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The curious case of Indrani Mukerjea

Does muck or sleaze sell? A moot question as the media goes pear-shaped over a media tycoon’s wife turning out to be the prime suspect of her daughter’s brutal murder

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: Nov 19 2015 3:06PM | Updated Date: Nov 19 2015 3:31PM

The curious case of Indrani Mukerjea

The frantic coverage of a 'murder most foul',  -- the 'high profile murder mystery' allegedly by an ex-media tycoon's wife dominated the national headlines for weeks -- had made most of us lose our faith in the media (both television & print). Despite of being fed up with the media, the compulsive binge news watcher that I am, I ended up switching on the TV set after four hours of work. And just as I switched on the news, an anchor declared that their next report would be from Assam. I hoped (against hope) praying to god to let this coverage be about Assam floods which had displaced lakhs but NO, that was not to be. Next thing, a screaming reporter is claiming that they had a big exclusive interview of none other than Indrani's Mukerjea's first boyfriend from schooldays. Next thing on my TV screen is a befuddled man who was surrounded by a pack of hungry reporters asking him questions like - What was Indrani like in school. Why did she ditch him? Why is she always a gold digger? Irritated, I finally switched off the TV.

 

This makes me think about why the media is so obsessed with the Sheena Boora murder case? Be it television or print, every minute detail of the case is being reported, including Indrani's second daughter eating a muffin and playing on her I phone in the court room. I understand, the story has all the ingredients of sex, lies and videotapes (in that  order) and that means great TRPs and readerships but is that all the people want to watch? To check that I asked 20 people randomly about what they thought of the way the media had been covering the case (just FYI: I was in Guwahati then, Indrani’s hometown) and in her home-town where one would expect the people to be glued to the TV sets watching 24*7 news following every twist and turn of the murder mystery. To my surprise the biggest concern of the people there was the high prices of pulses and those who did say they were following the case said they were doing out of compulsion as the media, including the local media wasn’t showing anything other than the Indrani case. Maybe the media misunderstood what they wanted to show with what the people want to watch. The media may have assumed that the scandalous details of Indrani’s past (many of which had absolutely no relation with the case)  would increase reader/viewership but  the ‘aam aadmi’ was really more concerned with the increasing price of his daily ‘dal-roti’ than each & every detail of this ‘sensational murder mystery’

 

Shallow claims

 

Though many news channels claim that their viewership increased many fold due to this but we don’t need to say what a hoax TRPs are anyway. Speaking of TRPs Times Now came up with a new promo where they claim to be number one with them at 80% and NDTV at 0% And at the same time I flipped channels there was News X claiming to be number one (though anyone would have serious doubts about that) while NDTV which claims that they are the ‘only non-tabloid’ news channel ‘ also showed each and every detail of this case with equal zest (though less noise than Times Now) but it was CNN IBN’s sister channel IBN 7 which broke all records. They got the first and exclusive (which many other channels claimed simultaneously) interview of Dolly Bindra. Dolly Bindra of the Big Boss fame, who first proclaimed that she was a strong devotee of ‘Radhe Ma’ later claimed that she was molested by Radhe ma and her followers. And if you want a good dose of laugh then watch ABP news show ‘Sansani’ on Radhe Ma called ‘Dolly ka yon shoshan’  But it’s not just Hindi channels , Times now also got another first and exclusive (maybe in their case super exclusive ) interview with Radhe Ma where she claimed she is a mother and thus ‘pure and pious’. Actually, better than news channels you can watch a dubsamash on the same (it’s already gone viral).

 

Generally, I like to end my articles on a positive note, maybe talk about all the good things the media has reported but this time the type of fanatical coverage over the last two weeks has me pretty pessimistic.  Hopefully, in the next edition there would be some decent stuff (though I doubt it) by the media to write about.