Dipped in Witriol
Gordon Sumner, aka Sting, the bassist and singer of the late 70’s and early 80’s rock band, The Police, has decided to set up a news outfit in India called Hi-Stung Inc. (HSI). It is reliably learnt that the rock star was surprised and driven to tears (not to be confused with the title of a track from The Police album Zenyatta Mondatta) when he saw a recording of the recent Cobra Post-CNN-IBN sting - It’s The Really Dirty Picture. In it producer Vashu Bhagnani (the man behind Hero No .1, Coolie No.1 and F.A.L.T.U), among others, was caught on hidden camera telling the reporter, posing as an investor, that the latter could put in Rs 10 crore in his film and pay only Rs 2 crore in white. The entire sting operation threw up the startling revelation that black money finances Bollywood films! And that the less paid by cheque the better.
“This is amazing stuff,” Sting said on C sharp rubbing his ears and eyes with delight. To quote a source close to the singer (that’s where sources are supposed to be, aren’t they): “Mr. Sumner’s jaw dropped and he suddenly played two riffs on his double bass and kicked a piano to convince himself that he was not dreaming this Dirty Picture sequence.”
Apparently, after that he immediately made up his mind --a state many find themselves in restaurants, when after a perusal of the menu one suddenly zeroes in on butter chicken to be served with marmalade on toast. Anyway, that apart, Sting went to his desk like a man on a mission and traced a 2009 report by Mackhanji Associates on diversifying into media in India. Titled The Thirst for the Sensational in TV & Print, the report detailed how spy cams will be increasingly used to generate news. To quote the report: “The days of stories with unnamed sources are numbered. In the future hidden cameras and mikes will be the norm rather than the exception. We see a great investment opportunity.”
Sting read the report and inside of an hour HSI was registered in the Cayman Islands. And Mackhanji was asked to find office space in suburban Mumbai. Last heard its chairman, the imposing Mr. M, was shuttling between Vile Parle and Malad wearing yellow boots to find suitable boys and girls as well as an address for the nascent organization. We at The Hoot learnt of what Mr M was up to and were tipped off about a confidential note sent by Sting to several media organizations on his new venture. It took only a Banarsi Paan to get a copy of it from Mr. M. We publish excerpts for the benefit of the journalist community:
“HSI will employ the latest technology to bring sharper pictures and better sound quality. Our staff will be trained by the CIA to make them top of the rung operatives. Here is what we have on offer in our unique mind over doesn’t matter scheme. So take your pick:
The Willing Sting: In this our reporters reach out to families who are willing to be filmed having a fight over something trivial for a financial compensation. In a typical story the father, mother and child have a fight over who should drink cola and who the soda. They pretend to come to blows and finally a compromise is reached after the reporter glugs the cola and no one wants the carbonated water. This will be a real life drama which will have better TRP ratings than most soaps. As an added attraction, sociologists and psychologists who appear on shows ranging from the God particle to politician impractical will provide the gyan to give an intellectual twist.
The Stolen Sting: Here our operatives move around in malls disguised as technical staff. At the end of the day they steal the footage from the CCTVs for channels to telecast it as exclusives. According to Mackhanji’s study, people like to see others window shop, eat burgers, drink coffee and shoplift. It will be drudgery in real life transferred to the idiot box.
The Bribe Sting: Juice money is offered to officials/ politicians. “Please take this money, my job is at stake” is the plea of the stinger. The man on the other side of the spy cam may wonder why the cash is on offer. He is told that he has to just say a few words like “corrupt, black money, indefensible, etc etc.” Excerpts from earlier video-audio recordings (like the so-called Amar Singh tapes) will be used to give new meaning, dimension and perspective.
The Stinger Missile: This is the mother of all stings in which those who wield the spy cam and journalists are caught on camera indulging in bizarre activities like discussing GDP growth with bulls and bears and speeding their cars while poking fun at street lamps that blink. Other misdemeanors include stealing stories from juniors.
The Brag Sting: To give a different perspective, journalists and politicians who claim they know Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and L.K. Advani are featured here. The truth as it plays out will tell the true story.
The Filmy Sting: Actors will be made to pretend to hate or love each other as the situation demands before each film’s release. The only difference is that they will be on camera cooing or abusing. This will be more authentic than some PR sod planting gossip.
The Sting Theory of Opportunity: So who can join the new outfit? Well, those who can play the part in each of the slots and who are committed to the dictum that the camera alone can tell the truth. Also, those who believe there is a sting in their tale as much as they are convinced that one can judge a man by his choice of dark glasses.
Sting and waiting to Sting…”
P.S.: For further queries log on to Stingsinge.com or call at 10000. If there is no response try again. Remember the story of Robert the Bruce, the legendary King of the Scots? He learnt a lesson or two in perseverance and not giving up while seeking refuge from his enemies in a cave. The future king saw a spider trying to weave its web. Each time it tried it fell but was at it again till it succeeded. Well, you could be our Spiderman!