OUR STING EDITOR
The Casting Couch is an ubiquitous phenomenon in many
industries. You, the average reader, may already know
that it exists in the film industry. If you ever had any
doubts after all those newspaper articles, gossip
magazine stories and B-grade movies during the last
couple of decades which featured the infamous Casting
Couch, India TV and Suhaib Ilyasi must have
definitely convinced you this week.
However, there are other industries where the casting
couch exists. The small-screen industry, for example. The sting operation on Aman Verma, the
angelic co-host of the Indian Idol TV show, by India
TV's Rajat Sharma and Suhaib Ilyasi must have convinced
you about its existence in the TV soaps and serials
Other industries are not innocent either. Our
investigations have revealed similar Couches in other
places - such as the Indian Steel Industry, which has something called the Casting Steel
Bench or the Internet Industry, with its WebCasting Couch
- but these are boring and do not make for good
visually interesting sting operations. And we know how
boring most Indians look anyway, whether in bed, couch
But there exists an industry where you have beautiful
people, aggressive bosses and ambitious new entrants -
yes, the Indian TV news channel industry!
Yes, gentlemen and gentlewomen, this may
shock you - some of the clean, scrubbed and Johnson and
Johnson's Baby Oil'ed people who
bring you your daily dosage of news, current affairs and
on our Indian television channels have used the casting
couch to get into the industry. Shocking but true.
we bring you this scoop / sting operation / expose only
to expose the larger malaise, and we have nothing
against the individuals themselves who may feel that
they were better dead than alive after they read this.
Yes, the intrepid editor of dancewithshadows
himself decided to expose this evil in the Indian media.
For this purpose, he pretended to be an aspiring
television journalist and started calling up a low-rung
female television program producer. The producer is for her
heart-breaking stories on street-children, street-dogs
and many other such street-related things.
Initially the producer was reluctant to talk. The
editor (hereafter mentioned as Innocent Man) mentioned
as decided to try a different tack. He started telling her
(hereafter mentioned as Evil Woman) that
people have told him that the best way to make it into
Indian TV news journalism is by approaching her. This,
of course, was what the Evil Woman wanted to hear and
all people in powerful positions wanted to hear. After all, she did not want some masoom bacchha
from some gao with no grasp of the ways of the
world meeting her. Evil Woman now knew
that this could be someone willing to do anything for a
job as a TV journalist, and agreed to meet Innocent Man.
At the local bar called Golden Palace Beer Bar.
Now, Golden Palace is no great place for trying out
any seductive moves (See, this is our Editor's first
sting operation, he promises he will choose better next
time). Evil Woman landed up, and after
discussions on TV journalism ethics, eagerly downed the
Haywards 2000 beer which was ordered by Innocent Man.
Innocent man now proceeded according to plan to
expose the vicious evil. He had already told a waiter
who never misunderstood a food order and is known for
his great memory to hang around near
the table and remember everything he sees and hears.
See, DWS is a website - in internet journalism, there
are no hidden TV cameras and computers would look funny
in a bar. So we had to use a waiter with good memory.
The Evil Woman was definitely taking an interest in
Innocent Man - an evil interest. She was leaning more
across the table and looking meaningfully into Innocent
Man's eyes. Innocent Man blushed several times, and this
further emboldened the Evil Woman - she ordered more
beer and promised a job in the industry.
This was good, but we needed a bit more to establish
the existence of the casting couch in TV journalism in
India. To prove that, we wanted the Evil Woman to get
lusty and talking suggestively.
Now, Innocent Man tried to behave in a seductive
manner and tried to get the Evil Woman to misbehave with
him. This is what Innocent Man had seen on TV, so he was
just putting it into practice. This is where things
started to go wrong.
The Innocent Man - by virtue of being a Man, was not
wearing a short black dress or anything similar. His
idea of being sexy was to roll up his shirt sleeves and
leer and lick his lips occasionally.
This was a mistake in hindsight - the Innocent Man
(Editor) had done this purely in the interest of
reforming TV journalism, see, and had not asked for any
advice from anyone in the editorial office. They would
have told him that his only chance was to ply Evil Woman
with so much of Haywards beer that she would make
advances to even the mailbox outside the bar.
Anyway, seduction does not come naturally to
everyone. Least of all Innocent Man (Editor) who does
not have a hope in hell of seducing even a horny monkey.
So when Innocent Man tried to behave seductively, it did
not work as expected. A look of fear and horror crept into Evil Woman's eyes,
and she jumped and ran out of Golden Palace Bar. The
Editor (the sting operation is over, so he's now back to
being Editor) had to pay the bill for all the booze, and
pay the confused waiter who had memorised everything.
Overall, a successful sting operation given the
constraints - see, India TV had a female model to seduce and
talk and breathe heavily into the phone. But the DWS
office's phone produces a hurricane's noise if you
breath into it. No hidden camera, but a waiter with good
memory. But it was all worth it, in the interest of
warning poor souls from villages who want to become
television journalists. This of course goes for both men
and women. Be warned, the Casting Couch exists, and
always apply for such jobs when they are advertised in
the Classifieds section only!
OUR STING EDITOR