Well, in a way, it’s different. But yes, I know what exactly is required,” says Zain Verjee, anchor, World News, CNN-International, on what it is to be on the other side of an interview. But that doesn’t stop her from dropping all guards and speak about everything from nuclear deal to a dream interview with singer Asha Bhosle.
“If I ever had to choose one dream-interview of an Indian personality, it would be Asha ji,” says Verjee, whose “last assignment in India” had made her talk to some of the biggest political names, including the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. And once she had entered the filmy talk, we couldn’t help asking how big Bollywood actually is in the West. “It is big, especially among the NRI community,” she says. “But Bollywood movies are yet to find takers among the non-Hindi understanding audience.”
So what about all those Twitter posts by Indian actors about their dates with Hollywood biggies? Do they even care about Indian actors? “Oh yes, they do,” Verjee asserts. “Everyone is aware of names like Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan,” she adds. “And of course, the hottest one, Hrithik Roshan,” says the ace anchor with an unmistakable blush.
Verjee also tries to brush aside the notion that it’s only India’s poverty that attracts the West.
, were brilliant works in themselves and deserved Oscars,” she says. “I hear my friends playing [AR] Rahman, and that’s because he’s really good.” A native of Kenya, Verjee also states that “India is extremely important” to the world, as she recalls her stint at the US State Department. “One of the most important international event that [Condoleeza] Rice — the former Secretary of State — thought should have been given more news space was the Indo-US nuke deal,” says Verjee, who’s currently based in London.
Though she hasn’t been around India too much, Delhi still has a special place in her heart. “I love studying history, and Delhi is a haven with all the monuments,” says Verjee, a Gujarati by birth. And she also give her best wishes to the Delhi Commonwealth Games. “Even South Africa was being criticised during its build-up days to the [soccer] World Cup, but ultimately it was a great event,” she says. “I wish the same for Delhi.” Any other place she wants to visit? “I’d also want to visit that place where two rivers meet,” she says. And when we say it’s Prayag in Allahabad where the three rivers meet, Verjee is quick to clarify, “The third one is mythical and imaginary.”