Smriti as Info Boss

August 21 2017

They say that ever since Smriti Irani had been given the additional responsibility of running the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, she has been at it in clearing out old skeletons from the closets. They say also, that during the reign of Venkaiah Naidu as the minister, a small coterie had the run of the place. So much so that when the new serial programmes for the northeast channel, Arun Prabha, were granted, the deciding factor was political proximity rather than the quality of production. Irani is well aware of this and her actions reflect that. The latest is the upcoming International Film Festival of India in November in Goa. Shastri Bhawan sources coo that this is why Irani has shown the door to the 21-member screening committee, most of whom were Naidu’s political handmaids. Though that earlier committee had reviewed some 150 foreign films, sources say that Irani has set up her own committee of those she considers film industry veterans. They say also that she wants to hack the prize money for the festival winners. It is known that as much as Rs 40 lakh used to be the prize money for the winner of the Golden Peacock (best foreign film) segment. But apparently, Irani feels that instead of draining out such a lot of money on foreign film directors, it is better spent on Indian ones who make films on ‘socially relevant’ subjects. The ‘golden’ question, however, is, is the entrenched babudom in Shastri Bhawan ready to implement such ‘novel’ ideas?

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