Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Media vs Reality - Prologue to Rann

It was "world earth day" or "world environment day". I don’t remember. It was some years ago. Basically it was the day when everybody wakes up with a sudden urge to save the world. Like every global special day (fathers day, mothers day, valentine day…blah blah blah), media had time slots to give special coverage on this day. In-fact the build up to the day was also great. They signed film stars to talk about earth, politicians came and blabbered that all their constituencies will have mini forests etc etc.

My company also wanted to save earth in its own way. A small group of volunteers was formed. We signed with Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) with a lake (bank) cleaning project. There were some schools, other corporates who aligned with the same project.

Mentally prepared to work the whole day, I came to the lake early. The lake and so its bank was vast. The dirt was all over the place. Lays covers, Biscuit packs, ice cream cups, spilt name it and it was right there. It was still a festive atmosphere on the lake bank, with the chairman of BDA expected to kickoff the project. Localities of the area had joined with the huge number of school kids. The chairman came. The inauguration speech did not start. Why? Media were not on time. Media arrived late with cameras and mikes covered with channel names. Then the speech started and ended. Cameras shot them. Breakfast was served in paper plates and water in plastic cups. People merrily threw the waste all over the place. (why not? They remembered very well, that we were there to clean the lake bank :-))

We were given big plastic sacks to collect the waste. We started off. Then the reporter of a prominent news channel(call it YenDeTV*) came to our coordinator and spoke guss guss. The coordinator called a volunteer to pose in-front of camera…It was actually similar to movie direction.

Action. Take1. "Pick the dirty plastic cover slowly". Cut. Bad acting. Action. Take 2. Plastic cover back in the ground. "Kneel down and pick the plastic cover..Slowly, slowly…Turn right…Smile".
"Yes! Great acting. Thanks, watch yourself at 8pm today on YenDeTV* channel". Bye!
And so the media vanished.

Then came the grumbling from the volunteers. "Its so dirty". "its stinking". "Its so hot". "they are not giving certificates for this project". "YenDeTV* shot only that guy, I will not be on TV". As the grumbling continued, in 10 mins, we collected some 5 sacks of dirt from 3 sq mts of the vast lake bank. Tired of the complaints, the coordinator asked us to windup. Lets take grp photos. Smiles, photos and again action, Take 1, Take 2…Huhh.
In less than 10 mins of media vanishing, we were done with the lake cleaning. And we vanished from the scene.

8 pm special program - YenDeTV* channel -- Reporter from Bangalore -- "Silicon city Corporates clean lake. Huge number of volunteers took time off their busy schedule for mother earth.". Oh yeah, we had cleaned it...or so the world thought.  Then I saw the great acting performance.
But wait,  media showed the reality. The actor had picked just one plastic cover (in-fact he picked the same plastic cover twice).

Now watch Ram Gopal Verma's Rann over the weekend.

Last but not the least - Just to be explicit on this - Nobody is paying me to write a prologue for Rann.
*YenDeTV - Is an imaginary news channel. Any resemblance to any real life channel is purely coincidental :-).

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