Sridevi’s death was untimely and unexpected. It shocked the nation both on and off the net. The media couldn’t miss it; how could they? It’s a cutthroat business of story-selling. Some are seasoned, resourceful and sophisticated, whereas others jump the gun. It’s common to go overboard… progressives troll media for being insensitive, classy media hate cheap media, we’re all voyeurs at the end of the day… and one more role-playing chain settles only with the arrival of a next ‘event’.
A storm as big as this takes time to subside. For a mainstream superstar (female) who’s past her heydays by 2 decades, even a sudden death would fail to draw such a clamor, had she not been as glorious and fit as Sridevi. I know she made a comeback with a couple of films in last 2-3Y. Her performances were appreciated, though none of the two recovered its cost. The nationwide mourning had little to do with these two. [By the way, saying ‘actor’ proves your merit in being non-sexist, non-gender-biased and progressive. When you have two legitimate words ‘actor’ and ‘actress’ in mind, but can’t risk losing followers, you make a trade-off. You come up with two distinct categories of awards, ‘best actor (male)’ and ‘best actor (female)’ – it works!]
The media and their followers stayed occupied with the mystery of an accidental drowning. The RIP-mist helped others go off the radar. Papon, a singer (male) cum reality show judge, lip-kissed (maybe it was technically a ‘peck’, not a ‘kiss’) a 11Y old contestant (female) on camera to express his fatherly affection. The video came to surface, but somehow didn’t raise enough trolls. The media had no choice but to relegate the ‘event’. Raveena Tandon is probably the only A-list celeb to directly condemn and ask for legal actions against the man. The channel made the singer quit the show. Go underground, stay low… let us forget you. While Sonam Kapoor writes a public letter to Jhanvi Kapoor on her 21st birthday for being the strongest girl, the hapless parents of the other girl have no complaints against the ‘mentor’ of their daughter. The nation turns a blind eye, a big event turns the next event petty.
Then came the political upheaval in Tripura. It wasn’t comparable to Sridevi’s death in magnitude. Given the stature of this (or any) slight North East state, I must agree that it fetched a decent coverage. Maybe it’s the downfall of a 25Y old Communist government and rising of an lesser known outfit (in the context of Tripura) that made the cut. There must be queries in our minds on the exit of the poorest CM of India… how he would sustain etc. Whatever the details are isn’t my angle here. Once the media made a camp in the quaint, little state, they must set out to make it memorable. I watched a feature on a news channel about an Amazon-ish trail around a place called ‘Chabimura’ (Chhobimurha). The man in charge made the most of this adventure trip by narrating his goosebumps at every step into those narrow ravines, thick greens, wet rocks and dingy caves. The background music was probably taken from some thriller, meant to be enjoyed with a bated breath. I can swallow that same old question many ask while watching ‘Man vs Wild’: “Whose are those steady hands holding the camera so neatly on you, when you’re so sure of a peril?”. The place looked truly beautiful, haunted and raw. ‘Amazon Obhijaan’ could have been comfortably shot there in less than a quarter of its budget. Hope such treks pique curiosity in viewers. Hope it boosts tourism of the economically weak state and its people… while I move on.