Author and columnist Chetan Bhagat talks about his new avatar as an anchor of the ongoing series “7 RCR” on ABP News
The author of popular books — “One Night @ the Call Centre”, “Five Point Someone”, “The 3 Mistakes of My Life” among others, Chetan Bhagat, has been anchoring a political series, “7 RCR” on ABP News this month. In an interview, he talks about the series, present-day politics and his new avatar as an anchor. Excerpts:
Tell us about the series and how it happened?
I am very excited. I have done a lot of work behind the camera but this will be my first stint to face the camera as an anchor. ABP News contacted me, told me about the format of the show. It dealt with two of my favourite subjects — politics and storytelling. I am very keen about the political system in India and I regularly write about it on social sites and in my columns in newspaper. This show gave me the opportunity for a real political storytelling about the contenders for the Prime Minister’s post and about their personality, childhood, youth and their political journey. I believe the country needs to know about these candidates before they decide to cast their vote. The aim of our show is to inform, entertain and enlighten the viewers. I haven’t seen such a big-scale show on an Indian news channel before and is possibly the most expensive one for ABP News. The content which is well researched was time consuming. . A lot of hard work, time, energy and efforts has gone into making of this series – from using old footage, casting actors, writing scripts and then anchoring it. It was really difficult for me to come on screen and deliver in good articulate Hindi. Anchoring is indeed challenging.
You have come a long way from being a banker to a writer to hosting a show. Your thoughts on this big drift?
My only aim is to convey my ideas and thoughts to people. I have always maintained a connect with my fans no matter in which format I am operating. When I write, they are my readers; when I do a movie script, they are my audience and it doesn’t really change anything. Another reason is, I don’t want to bound myself to any medium. I felt this is an important show and I wanted to be a part of it. We are trying people to become informed in an interesting way. There is a lot more awareness and a lot more power in media today. Earlier, I used to feel that actors and anchors just need to say the lines written by script writers but now I understand how difficult it is. Tell us more about the format of show?
We have used the standard techniques being globally accepted for half a century on news television. Dramatisation done is strictly within the parameters of objectivity with remarkable cinematography and reconstructions. The basic rule is that camera cannot be everywhere all the time, specially if you talk about political events and top personalities. A lot is happening that doesn’t happen on camera, but there are things you get to know from authentic, credible sources like books, interviews and eyewitnesses. So facts which are not covered on live camera can only be shown cinematically.
A lot of youngsters are said to be your readers. With this series, do you think you may unconsciously create an opinion in them? Of course, I want to create an influence but at the same time I don’t want to suggest a preference to them because I don’t have any preference. My job is not to follow cults, my job is to put the issue out there, help people decide, not to decide for them. I don’t want to instil a bias in the mindset of youngsters. And as a matter of fact, credible content always leads to credible conclusions. Anyway, the content is not mine, I am just an anchor and being used for my good looks!