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Press needs cross-border peace at least!

It constantly annoys me that we give Pakistani intellectuals and media pundits hours of airtime to tell lies and to lecture us on the peace-loving nature of Pakistan. Poonam Saxena elaborates.

tv Updated: Feb 06, 2009, 22:01 IST
Poonam Saxena
Poonam Saxena
Hindustan Times

I have a suggestion for all those TV anchors who invite Pakistani peaceniks to their studios and listen sympathetically while the Pakistanis talk about sub-continental unity, freedom of the press in Pakistan and the complete lack of Pakistani involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

The next time you get these people in your studios or on satellite links, ask them why it makes sense to make daily appearances on Indian news channels while Indian TV journos get beaten up and assaulted in their country. Two days ago, a News X team visiting Pakistan was roughed up, its equipment confiscated and the journos confined to their hotel rooms. The government of India has issued the ritual denunciations but I think it is up to the Indian media to stand up for our own.

As News X is hardly a viciously anti-Pakistani channel, what possible justification can there be for assaulting its staffers? As the Pakistanis, like most Indians, don’t watch News X, you can hardly claim that the attack was an extreme form of TV criticism. Besides, how insecure must you be to imagine that poor Jhujhar Singh, one of the victims of the assault, represented a threat to the unity and integrity of the Pakistani state?

It constantly annoys me that we give Pakistani intellectuals and media pundits hours of airtime to tell lies and to lecture us on the peace-loving nature of Pakistan. When these claims are exposed as being hollow, when Pakistani terrorits attack our cities or Indian journos are beaten up, these media pundits shrug their shoulders and say, “What can we do? There are rogue elements in Pakistan.”

Worse still, even the president of Pakistan and the prime minister, both of whom have been treated with kid gloves by Indian TV journos, fall back on the same pathetic explanations every time Indians are attacked or killed.

What use is it then wasting TV time on people who have so little influence in their own countries that they can do nothing more than hope for another 15 minutes on NDTV every time some Indian loses his life or is beaten up?

Anyway. Back on entertainment channels, Nach Baliye 4 finally came to an end. When the first season of Nach was telecast, I remember watching it with much interest. It was a novel idea, the jodis were reasonably well known, the dancing was great, and the judges included Saroj Khan (outspoken but fun) and Malaika Arora (you always wondered what she would be wearing — or not wearing — in the next episode). All in all, Nach Baliye 1 was a blast. Now in its fourth season, the show looks tired.

I tried watching Season Four when it began but I’d never heard of most of the jodis and there was such a strong been there-done that feel to the show that I quickly abandoned the attempt.

The finale did make it to all the news channels but I think that was mostly because of Shah Rukh Khan’s presence (he even danced to one of his Billu Barber songs). Will the channel go in for a Season Five? If they do, where on earth will they find more jodis?

And finally. Star One has started a new serial, Shakuntala, based on the Shakuntala-Dushyanta love story told in the Mahabharata. Since I’m a big Mahabharata lover, I’m really nervous about watching it (will they — shudder — make it like a saas-bahu type melodrama?) Is it too much to hope that the producer and director will bring at least a little of that ‘epic’ quality to the serial?

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