“News has become crude entertainment and will have to reinvent itself”
GN Bureau | October 16, 2020
Legendary film star and politician Shatrughan Sinha has said that friendship in Bollywood is limited to onscreen, and there is no unity and some news channels are taking advantage of this situation.
“Groups within the industry or their supporters may sometimes come together for some common interest. If there is a controversy they don’t want to get involved. I am not criticizing. It could be due to some fear or it may be their own attitude not to bother. In the true sense there is no unity, friendship, camaraderie or mutual love in Bollywood.”
Sinha was in a live webcast with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, on Thursday as part of the Visionary Talk Series organised by the public policy and governance analysis platform.
Watch the previous episodes of the series here: http://www.governancenow.com/visionary-talks-series
The veteran actor lamented that unity, mutual respect, love and friendship is only limited to seen onscreen and not otherwise. Citing an example, he recalled that when late Satyajit Ray, the renowned film director, writer and music composer who was a recipient of Bharat Ratna and the lifetime achievement Oscar Award, passed away, a condolence meet was organized at Mehboob Studios in Mumbai. “I was shocked to see that not even 70 people were present there and no film star had come to pay their last respects to the late film-maker,” Sinha said.
“Groups within the industry or their supporters may sometimes come together for some common interest. If there is a controversy they don’t want to get involved. I am not criticizing. It could be due to some fear or it may be their own attitude not to bother.”
He quoted his friend and noted Bollywood director, Subhash Ghai, who says that friendship in the film industry is like a leave and license agreement which lasts only up to 11 months of film shooting.
While speaking on a group of film stars and producers coming together to file a plea in the Delhi high court against “media trail of Bollywood personalities”, Sinha said, “Today when I hear some people from the industry have come together and raised their voice against some news channels… I would like to say, ‘Badi Der Kardi Meherbaan Aate Aate’ (O merciful, you have taken too long to come). I wish that this unity persists, but most often this has not been the case. And for this reason they have been taken advantage of….earlier they would chase politicians…”
Sinha added that while the film fraternity may not come out to support each other openly due to fear or some other reason, they are in fact quite simple. “Because they don’t come out to speak in open, they are whipping [a dead] horse and soft targets.”
Sinha, who had also served as a union minister in the BJP-led government, said that news channels are continuing to exceed limits of decency. “To create sensationalism, an issue is stretched out like a rubber. There is excessive slandering and disrespect. Some news channel anchors point fingers, rebuke and berate their guests as if they were their employees. Due to shouting and abusing in news programmes people have now stopped accepting news channel invites. Who will want to go to get insulted and have abuses hurled at them?” he asked as he added that negativity and toxicity of news channels are in fact a source of entertainment for him even if he accidently switches on a news channel before he retires for the night.
On the alleged drugs use issue in the film industry, the actor said that there are black sheep in all industries, and to paint an entire industry with the same brush is nor correct.
He said the channels are learning their lessons and will slowly but surely turn around. “The agenda is set by a media house, a political party or politicians and it’s a confluence of publicity and anti-publicity. News has become crude entertainment and will have to reinvent itself,” said Sinha.
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