Hindi feature film on TV sting may flare new controversy

NEW DELHI: Coming as it does when it is such a hot topic with the government and the media, a new feature film based on sting operations is bound to stir once again the controversy over how far television channels can go with sting operations.

Interestingly, the film It’s Breaking News stars Koel Purie, daughter of media magnate Aroon Purie who heads the TV Today network and the Aaj Tak Channel, in the role of a journalist who helps a rape victim through a sting operation to expose the police personnel behind this racket.

Koel told a press meet here yesterday that the film, which is inspired by the true life case of former Jharkhand Inspector General of Police PS Natarajan, was also attempting to examine how far the TV channels can go when investigating crime and whether the media was fair in reporting certain cases.

She said that in the case in question, the electronic media had exposed the racket through a sting, but then had not bothered to follow up on what happened later, or what happened to the girl who was repeatedly made a victim of sexual abuse and was shown unabashedly by the channel in a semi-nude state. She said after watching the coverage, she was convinced that the channel had gone too far.

(Natarajan had been arrested around 13 months after he had been declared an absconder in the case exposed by the sting by a TV channel involving a tribal girl.)

Answering a question, she said she was not sure if repeated showing of such scenes was because of viewer interest or TRPs, but the fact remained that this continued unabashedly without bothering to see the other side: the pain it caused to many.

The film has been written and directed by Vishal Inamdaar and produced by Smita Shreyas Mhaskar with music and lyrics by Kaushal S Inamdaar and Saahil respectively. It stars among others Koel Purie, Swati Sen, Virendra Saxena, Vinay Apte, Harsh Chhaya, Shishir Sharma, Abhimanyu Singh, Tanushree, and Amit Behl.

Vishal said it was purely coincidental that the film was being released on 5 October and had not been timed in view of the recent controversy involving Live India. He said in reply to a question that it was either for the media itself or for the judiciary to decide where to draw the line while undertaking sting operations.

Asked if he had taken Koel for the role of the journalist in view of her background, Vishal replied in the negative and said he learnt of her status in the TV Today family only later.

Swati, who is making her debut in this film, did not think starring in the bold role of a woman who is repeatedly made the victim of sexual abuse posed any threat to her getting other roles or getting tagged. She said the protagonist portrayed by her was an average girl who was shown having her positive and negative shades. She was not an opportunist but simply took the help of the journalist and the ‘Dateline’ TV channel.

Interestingly, the film has been produced for around Rs 25 million collected in small sums from around 221 small investors who contributed sums between Rs 10,000 to Rs 200,000 each.

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