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Barkha Dutt bids adieu to NDTV; hints at new venture

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NEW DELHI: It’s the season for saying good-byes and starting afresh. It’s now Barkha Dutt’s turn to do so.

“It’s been a super ride at NDTV but new beginning in 2017. I shall be moving on from NDTV to explore new opportunities & my own ventures!” on a cold and partially grey Sunday tweeted Dutt, one of the few public faces of NDTV media house and one of the most trolled journalists of recent times.

In a series of tweets, evoking reactions ranging from puerile to dismissive to congratulatory to scepticism, Dutt said, “As I move on after 21 Great NDTV yrs; a team I'm SO proud of, an Emmy Nomination & many other awards to cap it all, I count on your wishes... Did my last `We The People’. At 16 yrs its longest running TV show which I built from scratch, won scores of awards for & am hugely proud of.”

In a co-ordinated move, NDTV put out an official statement, which too surfaced on Dutt’s Twitter TL. The two paragraph statement read: “In 1995, Barkha Dutt joined NDTV straight out of college, and now, after 21 wonderful years together, Barkha has requested that she would like to explore some new opportunities, pursue other interests and work on her own ventures.

“In all her years with NDTV, she has been hugely productive and has grown with the organisation, becoming an acclaimed, award-winning journalist of repute across India and many parts of the world. We are certain that Barkha will go from strength to strength and NDTV wishes her all the very best.”

Though criticised within her fraternity too for many of her actions, Dutt is said to have inspired a couple of Hindi film characters, including that of Rani Mukherjee in `Nobody Killed Jessica’ and that of Preity Zinta in Farhan Akhtar-directed ‘Lakshya’ based on the reclaiming of Tiger Hill by the Indian Army during Kargil War.

In recent times, NDTV, built by a team lead by Prannoy Roy, one of Indian news television’s original poster boys, has been under pressure from several quarters, including financial. Considered by the followers of the present BJP-led government in New Delhi a product of Congress-era, NDTV has been a nursery for several television journalists and anchors, many of whom went on to become as big a celebrity as a movie actor or a cricketer in India and household names, while quite a few moved on to start their own successful ventures in the media. And this list includes the likes of Arnab Goswami, Rajdeep Sardesai, Vikram Chandra, Arup Ghosh and Sonia Singh.

If the gossip in Capital’s favourite watering hole for journalists is to be believed, then the top management of a financially-beleaguered NDTV, including Dr. Prannoy Roy and Executive VC and CEO Narayan Rao, recently took a decision to shed sizable manpower weight. The target list for pruning staff was said to include many of those drawing a monthly salary of over Rs. 100,000.

However, it must be admitted that Indiantelevision.com could not independently confirm these rumours from NDTV, always considered to be a leading flag-bearer for impartial journalism in a world when old school professional values are being shed and being OTT (over-the-top) is considered to be the new normal.

She wrote on her FB page:

A new year means that new beginnings beckon. After a great two decades at NDTV I will be moving on to explore new opportunities, diversify my interests and build my own multi media content and events company as well as special projects. It's been an eventful and super ride at NDTV with an Emmy Nomination among the multiple awards capping a wonderful journey. I am especially proud of We The People the last episode of which I hosted today - at sixteen years it's the longest running show on Indian TV. But am hugely excited about the many adventures that await me. And I now count on everyone's best wishes for my next new and wonderful innings. Excited wish me luck !!

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