Aug 9, 2003

NDTV's programming

When NDTV branched off, they promised weekend fare that would not be restricted to mundane news bulletins, much in the style of the BBC's programme list. They have come up with a selection of new ideas that are worth adding to the Saturday and Sunday viewing sheet.

The most well-known one is probably Walk the Talk consisting of Shekhar Gupta (probably the most respected senior editor today) walking about with a guest (just finished watching Uddhav Thackeray). Gupta asks the questions (even the uncomfortable ones) that we want to hear. The only grouse I have is with the duration, ought to be of 60 minutes.

Eye to Eye (or is it I to I) is an interesting concept, but I didn't like it very much, because it basically consists of a well-known figure who plays both guest and host, asking questions that (s)he answers (him|her)self. It seems a little contrived to me, and not sure who comes up with the questions!

Indianama is hosted by Tavleen Singh, who took a peek behind the purdah of Rajasthani royal society at Jodhpur, revealing that not much has changed even today, the opening of palaces to tourists for money notwithstanding. For the rani of Jodhpur openly professed admiration for sati, saying she would not prevent any sati if the widow in question consented without being under duress. Her daughter was resigned to the fact that major decisions of her life such her marriage would still have to be within the maryada of tradition. Indianama is something I'll watch out for. It comes on NDTV India.

24 Hours, featuring Radhika Bordia, this week followed a documentary crew for a day as they filmed their intended six-part series Vision of Faith on the Kumbh Mela at Nasik, uncovering the massive confluence of water, pilgrims, tantras-and-mantras, tantriks-and-mantris, a thick veneer of politics in the akhaaDas, organizational successes and a latrine supplier who built 20 of them in one day following the request of his guru.

They still haven't re-introduced The World This Week, which would be a good move, given the enormous brand it became in the early 90s. They now have a Hindi version of We The People with Pankaj Pachauri (I don't like his style very much, it is too accomodating and blasé). Their old shows, like Limelight and the ever-inconclusive The Big Fight continue to roll on. And IMO, they should get a variant of Good Morning India back.

And in passing

NDTV has a lot of new correspondents manning the various cities, many of them seem to be fresh-faced graduates with little experience in presentation, some of them unable to provide a précis of the situation. Wonder if this will affect the channel in the future. But NDTV is trying to do an Outlook, in attempting to get news scoops, inside stories, leaks, exclusives and purdah-faash type articles, in addition to their usual set of human-interest tales. They had most of the National Film Awards leaked out, and now they're talking about the results of the Arjuna Awards.

But the guys at NDTV have usually had very innovative sets and production values, especially with the graphics. The designs on the accompanying visuals, summaries etc. look very classy, especially on NDTV India.

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