Woes of the fourth state in India continue, so much so that the hollow crater has not only been exposed (thanks to the Radia Gate), it is widening with every passing day. In midst of this Kafkaesque comes another portal that is boasting of pulling down pants under the sun sparing no one from news anchors to politicians to rubble-makers of sorts. News Laundry led by Madhu Trehan is aiming to fill that vacuum which has been created in the public domain in spite of having hundreds of channels and other national as well as local dailies at our disposal.
A dhobi aka washer-man busy with his chore the effort being directed at the idiot box lying on the floor and broadsheets hung on a string, inadvertently it is this cherubic washer-man that is the brand ambassador of News Laundry. A clothes peg in the backdrop of every scene be, it an interview or discussion reminds one where the deliberation is headed to. What seems on the very outset of it is the fact that News Laundry is daring to venture into a new genre of news altogether – humor and satire is being paired up to lampoon at the events hitting the nation-state.
Breaking the shackles of sensationalism that the Indian news has lately been accused of, NL is trying having a joust with questions that concern the fourth state per se. Hence there is a video wherein Madhu is asking some straightforward questions to Barkha Dutt. As one of the ace reporters of this country Barkha has often been accused of reporting certain important events irresponsibly leading to precarious situations. Ms. Dutt asserts how false sense of intimacy that the medium of television provides has led to the entire chaos. Though she falters on the question of camaraderie with Nira Radia dodging with innumerable contentions trying hard to pull Vinod Mehta as well into the fray.
Then there is another interesting video an interaction between Abhinandan Sekhri and Tajinder Bagga of Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena fame. Mr. Bagga is the one who boasts of thrashing Prashant Bhushan in 2011 for making a reference to the plebiscite in Kashmir. Putting forth uncomfortable questions is one thing but putting worth straight questions that causes the guest to be in a jittery state is a marvel indeed. And it is the latter form that Mr. Sekhri excels as he questions the motive and method of bizarre team led by Tajinder.
NL could very well turn out into an Indian version of Jon Stewart’s show, the satirical news parody that is credited with putting McCain into a frazzled state. Chacha’s Bulletin also seems to be entertaining enough with the man dressed as Nehru sputtering out intricacies of Congress and other regional parties in a voice laced with the eloquence of that of the first PM of India. In the wake of paid news and private equity syndrome plaguing some prominent media houses in India, there springs up a need on its own for portals like NL that dares to pull the ears of one and all. Moreover ever since Press Council of India Chairman, Justice Markandey Katju has waged an all-out scathing attack on literary hacks hailing from the world of media, one would have to wait and watch if NL can in fact rise above the level of a dilettante. For now the spectators can sit back, introspect and relish some real dhulai out there.