A searing chronicle of New Delhi-based news channel NDTV in full-blown
crisis as its trailblazing leader Ravish Kumar attempts to steer it through a media
landscape ravaged by rising jingoism and sensationalism, with nothing less at stake
than genuine democracy.
In December 2022, Ravish Kumar, veteran Indian broadcast journalist of the Delhi based newsroom NDTV, resigned after the channel was taken over by India’s largest conglomerate, the Adani group. However, for more than a decade before that, Kumar steered NDTV through a media landscape ravaged by rising jingoism, sensationalism, and ratings myopia. A blazer of a diminishing trail of truth, and a calm beacon of justice for his newsroom colleagues, Kumar is depicted as a worthy hero in this documentary that sears, stuns, and sobers.
Following NDTV in accelerating crisis mode in between two monumental national elections, alongside the global rise of fascism, Vinay Shukla (An Insignificant Man, IFFLA 2018) excels in stitching various employees’ vantage points with his incredible access to the newsroom. Presenting the vicissitudes almost like a live newsfeed, with little respite except for moments revealing Kumar’s own self doubt and vulnerability, Shukla captures Kumar absorbing death threats and battling fake news, in a thriller style that makes the audience feel like investigators caught up in jarring televisual flow. At stake is nothing less than genuine democracy, equity and plurality, especially as we head into 2024 which will see two more watershed elections, in India and the US.
NPR journalist and author Aarti Shahani will moderate the Q&A with Shukla following the screening.