There are no filters to sift the well informed opinion: Priyanka Sinha
Media is changing rapidly in ways that we could not have imagined a few years ago. What I find appealing about digital media is that it allows you to combine the best of traditional media — text, audio as well as video — all on the same platform. And that in many ways is very empowering for influencers/ content creators
Journalist and author Priyanka Sinha Jha talks about her book Supertraits of Superstars, upcoming projects and current state of journalism
A journalist, an author and a creative producer of a webseries M Bole Toh, Priyanka Sinha Jha wears several hats. Starting out her career with a Pune-based magazine, she describes her journey as spectacular. From an article about the lives of bar girls to filmmakers who make movies on them or actors who play these roles, connecting the dots has been an incredible experience for her.
She is also famously known for her celebrity interviews. In 2014, she decided to share the struggles and journeys of 11 Bollywood stars in her book Supertraits of Superstars, which features stories of Katrina Kaif, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Vidya Balan, Karan Johar and several others.
Jha will be visiting Gyaan Adab in the city on July 28 to talk about her celebrity chronicles and her experiences. Here’s chatting her up:
What is the inspiration behind Supertraits... and how did you shortlist the stars?
Supertraits... is actually a self-help, motivational book using the example of Bollywood celebrities who turned their lives around by getting certain things right. There is a standout quality or supertrait to each of them which I have discussed in detail in the book. For example, discipline in the case of Amitabh Bachchan, or the strife for perfection in Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan’s unmatched passion for his work, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s gracious conduct under all circumstances and so on.
How was your experience of meeting the celebs and can you cite any memorable incident that has stayed close to your heart?
Quite a few of the memorable incidents are mentioned in the book. But one that I would share with you which is not in the book is when I had written a column about the uneasy relationship between the media and celebrities and how, sometimes sweeping commentaries are made against celebrities without evidence to support it. Amitabh Bachchan, an avid blogger, had then actually mentioned it in his blog and shared the column. I found it remarkable that he took the trouble and time out from his frenetic schedule to applaud something that he believes in strongly.
You have worked both in print media and produced webseries M Bole Toh. Which medium appeals to you more?
Media is changing rapidly in ways that we could not have imagined a few years ago. What I find appealing about digital media is that it allows you to combine the best of traditional media — text, audio as well as video — all on the same platform. And that in many ways is very empowering for influencers/ content creators.
People these days feel that journalism is all about numbers and hits. Being a journalist yourself, do you think somewhere down the line, we are trying to feed people an exaggerated truth in order to stay in the rat race?
The media business, like any other business venture, is allowing itself to be dictated by the rules of demand and supply.
In the current day and age when the future of journalism is being questioned, what keeps you going?
Well, for starters, when I joined the journalistic workforce, it was for the pleasure of being able to share and shape opinions at different levels and also to bring forward the myriad realities that co-exist whether it is Bollywood economics, lives of film stars, artists, businessmen, sports men or writers. It’s what excites me and keeps me going against all odds.
How can media tackle the rising debate of intolerance in our country?
With the rise of social media, anybody with an opinion can voice it. There are no filters to sift the well informed opinion from the ill-informed ones. Traditional media meanwhile has lost ground due to several factors like paid news and the intolerance debate is likely to continue unless there are certain guidelines put in place to regulate the debates and discussions or we run the risk of creating too much noise and very little positive change.
Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
I have ideas for two business-based books that are in the pipeline. Both are based around the business side of Bollywood and the people who have set up and run these.
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Priyanka Sinha Jha, author of Supertraits
of Superstars, will be sharing her celebrity chronicles at Gyaan Adab, Kalyani Nagar, on July 28 at 7 pm.