He has grilled some 800 personalities over 16 years in a mock court room, making 'judges' hand down verdicts on his popular show, Aap Ki Adalat. Now, after a year-long sabbatical, noted TV host and co-founder of India TV Rajat Sharma says he is missing the limelight.
To make up for it, Sharma, who is also chairman and editor-in-Chief of the channel, is coming back with the popular serial, while adding another signature show titled Rajat Sharma Live from Saturday.
"I missed my screen presence throughout the year. I missed the tension in the news room and I missed the smell of make-up," said the alumnus of the Shri Ram College of Commerce in the national capital.
"Throughout last year, I was on a direct research process. I was travelling the country and gathering people's reactions to what they want to watch and what kind of questions they want me to ask the noted personalities," Sharma told IANS in an interview.
"And it has been a wonderful learning experience. In fact, we have already started imbibing all those suggestions and research on our channel," he said, adding that his direct interactions with the people also fetched results.
"People don't want any drama anymore on news channels. They want sobriety in news. They want news that is of public interest and benefit. They are done with all the shows on astrology and superstitions," he averred.
But, wasn't India TV itself presenting the same over the course of years? Sharma, who started his journalism career as a reporter for Onlooker magazine and went on to edit the now-defunct magazine, was candid in his reply.
"We were! But that was what the people wanted to watch at that time. Now they want a different flavour. We have already put most of the horror story and superstitious shows off-air. We will keep on making amends further."
He also highlighted that the level of news in India over the course of years has become more "proper and packaged".
"Earlier, it was only the polity and politics that was being discussed in news. But now it is a complete package deal - with topics on sports, celebrities, lifestyle, animals, health, everything."
The Indian media on the whole was still in a nascent stage, he said, adding it was also improving and picking pace, to mature by the day. He expressed confidence that things would improve in the times to come.
Channel executives said Aap Ki Adalat will hit the air with troubled actor-politician Sanjay Dutt. Some of the guests already interviewed for the show are Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.