Karan Thapar lies about his meeting with Jayalalitha
The Covid-19, (lets call it that way, don’t call it “Wuhan-Virus”, lest we become xenophobic), compelled people to stay indoors and get hooked up with videos through channels like Youtube. And continued recommendations triggered by the embedded algorithms of YouTube didn’t help things either. One such ‘algorithm induced video’ thrown up was that of an interview (Sept 2018) of notorious TV anchor Karan Thapar with Shoma Chaudhury, ex.editor of controversial now defunct tabloid “Tehelkha”, under the title “Algebra Conversations”, which was replete with swank and filibuster. (embedded below)
At 25.38 mins, the conversation veered towards the interview that Karan had with Ms. Jayalalitha in October 2004. The transcripts of relevant portions of the aforesaid video (since 25.38 Mins) went as below:
“……….I have to recall from memory. Forgive me if I got it wrong. It is in my book. The accurate version is there…………… (25.48 mins) (apparently in lighter vein) The first quality of good journalist is (to) find artful ways of drawing attention of the audience to what he or she has just written even if what he or she has written is utterly stupid and wrong”. When Karan had asked her (Jayalalitha) why she believed in superstitions like numerology, Karan describes that she barked at him and emphasises that ‘bark’ is the right word. (No wonder, he is an Award Winning Journalist. In the middle, when Shoma asks to cut it short, Karan addresses her as his darling (@ 28.35 mins), and Shoma seems to enjoy it. Wonder, Shoma would entertain the same with other interviewees.)
At the end of the interview, Karan says that he thought clearly he was going to be unpopular (with Jayalalitha) forever. However, after narrating his famous acrimonious interview with Jayalalitha, he recounts (At 30.42 mins) his second meeting with Jayalalitha, as noted below: “Two years later, at National Integration Council, I was talking with Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Orissa. That is when she (Jayalalitha) walked up to me. I thought its diplomatic moment to walk away. But she said, “Karan, Where are you going, I meet Naveen Patnaik all the time. I looked up and said, ” Are you coming to talk to me. She said, of course, who else am I (wanting) to talk to. And there was a huge beaming smile on her face. I have to tell you, I was completely captivated by the warmth she was generating and only seasoned politician can generate warmth with just a smile. I said to her, “But have you forgotten what happened when we last met?”. She looked at me straight and said “Of Course, I have. Haven’t you”. By the way, she says, “Isn’t it time for another (interview)?”
He continues, “And I said to myself, this lady is SUPREME. She not only floored me when she met me but she floored me second time around with her charm. And I have to tell you that my abiding memory of Jayalalitha was not the interview, although I have written about it, but it’s the way she met me two years later and she was so warm and so clearly forgiving….. in a wonderful manner in which she reached out to a person who thought was a pariah in her eyes. I would always remember her by the warmth and wonderful smile.”
Now, when one turned to his more authentic account, as per his averments, of above events ie. his book “Devil’s Advocate” published in July 2018, he was not off the mark with the above rendition, where he further recalls on the above incident thus: (Pg 176 – Kindle Edition): “That second interview never happened. I’m not sure if I ever wrote and asked for it. Quite possibly I did not. But the warm-hearted and charming way she put the first behind us left as deep and lasting an impression as the abrasiveness of our original meeting.
Well, to confess, it was absolutely tiring to finish even this small bit of his autobiographical accounts which are narcissistic, egotistical, languorous talk.
The Points to be noted are: According to Karan Thapar – 1. It was Ms. Jayalalitha who moved first to open the conversation and normalise the otherwise soured relations that both would have to put up with, post that acrimonious interview. 2. Hence, she deserved the epithets such as ‘Supreme’, ‘warm hearted’, ‘charming’ from the Mighty Thapar. 3. And She cleverly pitched for her second Interview, which Karan Thapar, by the way, obliged but did not bother to follow up.
Karan would have loved for the story to end here. But, Alas, that was not to be. The villain proved to be Youtube Algorithm. It threw up an interview under the title “Devil’s Advocate”, featuring a role-reversal of sorts, with Suhel Seth taking on Karan Thapar, shot in 2010 and published in Youtube in 2011. The Part 5 of the series, whose link is given below, contains the most interesting part.
Here we go: (from 2.40 mins)
SS: (2.40 Mins) Did Jayalalitha lock you up for the night
KT: No, She didn’t. She asked us to wait for an hour and a half. She tried very hard to persuade us not to broadcast the interview we recorded. We decided there was no reason not to broadcast it.
(Now comes the real part……the REVEALING PART….)
KT: She was a lady who misunderstood me and I suspect I misunderstood her. So, I think there was misunderstanding on both sides. Aaahhmmm……By the way, I MET UP WITH HER THREE YEARS LATER in National Integration Council meeting, ……….., I WENT UP AND I SAID, FORGIVE ME, I don’t think I am the person you would want to meet at the moment. But could I still say Hello…… She turned around and said, “What on earth make you said that Karanji, lovely to meet you.” She was so charming.
Lets summarise the shenanigans of Karan Thapar. It was not Jayalalitha who went to him and built the bridges. The fact was the other way round.
Between 2010 (when he gave the interview to Suhel Seth) and 2018 (When he published his book with the distorted version of second rendezvous with Jayalalitha post the first interview), what had happened that made Karan Thapar bold enough to add spin to the story by depicting as if Jayalalitha came up to meet him and asked for an interview, when the truth was it was he who went and initiated the talk, which Jayalalitha acknowledged gracefully, but asked for no second interview at all. It must have been that Jayalalitha passed away in 2016. When she was no more, Thapar decided to roll out his trademark mischief suggesting that Jayalalitha came and met up with him to cajole him and pitched for a second interview. He further writes in his book about the non-existence of a follow up letter from his end to Jayalalitha with respect to that non-existent second interview. This was how, in the eyes of Karan Thapar, Jayalalitha transited from a misunderstood person in 2010 when recalling with Suhel Seth, towards a Supreme Leader in 2018. Wah…Jayalalitha must have got her solace now in heaven.
Now kindly recall what Karan Thapar said in the video of Algebra Conversations between Karan Thapar and Shoma Choudhary (@ 25.48 mins):
The first quality of good journalist is (to) find artful ways of drawing attention of the audience to what he or she has just written even if what he or she has written is utterly stupid and wrong. ……..The journalists dont care (or) worry about factuality. They simply want to promote themselves. I am a great journalist in pushing my book with every sentence (in it)……..” .
And then Karan Thapar pontificates at the concluding portion of the same video as below: (@ 48.07 mins):
“Yes, we are as a profession thoughtless about how we damage peoples’ reputation, and uncaring of the fact that we frequently do not have the proof or evidence of doing so. There is a sense of self righteousness that many journalists acquire. And they carry on to push it, and frankly that is wrong and unfair.”
Lets rest the case. Karan Thapar is a GREAT JOURNALIST, with all requisite qualities, for which he received all his Awards. And his pontification does not apply to him. Who cares…. because its an artful way of promoting oneself at the cost of truth by drawing attention to what he has written even if it is wrong. It is great journalism, stupid!