Investigative journalists are becoming a rare commodity. In future the term might just be referred to as an oxymoron. Today anything and everything is breaking news, so much so that we might consider Priyanka Chopra’s affair with Shahrukh more important news than war in Syria. We have our media that sensationalizes every piece of journalistic brilliance that they can get their hands on, whether it be an India TV reporting about the haunted potholes of Mumbai or Times Now being…well…Times Now. (Are you listening Arnab Goswami).
Mr. Cyrus Bharucha @ SIMS, Pune
Amongst all this, it’s refreshing to meet someone who comes from the old school of media and journalism. Remember that time, when journalistic accuracy was more important than garnering TRPs by making people use glycerine on “panel debate” shows.
It was a pleasure meeting and interviewing BBC Producer and Director Cyrus Bharucha. Mr. Bharucha has been in the business for well over 40 years and has seen, recorded and reported on some of the greatest events in the 20th century. He has covered a wide array of topics, from interviewing Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on floods in Pakistan, to the Irish Republican Army issues. A director, producer, writer and novelist, his latest achievement was making a group of restless management students sit up in awe and pay attention on a Saturday morning. So without further ado the interview:
Q1: What are your views on the sensationalist media of today as opposed to the BBC, and investigative journalists of yesteryear?
The media today has lost its charm, with TV anchors playing actors on screen and stories being blown out of proportion. They should put an embargo on the term “breaking news”. British Media is still slightly conservative, and at least the American media took crime reporting seriously. The term “if it bleeds it leads” was revered by them. Today everything is about the drama and the bottom line and the story gets lost.
Q2: How important were the BBC credentials in getting stories?
Very Important. It makes a difference, people pause and take notice and give it a second thought. Dictatorial regimes have had to give way to BBC at times and that’s how it was. Sadly it is very difficult for photo journalists today to get funding and logistics to cover stories without major channel backing. Having big credentials is also a double edged sword as people would refuse to talk to you sometimes, knowing your credentials.
Q3: Who do you think is the most unbiased media house in India today?
I think that would be NDTV. You have to understand, today there isn’t such a thing as unbiased but NDTV tries to do something different while the rest follow the norm and air the same stories. Also they have Dr. Prannoy Roy who knows how a good story looks.
Q4: Tell us about “Hero”, your novel?
They (the publishing house) changed the name. It’s now called “Bollywood, Beds & Beyond”. It’s a gritty, sex filled, lusty pot boiler about a struggling actor and all the women in his life. The break he gets and what he does to get there.
Q5: Sounds like a script? Ever thought of making it into a movie?
It is written like a script with scenes and chapters. That’s my editor’s doing. You can make it into a film. I guess that’s for someone else to think about. I wouldn’t make a Bollywood film even if you paid me.
Q6: Tell us about your workshop with British Council.
It’s called the Art of Documentary Film Making and it’s scheduled at British Council Pune on the 7th and 8th of September 2013, between 1100 and 1800 hrs. I did the same workshop in Mumbai and the kind of work I got from the students was brilliant to say the least. You will have to call the British Council for more details.
With that we can conclude. It was a pleasure meeting you Sir.