This is what the fly on the wall picked up in the news room of a media house where a common counsel of war was called by the executives with the editors of the newspaper chain and TV networks. Subject: the coming Ash-Abhishek wedding and the Shilpa Shetty row.
Chairman: For the next few weeks, no one will go on leave. We have to work on a war footing with two major events set to shake the world. The Ash-Abhishek wedding and the Shilpa Shetty Reality Show.
Editor of the newspaper: We are already on to it, no holds barred. So are the TV channel people (heads nod around the table).
Chairman: But our readers and viewers want more. We should now appoint editorial teams to look into all aspects of religious coverage of the wedding.
TV channel boss: What kind of coverage?
Chairman: The Bachchans, accompanied by Amar Singh and Anil Ambani, are visiting temples and dargahs. They are consulting astrologers, godmen and fortune tellers. Why not do stories on the Ash 'mangalik' factor and whether some of it had been rubbed off on to Salman Khan and Vivek Oberoi and how the balance left will not harm the Bachchan household.
Editor: Will Abhi and Ash live with the Bachchans or will they have a flat of their own? One of the dailies suggested the possibility of Abhishek becoming a ghar jamai. Also, we need to explore if Ash will get along with Jaya Bachchan? The mother-in-law angle is paramount.
Chairman: Not a bad idea, you can go ahead. How about holding a competition among our readers and viewers to suggest where the couple will spend their honeymoon. The winner will get to spend one week at the same venue after the Ash-Abhi honeymoon.
Political editor: I think we have no role to play in all this.
Chairman: Who says so? Your team will keep track of Amar Singh. Let us suppose something went wrong with the wedding arrangements, Amar Singh will immediately blame it on Sonia Gandhi. Pretty hot too. The political team also can interview VIPs who were not invited for the wedding reception and get reactions.
Business Editor: If the wedding is held after the Budget, we can use our teams to analyse the number of sarees bought and how much the wedding boosted the national economy. Perhaps, Chidambaram can do a guest piece.
Chairman: One week before and one week after the wedding we will not publish any other news. We will ask Alyque, Shobha De, Prahlad Kakkar, Gautam Singhania and Ekta Kapoor to edit the paper during these days. What about the bad vibes between SRK and the Bachchans these days? Our entertainment teams can take care of that angle. Will SRK and Gauri be invited for the wedding? How will SRK react to the presence of Amar Singh? Of course, we need reactions of Salman and Vivek Oberoi.
TV channel boss: Oh, if there are any scraps, we shall be ready.
Chairman: As for Shilpa Shetty, we are projecting her as a national heroine for defying racist elements in UK. You guys do an editorial on this and we have to organise reception committees and announce a massive fund collection. Our contribution will be Rs 5 lakh. The state government will have to donate her a flat.
Editor: How about naming a Juhu street after Shilpa? Not since the days of Mangal Pandey and Gandhiji has an Indian so successfully defied the British. Perhaps, we can ask Shilpa to lead the nation in a new Dandi march and also do an item number at Jallianwalla Bagh. Our new TV show 'Shrikand with Shilpa' will just eclipse that 'Koffe with Karan' trash.
Chairman: Okay, guys let's get going. This is the chance of a lifetime.