Letters to the Editor: Bollywood biggies’ case against TV channels shows no stomach to fight
Watching Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announce the desperate scheme to goad central government employees to buy goods and services was a deeply embarrassing experience and more...
A Bollywood charade
The case filed by Bollywood biggies against two TV channels looks suspiciously like what we call ‘Noora Kushti’. It is a charade like the World Wrestling Federation bouts, a spectacle without any substance. There is no earthly reason why the petition should not have claimed damages for defamation. Instead, all that it asks is for direction to the two channels to stop maligning the film fraternity and call them names. A far more effective remedy, and an exemplary one at that, would have been to ask for damages worth Rs 200 Crore or more to be used for the technicians, extras and thousands of daily wagers depending on the entertainment industry for a living.
The film industry, like other industries, have always been beholden to the Government, which is everyone’s ‘Mai Baap’ in this country. The industry’s relationship with the media, especially TV channels, has been incestuous. They thrive on each other. It has rightly been said that these same producers, actors and musicians who have sued Times Now and Republic TV will happily attend events organized by the channels, accept awards given by them and literally dance at the events.
The suspicion that the case is a red herring is strengthened by Akshay Kumar being one of the petitioners. The actor is known for interviewing Prime Minister Modi before the last election and asking him questions about how he liked eating mangoes. This is the same actor who is a fan boy of the BJP and if he so wanted, he could have easily got the PMO and the Government to call up the TV channels. The campaign against Bollywood would have stopped in no time.
It is also noteworthy that after Mumbai Police summoned Republic TV officials for interrogation in the TRP case, almost the entire BJP rallied to its defence. The party had done no such thing in case of Bollywood.
The entertainers cannot do without TV channels and the Government. That is the hard reality. And there is much more to the civil case than meets the eyes. Surely, the announcement of an indefinite boycott of the channels till they tendered an apology would have been far more effective?
I am tempted to share a WhatsApp message I received with your readers. The one-liners truly reflect the situation in the country today. I am reproducing them as received:
• If you want to know how divided we are, just look at matrimonial page of our newspaper
• India is running the software of tomorrow on the hardware of yesterday If the mobile gets spoiled, the child is blamed and if the child gets spoiled, the mobile People ask for a dirty cloth to clean something
• You don’t cast your vote, you vote your caste. An incredible country where actors are playing cricket, cricketers are playing politics, politicians are watching porn and porn stars are becoming actors.
A bankrupt idea
Watching Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announce the desperate scheme to goad central government employees to buy goods and services was a deeply embarrassing experience.
The minister could not have been unaware about the size of the central government. By all estimates, the number of central government employees is below the four million mark. In a country of 130 or 137 Crore, fewer than 40 lakh people receive salary from the central government. The number is so low that it is pathetic to expect them to raise the demand. What is more, even central government employees today suffer from deep insecurities because of the utter unpredictability of government decisions. Nobody knows when employees will be asked to take wage cuts or when a part of their salary will be held back to be paid in future. To expect these employees to spend is rather optimistic.
What the FM has offered, it seems, is an advance in lieu of Leave Travel Concession. Employees must buy goods and services worth three times the air/ rail fare. The purchase must be made before 31 March 2021. They must spend only in goods attracting GST of 12 per cent or more from a GST-registered vendor and the payment must be through digital mode only.