Hello Jhalak? There’s a fire here. Can you call the fire brigade?” The call comes in at 2 a.m., forcing Chandranath Banerjee, director of Jhalak Productions, out of bed. But he is ecstatic about it. “This is our success story... People see us as trouble shooters, but this also increases our responsibility,” he says.
It was late 1998 when Ek Jhalak was born in Bolpur, a municipality in West Bengal known for its proximity to Santiniketan. Initially a weekly news magazine, it later became a daily news channel. “At first, we were a non-professional organisation. But later, we realised the need for professional help,” says Banerjee. Funds are generated by running advertisements from local businesses. “Obviously, we don’t have huge ad revenues. But they keep us going,” Banerjee says. Neverthelss, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. For example, till date, no proper license has been issued by the authorities.
The sense of attachment and belonging among the local community is evident. With contributions from several media persons of the district, who are attached to bigger media houses, the channel now covers almost the entire district through cable networks.
“People who are attached to other media houses are our honourary members, but we do pay some of our other staff, as much as we can afford. We run this channel with tons of passion but lots of professionalism as well, keeping our social commitments in mind,” says Soumi Bhattacharya, one of the advisors of the channel.
EK JHALAK, Bolpur, West Bengal
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