Mayank Shekhar | Last Modified - Oct 26, 2012, 02:08 PM IST
It doesn’t matter which industry you’re part of – cement, fertiliser, films or news media – every field has its own stars. Clearly, the makers of this movie understand stardom through the prism of Bollywood alone.
The film’s lead character plays a crime reporter who’s just been bumped up to head a news channel as its editor-in-chief, or “editor-in-charge!” He hosts the television station’s prime time show where fresh crime news breaks by the minute. The film doesn’t quite have the budgets to showcase the editor’s high life. So I guess he parties in Goa, instead of the Bahamas, and his super-rich boss, the TV channel’s owner (Aditya Pancholi), can go only as far as Kuala Lumpur.
But this popular journalist of ours has a following and fame that is no less than a film hero’s. He endorses products, shoots for an ad campaign for breakfast cereals, and his private life makes for daily tabloid gossip. Hashmi plays this hero. The wily, hare-brained villain, out to wreck the world, is the Mafiosi news media industry. This is not a surprise. Every generation of popular cinema has had its convenient, stock villains. What the zamindars and money-lenders were to ‘50s films, and smugglers and netas were to ‘70s blockbusters, jehadi terrorists and news media are to the current generation. You witness this in one film after another.
This one seems to be set in an alternate universe, where laws and police don’t exist, and television ratings rule the world. The film could seriously work as a bleak view into a disturbingly scary, fictionalised future. Except, it’s set in the present, and in the present, as we know, there are about 800 TV channels in India, of which a majority are news stations, none of which make big bucks, if they make any profits at all.
But we’ll let that be. The TV channel owner here believes in grabbing eye-balls, and he can go to any extent to up the ratings. The “editor-in-charge” sahab has fallen into a trap. There’s no such thing as free lunch. He must pay for his fat salary, as did his predecessors. When the film eventually reveals the dangerous practices employed by his TV station, you may wish to laugh. But you don’t. Because this is an Emraan Hashmi flick my brothers. No one walked into the theatre looking for a story. They want sex and Sufi songs. There is no sex. There are lots of Sufi songs. Damn, what’s the point then.