Media Unfairly Trashed Me Over "Break A Leg" Controversy - By Babul Supriyo

Published: September 22, 2018 14:20 IST

A lot has been written and said about my "Break a leg" statement in the last few days. Among the lines on my white board that hangs right in front of my desk in my bedroom is "The more bizarre the allegation, the quieter you need to be"; but rules are made to be broken and this situation is surely one that I couldn't brush off as "Kuchh toh log kahenge...!"

First things first, a confession. In response to all the flak and trolling that I have been subjected to, can I really say that I don't care? The answer surely is "No". Because the people who care for me (and that's not just my family and close friends but many more in every sphere of life) were disturbed and distressed.

And yes, I cannot defend my statement or phrase because that is what I said but I am torn apart by the way a small joke of mine said in complete jest has been blown out of proportion. We are all running a Rat race in this Dog-Eat-Dog World and in that game, should the Referee thinks that mine was a Red Card situation, well I shall accept that but cruel character assassination? Nope, I won't succumb to it.

What's scary and disillusioning is that no one cared to find out how I saved a programme organised for the Divyangs from turning into a complete disaster by 'acting' stern when it was desperately needed. No one, apart from the people present there, applauded the resolution with which I resurrected and brought back decorum in a programme that demanded those virtues - and did that entire thing with a smile on my face.

Are you telling me you that you guys have never been stern with your very own kids? "Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child" is surely archaic and obsolete today and should not be practised at homes or schools, but on the flip side, do we really want our kids to call the police if they get a slap from a parent or a teacher for not being attentive in class? I think we all know the answers, unless we have all promised to turn Saints today!

Question is, was I threatening a person from the so-called Opposition or anyone from any Community? No! Was it even a threat in the first place? No! It was purely in jest to ensure we got back sobriety in a programme meant to distribute more than 500 modern Aids and Equipment to Divyangs. There is no need for me to issue a statement either, announcing "I am sorry if I have inadvertently hurt feelings by my comment", simply because no one was hurt - it was not meant to hurt! It's a different thing that the Trinamool Congress, in line with their Low Standards of Politics, 'caught hold' of someone to file an FIR against me, but then Law and Order constitutionally is strictly a 'State Subject' and in the 'State' of West Bengal, we all know what, anyone fighting the ruling TMC, is 'Subject'-ed to.


"We should not play hypocrites but humbly accept that the relation between public figures and the media is surely symbiotic," says Babul Supriyo

What puts a dagger in my heart (yes, I have one) is that the very journalists who cordially call me to appear for their prime-time debates, (often for issues that aren't related to my Ministry or something that I may wish to speak about, therefore requiring me to study the subject thoroughly before appearing for the Debates/Shows), are the very ones who sat down to dissect a video clip that just popped up on social media 'misrepresenting' the entire situation (& HOW) putting me such such poor light.

Journalists who I may call acquaintances, if not friends, didn't even care to contact me once, to get my side of the story, but hurriedly got into the act of cruel character assassination! When I asked one of them as to why she didn't care to call me while showing the clip, all she said was, "Samjhha karo, yaar; there was no time. The story had to go on air because the other channels were already playing it. You know na how it is Babul?" Sure I do know and understand, but how sad is that? I challenge that if someone sees the recording of the entire function, they will be proud and happy to witness the way I did not sit idle, holding on to my so-called Ministerial Stature (ego/vanity etc etc), letting the programme we worked so hard for, slip by and get destroyed. And that because there wasn't anyone who would have the authority to take the mantle of responsibility, I had no option but to take it on me. It was several moments of varied emotions and expressions spun into one with the only goal of salvaging the programme.

In all modesty, I have been doing stage shows as an entertainer for donkeys' years and having faced multiple crowd situations in 'n' number of countries worldwide, I know how to handle my crowd.

Can I blame the media? Yes and No. No, because it was me who gave them a full toss with that 'phrase' (yes I actually said it - let me reiterate that I am not denying it) and each one tried to hit it harder as if the further the ball went out of the park, the higher will be the runs awarded, over and above the customary six.

And that lays down a fact - point blank - on the face. We should not play hypocrites but humbly accept that the relation between public figures and the media is surely symbiotic - no one does a favour to the other, generally speaking, and there is nothing wrong if they use us for TRP and we use them too for our own TRP - be it personal or for the work we do. Also, I am not so naive as to not understand that "All is fair in love & war' and in the politics of today, the focus does get shifted to the war more than the love and that's because, it's the War that generates the 'Most Important Reward if them All' - Huge TRP.

True, in every relationship there are periods of love and hate, and ebb and flow, but how does it feel when even the most accomplished of media-persons lose compassion and neutrality? They don't care to give you the benefit of the doubt when there is one! Isn't it utterly unfair to assassinate the character of a person shaped by years of good hard work in the 'Blink of an Eye' just because TRP is a number that is better achieved when eye/popping controversies pop up and there's no denying that that mine was surely one. Let me repeat here a once again that I am not defending my phrase as it appeared in that short & smartly edited clip & I find a line by famous Poet Krishn Bihari Noor Saab very apt in this context. It goes, "Sach Ghate ya Badhe toh Sach na rehe, Jhhoot ki koi imtehaan hi nehi".

Now the most important question! Can I win a war against this section of the media that 'cooked up' this one-sided reporting and then did a 'detailed' analysis of my character (or lack of it)? NO, in caps, but then the media cannot win it either. My inner strength shall be put to test in each of such trying circumstance and trust me, my only solace is that even if I lose momentarily, I will only come out stronger! It's a win-win situation for me while the media would move on to their next Breaking News material & there's nothing unfair in that.

I also find it worthwhile to mention here that after I left, personally handing over more than 40 equipments and aids to the beneficiaries, the programme went on smoothly for the next three hours where every single Divyang friend was handed over their equipment.

To end, let me quote this one line, albeit with a little twist, that makes a lot of sense and something that I really wish to tell all those 'friends' in the media who will meet me sooner than later in debates/shows where I will be present as their very own invited guest: "Manmani karein, toh jamm ke karein, par itni gunjayish chhod dein, Ke Kabhie ankh mile toh Sharminda na hone pade".

I have gone through my share of utter embarrassment, humiliation and shame from all this reporting, but as I release all of that in the thin air (that has hung heavy on me for the last couple of days), I ask myself if I can say "No Hard Feelings" at the end of it all! Well again, it's a Yes and a No, and So be it! In life, one has to learn to live with a few disappointments and this 'saga' will surely be very high up in my list. Ciao.

(Babul Supriyo is a renowned Bollywood singer-turned-politician and is the Union Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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