After Mobbing Rhea, Media Crews Chase Deepika’s Car on Live TV. Journalism Dies Yet Another Death

Social Commentary

After Mobbing Rhea, Media Crews Chase Deepika’s Car on Live TV. Journalism Dies Yet Another Death

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

India is supposed to be following social distancing protocols given the coronavirus outbreak in the country. But if you have been following the media coverage surrounding the Bollywood “drug” scandal, you’d think otherwise. Journalists are shoving microphones into actor’s faces, hounding postmen, delivery boys, and now even beating up each other outside the Narcotics Control Bureau office. Just when you think things can’t get any worse, they usually do with the Indian media. On Thursday, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh’s arrival from Goa to Mumbai led to a media frenzy that would make even Taimur Ali Khan cringe.

Journalists were positioned outside their hotel in Goa to give “live updates” before they left. Then, multiple channels followed their “black Mercedes car” in the afternoon to let us know exactly when they would be boarding their private jet to leave for Mumbai. In a rather comical outcome, it was probably the wrong car and some random person they were chasing around Goa for two hours last afternoon since the couple reached the airport only at night. But everything is fair in love, war, and the fight for TRPs.

What happens in Goa, stays in Goa, except when the media is hounding you. The circus continued when Deepika and Ranveer landed in Mumbai. In visuals, media crews were seen trailing the couple out of the airport. It was almost like a surreal Bollywood car chase scene where someone tells the driver, “Uss gaadi ka peecha karo”.

Media vehicles continued to follow the couple across the city. At a traffic signal, some reporters were seen coming out of their vehicles and standing near the bonnet of the actor’s car. One of them even knocked on the car to elicit a response from them, according to NDTV.

Former executive editor of NDTV Nidhi Razdan said that this frenzy summed up the state of journalism today. “The reporter here, Ashok Singhal, is senior to me. When I first started out as a political reporter over 20 years ago, he was a veteran on the field. This is what he’s doing now,” she said. Ashok was in a media car, following Padukone in Goa.

Amid farmer protests, rising coronavirus cases, it’s saddening to see our journalists chasing celebrities over an unfounded story.

Unfortunately, media mobs have become too common.  Earlier in the month, Rhea Chakraborty was hounded outside the NCB’s office.

Deepika Padukone is likely to appear before the NCB on Saturday, the same day that has been assigned for Sara Ali Khan and Shraddha Kapoor. Rakul Preet Singh is expected to be questioned today. One hopes the media lets the drug agency do its job, while doing theirs, which doesn’t involve chasing cars and camping outside a Bollywood star’s house.