Dancing KCR, Weeping BJP: How TV News Anchors Got High on State Assembly Election Results

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Dancing KCR, Weeping BJP: How TV News Anchors Got High on State Assembly Election Results

Illustration: Arati Gujar

For most of us, election result day elicits the same response a Shaggy concert in Kurla does – almost every one’s aware that it’s happening, but no one actually gives much of a shit. But for one, very loud but often ignored section of the country, the TV anchor, result day is like a birthday, an anniversary, Diwali, and Holi all mixed into one.

Judging by the sounds emanating from the TV in the morning, the festivities begin early. At 8.30 am, on one channel, the anchor and their best political friend are in the midst of a fight to the death over who’s going to win elections. Ignoring that results would have been declared in just a couple of hours, anyway, the anchors then moved on to their yearly election ritual – asking questions like, “If you lose, will you finally accept that you’re nothing but a failure?”

Elections are easily the best time to be a news anchor because it’s that one day in a year where you actually have something important to endlessly debate. Unlike other days, when they’re left haggling over whether scams should happen or not (pretty sure they shouldn’t, but discuss away), election day is when the anchor puts on their most formal suit, holds their head up high, and wrongly announces the winners of the elections three days in advance… with no repercussions. Hell, if you’re on Zee News, you can even sing a song about the election.

Now because presentation really matters, the best graphic designers from across the country are summoned to help visually represent the anchor’s guesses. These graphics guys probably wake up extra early and brush their teeth twice, because this is the one day in the year, they can go nuts. Cue flying UFOs announcing that this will be the election the Universe is waiting for, a bullet train carrying the “fastest coverage ever,” and a quick game of “Spot the Anchor” through the epilepsy-inducing colours.

This particular graphics guy decided to do away with the anchor altogether.

 

At more than a few points today, the graphics were so futuristic, even the finest commentators in the country had a hard time predicting them. Earlier this morning, one anchor stood in the centre of his studio and made a semicircle with his hand in the air as if to signal he was at a Bryan Adams concert. Five seconds later a graphic indicating Congress’s seat number follows his movement. Awkward… but the fact that he smiled like an idiot throughout proves how little he cares about your opinion. It’s election day bitches!

South Indian channels don’t bother maintaining this classy template set by their Lutyens’ counterparts, with some choosing to simply morph images of the victorious KCR onto posters of Bahubali, and the robot from Robot 2.0. One channel, whose graphics guy probably considers himself the Banksy of the TV news world, created an animation of KCR busting some of the sickest moves known to man.   

“I’m like the bartenderr…”

Not to be left behind, the headline writers also get a chance to show off their immaculate comprehension skills. “Could EVMs be Tampered??!?” one news channel asked this morning. “Does this mean the BJP wave has finally ended??” asked another. Well, I don’t know bro, you’re the news channel, you tell me!

Nation’s most best, number 1, election team eva getting their exit poll all wrong.

Even when channels go on break during elections, we are treated to ads praising the channel’s coverage. An Attenborough-esque VO plays in the background announcing that you are for sure watching the greatest TV channel known to humanity and that you are currently getting election coverage five minutes before the election commission itself. Since it’s election day, the producers also bothered stealing music from Lord of the Rings for additional drama.

The mood is so infectious at studios during elections, that even panellists tend to ham things up a bit. Today we saw BJP leaders visibly surprised that their promise to rename Hyderabad didn’t work out for them, Congress leaders who had to be physically restrained from running onto the set with streamers and champagne, and political commentators transition from Circuit to Munnabhai every time they managed to voice a fact over the noise. If gladiators could travel to the future and listen to a TV news debate, they’d probably be shocked at how hostile we are.

But all good things must come to an end, and there probably won’t be an election result day this exciting in this country for another couple of months. News anchors will go back to stealing news from WhatsApp, and the graphics guys will be sent back to their caves where they can continue pasting Arnab Goswamis on yellow squares… Keeping it fresh, until next time!

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