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Sunday, August 27

The Icon and the Idol

The great shehnai maestro, Ustad Bismillah Khan passed away quietly in his adopted city of Benaras a few days ago.

Yet, the Bharat Ratna holder, a true 'Indian Icon' did not get the coverage that he deserved from our TRP hungry 4X6 news channels( as they largely have 4 hours of content looped 6 times!).

News coverage of Ustad's passing away pales in comparison to the attention given by National TV to over-blown events in the past.

Whether it's the fate of the child marathoner Budhia Singh or the media created event of the Prince of the Ditch in Haryana. Or even the drama orchestrated around the muslim woman Gudia's marriage, talaak and remarriage!

When it comes to a man who devotes a lifetime to Indian music, we do not see the same sincerity of coverage. Even Shakti Kapoor's indecent proposal got more News TV time than Ustad Bismillah.

I guess Indian News TV has succeeded in creating a world where largely inane, inconsequential events but with 'eye-ball potential get preference. Real news, significant events with impact and fading icons can wait.

Sadly, we are living in an age where Abhijit Sawant, winner of the Sony 'Indian Idol' gets a crore in corporate sponsorship while the Bharat Ratna holder and his family live in poverty in the absence of any support and away from the attention of 'eyeballs-aged-28'.


Jigs said...

Point Manish. But who is to blame? Is it the media? Just like ad agency folks sacrifice quality ideas in order to go with what their clients want, so do the media and news guys give what majority of their 'clients' want; Sensationalism. But i believe, and pray what i believe is right, that most of the journalists who cover sensationalism are themselves fed up. And i feel sorry for them. When they would hv studied journalism, they would hv dreamt of covering or uncovering issues that matter and not how short Sania's skirts are. Ustad's story would never be covered in detail like you rightly said. That has more to do with human nature and the power of money than anything else. And its something that has plagued the media industry and will continue to do so. This, as long as people like us who would prefer to know more about Ustad and nothing about Prince remain a handful.

Manish said...

Things are changing. Albeit slowly in India. The internet is slowly giving power back to the people. And as the book - the Long Tail points out, there would be profitable markets of one in future. Hopefully a small part of the media landscape would change.


Shantanu said...

just a small point - the bharat ratna ustad bismillah khan died in abject poverty cos those around him fed on him like vultures all their lives. he used to support close to 80 odd people from his troupe/s over the years and they chose not to do anything but live off the ustad. now generosity is one thing, but choosing to ignore the laziness of those who you feed is like doing the 'aa bail mujhe maar'. incidentally the ustad was also one of the highest paid indian classical music artistes ever. so lets not get overly senti about someone who chose to do what he did.

Dharmendra said...

tell me Manish. If the news was full of his story people would have switched their television. Hence cannot blame the channels. They will show what people want to see.

Manish said...

agree with you. the ustad would not have generated trps. but news channels have a responsibility beyond trps. they cannot function like an fmcg product only!

they are just cutting costs and corners and making events of trivial issues...

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