Thursday, April 25, 2019

Modi-Akshay Interview. A New Trend ?

Main Khiladi, Tu Anadi

The microphone munchers and pen wielders are upset. Rightfully so. All the interviews with Navika, Anjana and Arnab couldn’t grab eyeballs like the interview with Akshay did. The Khiladi that he is, Akshay walked in wearing pink Vadra-esque pants and created a huge journalistic heartburn with his non-political chat with Modi. 
The jhola brigade is worried sick. What if it’s a new trend? What if Rahul Gandhi decides to bare his heart to Sanjay Dutt instead of Barkha Dutt?
Bole to, possible, right?

It was a smart move. If they don't allow  a biopic, let's telecast a soft interview in the midst of elections. The bollywood tadka will make the political gravy appetizing. And it did. 
The setting was perfect. The early morning April air suffused with indolence. The sprawling green manicured lawns. The cries of dulcet birds and peacock calls. As Akshay chatted with Modiji, I could almost hear Do dil mil rahe hain magar chupke chupke’, in the backdrop. 

Truth is, we Indians have this streak of voyeurism. We want to know every detail about our celebrities. Do they listen to music? Do they eat mangoes? With a fork, or with their hands? Do they burp? Fart? Such nuggets make us realize that people we put on pedestal are humans – just like us. 

Which is why, the bit about the PM reading Twinkle’s tweets created a twitter buzz. In the heat of  a bitter election, the casual chat came across as a breath of fresh air. If the idea was to humanize a hardcore politician seen as election winning machine, the soft theatrics reaped positive dividends. Modi ji told us that his buddy Obama chides him for not sleeping enough. "Tu Aisa kyon karta hai? Don't be a workaholic." And suddenly, a voice in my head strummed. When did Obama learn to speak Hindi?  
Chup dumbo, I told myself. Forget the details, enjoy the flow of emotions. That said, I agree with Modiji when he says that his problem is not confidence but over-confidence. 

Which brings me to the moot question: If we know that a friendly chat appeals to the voters, especially women, why do politicians shy away from revealing their genteel gooey side? 

It’s obvious that what BJP thinks of as chess, Rahul plays as ludo. To my mind, the only way Rahul can counter Modi’s promotional blitzkerg is by roping in Ranvir Singh and making him ask: ‘Rahul ji kya apne Padmavat dekhi? Who do you think has cuter dimples – you or my Deepu?’ 

Frankly, I wouldn’t mind watching such a chat. Don’t judge me. It’s not that I’m juvenile or unconcerned about serious issues. Truth is, I’m sick of the ‘Naamdaar’ and ‘Chor’ jibes. I’m sick of interviews conducted by journos where my screen bursts into flames watching the 'most explosive interview'. They make our leaders defensive instead of revealing their true self.

So if any neta is reading this piece, he/she should take this idea forward. For instance, Akhilesh Yadav can nudge Poonam Sinha to ask her daughter Sonakshi for a interview before the crucial polling day. If Akhilesh really wants to connect, he can sit in his living room where his children are jumping around and wife Dimple is peeling mangoes. 

Sonakshi: Akhilesh ji, tell us, how did you woo your wife Dimple? 

Akhilesh: I sang songs for her. In fact I cook for her every weekend.

Imagine, how this conversation can connect women voters of UP with Akhilesh bhaiya. 

Likewise, it will be a masterstroke if Mamata didi can rope in Shah Rukh Khan, her Bollywood friend to interview her. 

Shah Rukh: Didi, do you laugh sometimes? Like a real chuckle? 

Didi: I do. When I listen to Kejriwal on radio. He’s funny.

See, unlike the iconic Rahul-Arnab empowering interview, there are no major flip sides to a friendly interview. It may not be a comforting thought for our journos, but roping in a Bollywood star as an interviewer can be seductive. 
I don’t mind it at all. 
Sorry, Barkha.  

Late Sh,  Rajiv Gandhi giving an interview to the ageless Simi.

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