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MEDIA - STING OPERATIONS IN INDIA
 

Casting Ouch: The biggest sting operation ever in India!

DWS investigates the murky world of television journalism, and finds the casting couch exists even for aspiring male journalists!

 

 

 

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 world too.

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 or bench.

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.

And 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

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Meet the new James Bond  

Deccan Chronicle in Chennai  

 Times to launch 'serious' newspaper  

 Indian Express buys stake in Mid-day

 Indian mediascape set to change

 Mediaah shuts shop almost as soon as Mediaah! Strikes! Again!  

 Slum demolitions and the false choices of Shekhar Gupta

 A journalist lost in a dance bar

 Oscar winners 2005

 The Ambani feud, and the pimping media  

 Feminism in the time of MMS and spycams

  Oscars 2005 potential nominees and winners

  Hindustan Times coming to Mumbai

 Creative bend: Debutant director Satish Menon's Bhavum

  Daniel Goddard - portrait of a photographer  

 The junketeering journalists of India

Bhansali regains his art... 

Review: RK Laxman's Tunnel of Time

Alok Kejriwal interview

DWS casting couch scoop!

 

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