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Karan Thapar

His signature shows off the air, but Indias top TV interviewer is all set to move on

Karan Thapar
Why has In Focus gone off the air?
Sahara is overhauling Home TV. So all old shows have been offloaded. It's only airing repeats till the relaunch.

What are you doing for the new-look channel?
A weekly talk show titled either Fourth Estate or Press Club.

So is In Focus being given a quiet burial?
Thanks to the utterances of the politicians, In Focus became Home TV's most watched show. It'll continue in one form or another.

Will it be back on the relaunched channel?
No. We're talking to three other channels—BBC, CNN, Star—about a revised version. The show had become very political. We'd now like to include a broader range of people.

Why did In Focus become so political?
The show had kicked off with filmstar Sanjay Dutt talking, for the first time, about the trauma of life in prison. But since the days of the Deve Gowda government, politics completely dominated public discourse and it couldn't be ignored.

What about the five months of the Vajpayee government?
We've had a golden run in the last five months. This is the most responsive lot of ministers I've ever encountered. They never run away. Except Vajpayee himself.

What were the high points of the period?
Many. George Fernandes qualifying China as "India's potential threat number one", Jaswant Singh conceding that India was ready to discuss the LOC with Pakistan, Advani saying that this government had achieved little that he could be satisfied with...

Why did you quit Adhikari Brothers?
It was wonderful working with them. Full credit to them for spending time and money on publicising In Focus. But one must move on.

At UTV, what are your immediate plans?
On the Record, a show that'll have three politicians from three main political groups articulating their party's views on specific issues, begins on DD II on September 14.

And long-term plans?
I'd love to do a series of documentaries. Not the drab, academic kind; but highly visual, journalistic documentaries.

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