshwari is a senior journalist and editor. When he’s not chasing news, he’s watching it.