Farewell Editor

The last time I did an India at 9 debate on CNN IBN on June 2, 2014, Vinod Mehta was on the panel. As the debate was ending, Vinod insisted on having the last word. 'What is this I am hearing about you quitting or going on a sabbatical? Don't stay away from the screen for long, you must return soon!' As it turned out, that was my last appearance on CNN IBN: I did not return. Little did I know then, that neither would Vinod. He left us permanently this Sunday, leaving behind a great void.

I never had the privilege of working under Vinod, although my wife Sagarika did and she told me wonderful stories of an editor who was passionate and committed to journalism. My interactions with Vinod were largely on the television screen though he did get me to write the occasional column for Outlook. I found him the person I had always imagined him to me: honest, straightforward, and above all, irreverent. Most editors take themselves very seriously and believe their one article or programme can change the world. Many will tell you how proximate they are to the corridors of power. Not Vinod. His almost self-deprecating attitude to being an editor was perhaps his greatest strength (he had even named his dog 'Editor'). That coupled with a nose for news and the big, bold headline made him the ideal reporters' editor, someone who nurtured and embraced many fine young talents. For Vinod, the story mattered, not the pomposity of the byline or the celebrityhood of being editor.

In a sense, Vinod belonged to what I would call the grand 'Bombay school of editors', reared in the more genteel 1960s and 70s. Leading the pack was my first editor when I was in college: Behram Contractor or Busybee, someone also blessed with the craft of using simple language to bring a story alive. Vinod and Behram were in many ways two of a kind: they didn't flaunt their connections or get intimate with their sources, but enjoyed the idea of bringing out a cracking good newspaper or magazine.

Sadly, we live in an age where the editor is an endangered species, combating marketing, corporate and political pressures. Vinod is perhaps one of the last of the editors who would not compromise on journalistic independence. As he once told a colleague: “Let someone serve a legal notice, the story must go!" His views were his own, he did not wish to follow the herd or be intimidated by the cacophony of cheerleaders and naysayers. That both LK Advani and Sonia Gandhi were present at his funeral exemplified his ability to cut across the political divide. He wrote a fine book on Sanjay Gandhi and an equally well written biography of Meena Kumari: in both books, there was just enough gossip and anecdote to make them real page turners. Editor, author, journalist: we shall all miss his affable, always energetic presence. RIP.

Post- script: Vinod made the effortless transition to being a pundit on television. 'I don't really like it, but it does pay well,' he told me with a smile. That was quintessential Vinod: he liked expressing his thoughts candidly, but not without a glass of whiskey in the hand!

(The piece has been written by veteran journalist Rajdeep Sardedsai on his blog and took his consent and uploaded it after his approval)

Latest Reads
Know your karma on IBN7 with 'Karm Path'

In an attempt to give its viewers a refreshing start of the day, IBN7 is launching a new show titled Karm Path. Starting 27 October, the show will predict what the day holds. The show is a differentiator in its own genre as it connotes the supremacy of deeds over destiny.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Big Ganga available on Tata Sky now

Big Ganga has strengthened its distribution with DTH service provider Tata Sky.

Television TV Channels Regional
TV is story-teller's new novel; audience is Bharat, not India: Star's Banerjee

MUMBAI: Since five to six years, television has become the talking point. Th series such as 'Breaking Bad' to Transparent to Narcos to 'Game of Thrones' to 24, and now POW (Prisoners of Wars) has changed the experience of television viewing.

Television TV Channels GECs
Star World to air 1-5 of 'Homeland'

Star World and Star World HD is all geared up to air the pulse-pounding action series 'Homeland.' The show tackles geopolitical moral conundrums of our current world. It has recently unveiled the teaser for the upcoming season 6 shows how Carrie Mathison will circumvent around another international...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
Share all World Cup, T-20 feeds with Prasar Bharati, rights holder told

The telecast of all official one-day and Twenty-20 matches played by the Indian Men’s Cricket Team will henceforth have to be shared by the rights holder with the public broadcaster Prasar Bharati under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act 2007.

Television TV Channels Terrestrial
Saregama returns to film music acquisition with Pen pact

Saregama India has inked a two-movie deal with Pen Movies. With this agreement, Saregama has acquired the music rights of upcoming Bollywood releases of Pen which includes Kahaani 2 -- Durga Rani Singh, featuring Vidya Balan and Arjun Rampal.Kahaani 2 is slated for a release on 2 December.

Television TV Channels Music and Youth
Q2-17: Zeel numbers, PAT up on higher Ad and Subscription revenue

The Subhash Chandra led content and broadcast player Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (Zeel) reported a 23 per cent hike in consolidated revenue for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 (Q2-17, current quarter) as compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Television TV Channels GECs
Best Deal TV appoints Hari Trivedi as COO

MUMBAI: Best Deal TV has appointed Hari Trivedi as the chief operating officer with immediate effect. Based in Mumbai, Trivedi will be responsible for overall sales and marketing. He would also be initializing lowest price offers and deals on Best Deal TV.

Television TV Channels People
Disney announces successor of MD Siddharth Roy-Kapur

MUMBAI: Walt Disney International has announced the successor to its former managing director Siddharth Roy-Kapur. As a second stint with the organization, Mahesh Samat has made a comeback and will lead The Walt Disney Company India as the managing director. He will pursue his new responsibility...

Television TV Channels People

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories