I don’t know where the editors of some news channels that are hate-spewing mills regurgitating ugly Bollywood gossip learned their journalism. Certainly not where I did. More likely the gutter. The kind of reporting they are doing, live on national TV, is gutter journalism. Sensational, without concern for the real picture and truth and what harm it will do to the people they are maliciously and unethically ripping apart prematurely for TRPs and perverse pleasure.
I don’t know what will come out of this Bollywood drug bust by the Narcotics Control Bureau. It does not have the primary evidence necessary for hanging a case on the stars summoned for questioning – that is the seizure of narcotics or psychotropic substances. Whatsapp chats aren’t primary evidence. But the news channels, in triumphant and screaming ‘I-told-you-so’ bulletins, have seized the investigation baton from the NCB and condemned the stars.
I am as vulnerable as you to rumours that Bollywood is being selectively targeted by government law enforcement and investigation agencies. And that the stars who were openly anti-establishment and scathingly vocal of the government’s policies are feeling the heat for their dissidence. I don’t know. But their Whatsapp chats do indicate an interest in drugs. The NCB wants to know if this was for themselves or for someone else. Lawyers say the stars’ statements won’t stand in court.
In a lighter vein, I think Bollywood will get its just desserts for often frivolously portraying government agents from the CBI, RAW and NCB in their thrillers and espionage dramas. They will see, from up close and personally, that these officers aren’t James Bond, Ethan Hawke and Jason Bourne. Crime detection is not the breezy, exciting ride of pulp fiction. It is more often dull and boring routine work of unspectacular inquiry, checking and double checking facts.
But that’s in camera and between the NCB and Bollywood. What we are seeing is two channels frothing at the mouth to outdo each other in a hysterical and shameful trial by the media that’s not journalism. It’s a sickening exhibition of their power and arrogance. Bollywood should remember its humiliation and vilification. And when these channels’ greedy managements approach the stars to grace their Film Awards Nites, their response should be two words. You know which ones.