*Talent may not be enough – to perform on the tube. It used to be ‘who you know’. Soon, it may be your caste. The fourth standing committee on Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s birth centenary celebrations has asked for a record of the “caste background” of artistes used on television and radio. An extract from the circular number 92/4/92-PXI from the directorate-general calls for the “maintenance of caste-wise details of artistes in Doordarshan and AIR so as to improve the deployment of SCs and STs in DD/AIR programmes”. The details are being collected. Many DD kendras say they have no such system of monitoring. The controller of production has written to the I&B Ministry saying this exercise “may not be in the larger interests… in a professional organisation like Doordarshan”. No cast(e)ing couches, please.
Still from Adi Mimansa: a taste of the good things ahead
*With Star TV all set to beam down programmes in Hindi, some people are finally waking up in DD. One of the coming coups is the telecast ofThe Godfather – the Complete Novel for Television, Francis Ford Coppola’s television marathon with the same star cast of Marlon Brando and Al Pacino. The series had an adventurous time getting to Indian television. The Bombay producer offering the series refused to let the tapes out of his hands, for fear of piracy, preferring to fly down with it and watch closely. Fortunately, such programmes will be taken out of the owl hour and shown after the English news. The other change: Friday evenings are for the movies. Good films as well as old classics. Sai Paranjpai’sAnghuta Chhap, Budhadeb Dasgupta’sBagh Bahadurand A.K. Bir’sAdi Mimansahave already been telecast.Adi Mimansawas made just last year and screened at the film festival in Bangalore in January.
Still from The Godfather: DD’s telecasting coup
*After the Serial Scamgate, it’s Filmgate. The broom’s stirred up a lot of the dirt – sorry, dust – in Mandi House. About half a dozen officials involved in the selection of films for telecast – DD forks out over Rs 15 lakh – a week were swept out. Apparently, the system of kickbacks had become so entrenched that it was fattening the bank accounts of DD employees and their partners outside DD. The “system” was foolproof, with different methods of extorting money, explains a senior DD official. Method 1: ask the producer for money to give his film priority. Method 2: ask a person who has been in the “Q” for years for the rights to his film, buy it and then rush to Delhi and “buy” your way in. Method 3: somebody at the Delhi Kendra will say the tape is technically not good and slip in a “substitute”. Method 4: after the telecast, delay payment and send a letter on a false letterhead claiming rights to the film. Litigation follows and the one who greases the palms gets the payment. Method 5: switch the film’s category from “A” to “U”, which will make a difference of over Rs 3 lakh. No wonder DD’s been showing lousy films.