YSR mishap: The day we truly had ‘breaking news’ | india | Hindustan Times
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YSR mishap: The day we truly had ‘breaking news’

There are times when you want to thank the satellites above that there are 24-hour news channels. That’s where one first heard the news of YSR Reddy’s missing helicopter and that’s where one got the latest updates, all through the day and night. Poonam Saxena comments.

india Updated: Sep 05, 2009 00:43 IST
Poonam Saxena

There are times when you want to thank the satellites above that there are 24-hour news channels. That’s where one first heard the news of YSR Reddy’s missing helicopter and that’s where one got the latest updates, all through the day and night.

Yes, there was a lot of repetition and maybe an overload of information (sometimes conflicting information, as it turns out; NDTV said the helicopter lost contact at 9.30 am, while many other channels put the time at least 15 minutes earlier) but all the same, I can’t imagine what it would have been like without 24x7 news. (I guess we would have watched one news bulletin in the morning and another in the evening — and probably without visuals, except for a photo of YSR Reddy. Unlike today, when news channels reported non-stop and managed to get visuals, whether their own or sourced locally — from Sakshi TV, in this case).

On normal news days, watching news channels is not a must for many viewers — and specially not if some idiotic piece of news is being flogged for hours on end. But whenever there is (genuine) breaking news, you can’t do without TV.
Yes, there is saturation coverage, and yes, it’s almost as if nothing else is happening in the country, but frankly, nothing else of that magnitude is happening anywhere.

I know, for example, that during 26/11, I didn’t want to know about anything else that was happening in the country. I just wanted to know what was happening in Mumbai and whether the terrorists had been killed/caught, and whether the hostages were safe or not.

In the entertainment world, lots of new shows have launched. There’s yet another talk show — Tere Mere Beach Mein (Star Plus) with choreographer-turned-director Farah Khan interviewing celebrity guests like Bipasha Basu, Shilpa Shetty, Salman Khan etc.

Karan Johar has set the bar quite high with his Koffee With Karan (along with ruining the spelling of ‘coffee’ for an entire generation), but Farah Khan has a strong and distinctive personality of her own and that comes through clearly. She doesn’t belong to the gushing-simpering school of interviewers (I’m actually trying to imagine Farah simpering and failing quite spectacularly); she has a brisk, no-nonsense manner with her guests which is refreshing.

Colors has started something called 100%. I saw an episode, most of which seemed to consist of fighting bouts. Some horrifying creature called Nightmare lumbered in, all prepared to fight the rather more moderately named Sangram Singh. Since I’m not a big fan of WWE (or is it WWF?) wrestling, I couldn’t bring myself to watch with much enthusiasm, but for anyone who likes that sort of thing, I’m sure 100% is most exciting.

And finally. The unbelievable has happened. MTV (which, I thought, was determined to produce shows no one over 17 could bear to watch), has actually made a show which is a little more, er, universally watchable.

The show is called Rock On and it seeks to find a great rock band. Or rather, it seeks to create a rock band out of talented individuals (singers, drummers etc).

Currently the auditions are going on (the judges are Kailash Kher, Ram Sampath and Nikhil Chinappa) and it’s interesting to see different musicians — all strangers to each other — jamming together, with Kailash singing impromptu.

Of course, being MTV, the show is edited in the usual frantic way of music television channels, but in this case, it probably suits the programme. Now let’s just hope they don’t suddenly get those bearded and bespectacled twins into the studio/start giving strange tasks to the participants.