February 21, 2020
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A Camera In Pandemonium

“Diggy has ditched.” “But why?” “Don’t know, not taking call.” “If I see him on another channel it’s your neck!”

A Camera In Pandemonium
Sanjay Rawat
A Camera In Pandemonium

“Diggy has ditched.”

“But why?”

“Don’t know, not taking call.”

“If I see him on another channel it’s your neck!”

“Should I try NN?”

“No, too light-weight. This is now prime time.”


“No, no. Too fuddy duddy. Check with Kapil. Can we push him up? Ask him, ask him.”

“Shall we move the OB from Diggy’s?”

“No, leave it. Keep trying him.”

“The first headline is wrong. SP is not inching ahead anymore. It’s blazing past. Be sharp, guys.”

“Who’s monitoring the big picture? Who’s feeding the anchors?”

“I am.”

“Please keep the headlines editors in the loop. They’re changing every minute.”

“Where’s Vicky? Why aren’t we going to him?”

“He is at the BSP HQ in Lucknow.”

“Then move him. Can’t you see the news is moving? SP is the story now. Please let’s get Vicky, it’s getting too much studio disco. We need to go out. Need OBs, need phonos, need bites.”

“Ok, he’s moved. Vicky’s taken the call.”

“Great. How long?”

“Twenty minutes.”

“That’s too much. Get him on the phone. We need gyaan on SP in western UP right now.”

“What’s up with the Uma tic-tac? It was uplinked ages ago.”

“Not in yet. We’ll run it live when it comes.”

“Just check what she’s said. Don’t run live without checking.”

“Why are we getting the figures five minutes late? The others have it before us.”

“Can’t be, let me check.”

“Check with graphics too. Are they taking too long to load?”

“Why is this Manu bite on air, guys? It’s from the last wheel, it’s not relevant anymore. Can’t you hear what he’s saying?”

“This discussion is sagging. Guys, cut this disco. Tell anchor to thank SS, not working. Don’t go to him again. He can leave in the next break.”

“And let’s cut to pictures in the disco. Celebration shots, empty party HQs. Let’s take a picture window with location. This is looking dull.”

“The spelling of Ibobi is wrong in the top band. Going as Ibodi. Please correct.”

“There’s still a mismatch between the supers and anchor reads. The supers need to be updated. Put a news editor just to oversee supers. We’re looking lazy on air.”

“And why are these special supers in blue? It’s too BSP. Annie, thought you checked them.”

“Yes, I did. Blue is our channel colour too.”

“But it’s not working here. Too BSP. Let’s change the template.”

“All the templates? Now?”


“But rendering now will take forever.”

“Don’t care. Get on to it now. Let’s get the new supers on air asap. Annie, take a look. No blue.”

“Think the opening montage has to change. Cut those Rahul shots out. Get Akhilesh. Get those campaign shots on cycle.”

“Guys, there’s a BJP press conference. Do we go to it live?”

“What’s there to ask? Yes, yes, yes.”

“Cut to it, the others are on to it.”

“Going to it, anchor has to wind up disco.”

“Eff the disco, go to it NOW.”

“Supers, supers. What’s he saying? Can’t have ‘SP blazes past’ now.”

“But he has not started speaking.”

“C’mon guys, get the BJP supers on. At least take ‘Akhilesh as CM?’ off.”

“Ok, he’s speaking. Let’s monitor the press conference, who’s doing it? Ok, he’s talking about Punjab.”

“Got to get reactions. Guests, try some Congress phonos. Will anybody from the Akali speak? We need Akalis. And somebody from Uttarakhand. It’s getting too UP-centric.”

“Ok, producers hear this. Get the Dehradun OB up, get Amritsar. Goa, what happened to Goa? We need guests on OBs, not down-the-line with reporters. And not analysts, we need the players. Let’s get four-way OBs. Let’s spread out now. I want to see a four-way OB in the next five minutes.”

“Call all the NEs. Meeting in my room in five minutes.”

“Ok, no more discussing the results in the bulletins, no more results headlines. Results are history now. Let’s look ahead, only looking ahead stories now. Brief all reporters, all anchors. And let’s plan the evening shows.”

“Ok, we have Diggy. Guys, Diggy is on OB2.”

“Whoa. You’re a rockstar. Cut to him. Now. Let’s go to him now. Four three two one. Go, go. GO.”

(Satish Padmanabhan has done time in news television)

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