UK’s Channel 4 is currently in Mumbai filming a documentary on the state of the city’s nightlife. Acclaimed British journalist Jenny Kleeman has been put in charge of showcasing our ‘plight’ to the globe as part of a series called Unreported World.
The Londoners are spending more than just a few weeks in Mumbai. Their one and only wish: to witness a party being raided. It would make for good footage, no doubt. But their hopes make even more sense once you see the list of documentaries that this one may become part of. Congo: Forest Of The Dead (2009), Papua New Guinea: Bush Knives and Black Magic (2009) and Nicaragua: Blood, Church and State (2008) are some of the many that the channel has broadcast so far. And joining something to the effect of Afghanistan: Lights, Camera, Death Threats (2012), will soon be India: Mumbai’s Dying Nightlife (this is not the official title). Objectivity achieved.
Even though this might seem like India’s most earnest attempt at a ‘first world issue’, it has drawn attention away from local topics that the series has
covered in the past — Kashmir, the sex trade, leprosy, child labour, civil war, dalits, sexual abuse faced by Kerala’s holy men, honour killings and so on. This is one of the few times that the channel will showcase an urban Indian issue; one that doesn’t include the ingredients for an overwhelming Sunday telly show.
Maybe the media and social networkers have outdone themselves, or maybe this truly is a matter of international concern. Either way, all that noise has attracted some attention.
Is this a step towards being noticed as a country that has more than just poverty, lack of education and unemployment for a change? Or are we the star act of a very lavish stage that we’re yet to realise we’re part of? Since we don’t like washing our dirty laundry in international waters, maybe some pressure from overseas will finally pay off.