Public hunger drives gossip train: Author-filmmaker Fahad Samar

New Delhi, Oct 1 : The media is often blamed for promoting crass and gossip-driven content through what is known as the tabloid culture, but filmmaker-turned-author Fahad Samar says "public hunger" is the real culprit and in a way has contributed to an unhealthy trend in the media industry.

"One shouldn't entirely blame the media for promoting the tabloid culture. The public is hungry for gossip and media provides tit-bits to satiate their hunger," Samar told IANS while he was in the capital to promote his debut novel "Scandal Point".

"I have mentioned in the novel how the public quickly moves from one gossip item to another. It is an unhealthy trend, but we possibly have to find a way to balance it," added Samar, who is a hugely popular columnist with a leading national daily.

Published by Harper Collins, Samar's debut novel is a social satire on Bollywood and high society. He says it isn't a racy or sleazy insight into glamorous lives, but observations of over three decades compressed into a novel.

"Apart from my main characters, media too is an important element of my novel. Some of the mainstream papers are entirely market-driven and and sell profitable news rather than serious topics," he said, adding international reality TV star Kim Kardashian's assets are unfortunately a "news item".

"It's a sad state, but the question is how to get rid of this inevitable trend," asked Samar, who is known for works like "Narmada: Power to the people" (2011) and "BPL Oye" (1994), as also "The Perfect Murder" (1988), on which he worked as third assistant director.

Bollywood celebrities have been been accused of many drug-related activities and quite naturally, it is one of the themes of his novel. Samar confesses that his familiarity with the people and the subject was the reason he chose to make it the integral thread of the plot.

"It is not just Bollywood that is into drugs. All sections of our society, be it doctors or lawyers...many people are taking drugs. I had recently heard somewhere that alcohol is passe and people are taking chemical substances," he said.

"Being under the scrutiny of public eye is one of the reasons they are in the news. Otherwise it isn't just Bollywood that is into such stuff," said Samar, a regular at page-three parties and a B-town insider.

Samar's characters are inspired by real people, but this wasn't a conscious effort, he said.

"I never wrote a character keeping a certain person in mind. There will be resemblances but that is obvious because I have been a part of the industry for many years," he contended.

"Not all industry people are into coke or debauchery. There are many I know, many millionaires who are involved in social work and doing a good job. But they are an unknown entity. I have tried to bring out the balance and equilibrium the industry has," he added.

Now, writing bug has caught up with Samar who has already planned a trilogy and is working on his next novel, "Flash Point".

"While the first one is a light take on the industry, this will be more dark. It will again deal with the same society but there will be a bit on fashion and photographers as well," he said.

--IANS (Posted on 01-10-2013)

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