Every individual has an opinion, but opinions without facts are just generic perceptions.
I was really excited to watch the recently released movie “Sanju”. The whole movie, in short, tries to direct the audience towards how news media moulds the truth for profit and how they are just in the business of twisting stories for TRP.
In the film, great emphasis was put on a question mark when Sunil Dutt (played by Paresh Rawal) went to the office of an editor and challenged him to put a full stop instead of a question mark in a headline. As the plot moves forward, Sanjay Dutt (played by Ranbir Kapoor) who is in jail, runs a radio show to send the message of how media gets advertisements by twisting stories as they put a question mark at the end to add masala. Again, when Anushka Sharma asked Sanju’s best friend to join her outside the jail so that Sanju can convey his message to him, Sanju says, “Kamlesh tu bi newspaper ke jhase me aa gaya lekin tune bhi wo headline ke bad laga question mark nahi dekha, mere ghar me koi RDX nahi rakha tha (Kamlesh, you’ve fallen into the newspaper’s trap too. Even you didn’t notice the question mark after the headline. There was no RDX in my house).”
Directed by Raju Hirani, this movie constantly questions how news media works but they forget that it is a journalist’s job to raise questions.
Now I want to ask a few questions. Why is Mr. Hirani afraid of being questioned? Why is his whole storyline pointed towards news media as if no one else should be blamed for Sanjay Dutt’s actions?
We cannot assume that Hirani maintained objectivity in this movie, he has shown his friend in a positive light – as a star who is the victim of circumstances – and who only kept illegal arms to protect his family.
As a journalist, my job is to question why he kept AK47s. He could have kept other authorised guns or appointed security to protect his family. But, Raju uncle doesn’t want us to ask questions.
This is not it. At the end of the film, Hirani goes to the extent of making a full song dedicated to news media to give the clear message that the media needs to shut up and people should stop reading the newspaper, and that will solve every problem. As if nothing bad would ever happen and the world would become a happy place if you did.
Wake up, Raju Hirani. Newspapers play an important role in social reform. Journalism in India was started as a mission to achieve freedom.
In 2017 alone, 12 journalists were murdered because they dared to question. From Gauri Lankesh to Shujaat Bukhari, 48 Indian journalists have been killed since 1992. They were brave enough to question the status quo and had sacrificed their lives to get answers.
Melodrama is essential for cinema. Put some tears with heavy dialogues, create drama and blame someone else for all the bad. Most of today’s propaganda is promoted through movies and it’s the job of journalists to decode hidden messages. If we stop questioning, any action of the police, any activity by corporates will get buried inside big files. We are the fourth pillar of democracy and every individual who faces any form of trauma looks to media to raise their voice as they seek answers from stakeholders. As a journalist, it’s our duty to provide them with answers by questioning authorities.
Journalists, freelance or even students who work for free, must find all angles to a story, question each angle, look for what is hidden behind the obvious, research, find sources, collect facts, spend all of their day in finding links that others may have missed. All of this without any facilities sometimes, and with peanuts for a salary.
Why are you afraid of questions? We are not afraid of asking and neither we will stop asking because there is an answer hidden behind every question which everyone wants and needs to know. And yes, Baba sach me bas ho gaya.