Noor: Can Sonakshi Sinha’s film correct Bollywood’s depiction of Indian journalists?
Sonakshi Sinha’s Noor will attempt to right a great wrong when it opens on Friday. For years, Hindi movies have been portraying journalism as an unethical professional, and journalists more as caricatures than characters.
It is a trend set into motion by what we see every evening on TV, the kinds of stories covered on websites, blogs, and prime time news. But it is also because of the sort of news consumed, and the demands of the reader/viewer.
These are some of the dilemmas Noor faces in the film. But before she can overcome them, let’s see what she is up against.
Aap kaisa mehsoos kar rahe hain?
Chances are, if a journalist asks you this question in a movie, you’re likely the sole survivor of a terrorist attack, have just been run over by a rich youth’s BMW, or have had the misfortune of losing your wife to a terminal disease. Even if you were feeling OK a moment ago, you’re most certainly in a bad mood now.
While partial blame can be assigned to Arnab Goswami, and his unique brand of TV journalism (remember Rishi Kapoor joking about it at gunpoint in D-Day?), but sensationalism comes in different ways in Bollywood. It can take the form of Anushka Sharma getting to cover a story about PK because religion is always a hot topic, or it can take the form of Anushka Sharma getting to cover a war looking amazing in Jab Tak Hai Jaan.
As in real life, it is a Bollywood law that every powerful woman must also be a conniving, evil maniac
A female editor’s competency at her job is directly proportional to how nonchalantly she can trample over her underlings. Meera Gaity (Rani Mukherjee) in No One Killed Jessica is on a power trip each time she deals with the junior journalists in her office and even bends the rules of journalism “for the sake of truth and justice”. Sridevi in Mr India does everything from risking her life to going undercover as an item girl for the sake of a story.
Editors, like the publications they run, are morally bankrupt
An otherwise well-meaning Boman Irani becomes the real player in hushing up an important story when Madhavi (Konkona Sen Sharma) stumbles upon it during one of her Page 3 parties in Madhur Bhandarkar’s Page 3.
Bollywood made fake news before it became a thing
Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla even took to faking stories for the sake of TRPs before they had a wake up call and became all ethical.
Never let facts get in the way of a good story
In Yeshwant, there is a scene in which Nana Patekar shows a journalist his story where he has slammed inspector Yeshwant for being a crooked cop. Interestingly, the journalist does not recognise him. He wrote an entire Page 1 article slamming a police officer whom he hadn’t even seen.
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