During a recent trip home, I was so sickened by reading the tabloidish, nonsensical fluff in mainstream media publications in India, replete with the worst possible English - chockful of grammatical misconstructions and crazy sentence construction. It is easy to deride how bad Indian newspapers have gotten over time but maybe I just know better now through exposure to excellent journalism and articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, etc., and magazines like New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Harpers, etc. So the argument could perhaps be made that things have not gone any worse now in Indian media circles than what they always have been - the denouement of the newspaper to a tabloid-ish tone notwithstanding. Afterall, a movie review to us has traditionally been the nonsensical stuff from the likes of Khalid Mohamad and not the stuff that a Roger Ebert or a Pauline Kael indulges the readers with..
If you want to understand better where I am coming from -- here is an excerpt from something Khalid Mohammad wrote last week in the Hindustan Times, that I transcribed after recoiling in horror.... is this even English!!
Just yesterday, he thought I was a snake. And I thought he was a porcupine. To comprehend what made him behave the way he did - tetchy, suspicious - I sought to pub his mind-set. Well what the hell, after much air-clearing, I found an actor who feels that much wrong has done to him by the pen scrawlers. To give the Kal ka khiladi and today's versatile performer his due, straight off I asked him if he felt he can handle the arch-competition from the Khans, the Bachchans, plus the upcoming insta-fame kids on the block. To which he responded without hemming and hawing. So in the classic tradition, here are excerpts from our conversation.. conducted in a frigidaire cold vanity van parked on the helipad of Film City.
Need I say more?
However, there is hope.... so far, I like the content and quality of the articles I have seen so far in a newly launched newspaper in India called Mint. It is a collaboration between Hindustan Times and Journal and is in a nifty Berliner format.