Mumbai, Amitabh Bachchan, who plays a media baron in forthcoming film “Rann”, says he was among the pioneers of satellite television in the West long before it came to India and has a fair idea how a channel runs.
“I was one of the pioneers of satellite television in the United Kingdom and New York. We ran Asian television there. We were actually the first ones who did that many, many, many years ago before satellite television came here. So, yes, I know how it works and how it functions,” Bachchan told IANS in an interview here.
“But now, of course, it has become a huge industry. It’s a very intricate process, a very difficult task and extremely competitive. I have been to some of the (news) studios and I have seen how they function – (it’s) a massive task,” he added.
Bachchan had endorsed one of the first satellite Asian TV channels in Britain in the early 1990s – TV Asia before it was taken over by ZEE Network.
The megastar clarifies that “Rann”, which releases Jan 29, is pro-media and not at all about media bashing as has been reported.
“It’s a little premature for the media to think like this, but you know ‘Rann’ is a very pro-media film. In the film what I do as part of the media (industry) is nothing dishonourable. I (have been) put across as a very honourable person and whatever I do is very pro-media.”
Directed by Ram Gopal Varma, “Rann” is about business and consciousness in electronic media and the moot point of the film is what edges the other.
“Whether business wins over consciousness or otherwise, that would always depend upon the owner of the channel and that’s the crux of the story. It’s a battle between business and consciousness.
“Does Mr.Vijay Harshvardhan Malik (played by Amitabh in the film), who is a symbol of purity and integrity, succumb to things like ‘I don’t care about business, I want to keep my consciousness’ or ‘to hell with conscience, I will have to save my business'; that’s what the story will be,” said Amitabh.
The actor also said that he didn’t borrow any mannerisms from media personalities like Prannoy Roy or Rajdeep Sardesai.
“I don’t try imitating any particular action of anybody. I try to be myself,” said Amitabh, but added Ram Gopal Varma might have taken inspiration from the two while creating a character.
“These are elements which we see every day. Yes, when we are making a film on electronic media, it is very difficult to ignore them (Prannoy or Rajdeep) or not be inspired by them.”
While Amitabh appreciates the positive impact of the media, he maintains that it is not flawless.
“Media is a very powerful medium. It’s the voice of the nation. It informs and also forms opinion. It has the power to be able to influence you in forming a decision. It has a power to change governments… Now, when one entity has so many powers, are there any drawbacks? Are there any loopholes there? Do people use them or misuse them? These are some of the issues that the film deals with,” he said.
The actor, who recently criticised the paid news syndrome in an interview, said the media is not solely responsible for such practice where the source of information is kept under wraps.
“Somebody has to bring the concept. You are the medium and they have to publish it or broadcast it. It is your decision whether you want to do it or not. One doesn’t mind provided there is a disclosure. Disclose what you are doing, then it is fine. If it is made transparent, I don’t see any harm. Let everybody have some kind of transparency.”