Top critical review
Anectodes....Documentation....Only insight is how he packaged himself to become famous
24 August 2018
I would have thought the author would be as mindlessly aggressive as he is on the television. I thought he would be in pursuit of making headlines as much as he packaged his shows for TRPs. I thought this book would add to the political discourse by offering the other side of the people who dared/ventured to appear on his shows! Unfortunately, I got nothing or anything like that!
This book, in fact, shows the other side of Thapar - how he used various means to get publicity for his programmes so that he made it big. He made it big, indeed....but at what and whose cost? How he used his friendship with a journalistic despot M K Razdan and used Press Trust of India to make big headlines (p93). I was working in PTI as a sub-editor in the nineties and I was, at least a few times, got calls from him directly names-dropping and pushing his agenda that the press release should be released the way it was sent and that no corrections or changes should be made.
Having said that, the personal story of 'My Wife, Nisha' is moving and there was sincerity in his documentation. I would have looked to read a little more on what happened after her death and their child. I empathise with his loss. Also, one reads a deep regret on how he has been outcast, boycotted, and externed by BJP for his interview with Modi. Probably, he deserves it too, for all people are not prepared to bite the bullet and be with it! Probably, he deserves it too.
On the whole, the book showcases how Karan Thapar carefully, systematically, and meticulously packaged and branded himself in Eyewitness or other television shows, how he used politicians and celebrities (like Amitabh Bachchan) as tools to hit top charts of viewership, and most importantly, the book gives a peep into how the fourth estate (if he can be classified to be part of it!) operates in Lutyens' Delhi.
This book is worth a simple read (no brains required to be spent!) and does not have a shelf-life beyond the first read. I don't regret having bought this book, but I definitely don't know where to keep it now that I have read it. For a TRP conscious journalistic generation that is in pursuit of fame and not substance, this is a must read.