Actors as journalists, Bollywood continues the trend

From Dilip Kumar’s fiery crusader-editor role in “Mashaal” to Amitabh Bachchan’s recent portrayal of a principled newspaper owner in “Rann”, actors down the ages have played journalists, good and bad. The trend continues with two forthcoming films, “Tere Bin Laden” and “Knock Out”.

“Tere Bin Laden”, a tongue-in-cheek comedy, tells the story of an ambitious young reporter, played by Pakistani singer-turned-actor Ali Zafar, who is desperate to migrate to the US to pursue the American dream.

His repeated attempts to immigrate are shot down by visa officials. But he is not ready to accept defeat and finally sees a ray of hope in an Osama Bin Laden look-alike. He then hatches a scheme to produce a fake Osama video and sell it to news channels as a breakthrough scoop.

It is Abhishek Sharma’s first film and is slated to release July 16.

In director Mani Shankar’s “Knock Out”, Kangana Ranaut will etch the role of a crime reporter in mini skirts and high heels. With her in the film are Sanjay Dutt, Irrfan Khan, Gulshan Grover and Sushant Singh.

“In ‘Knock Out’, I play a crime journalist. It’s a very beautiful character. I didn’t study or get inspired by any real life journalist or mediaperson for my character because the character is not inspired by anyone real. But the situations and the circumstances that she faces and how she handles them makes her character interesting,” Kangana said.

In the first look of the film unveiled recently, Kangana is seen in short skirts while reporting from the field.

When pointed out that women journalists rarely dress in minis and heels while reporting, the actress said: “Films needn’t mirror reality completely. The director and I had a chat on this issue and we decided a little bit of glamour would be fine for the screen.”

It was reported that when Shankar was looking for a bright, intense young actress to play a television journalist, Sanjay recommended Kangana’s name.

Ali Zafar and Kangana are the latest in an illustrious line of actors playing journalists on screen.

Dilip Kumar’s power-packed performance as an honest and crusading editor of an outspoken newspaper in the 1984 multi-starrer commercial drama “Mashaal” is still fresh in the mind.

Two years later, Shashi Kapoor wowed critics as a newspaper editor in the hard hitting political drama “New Delhi Times” directed by Romesh Sharma.

In 1987, Sridevi played the giddy reporter in “Mr. India”, while Shabana Azmi was the intense, bold journalist in “Main Azaad Hoon” (1989).

In 1991, Aamir Khan’s performance as a newspaper reporter in the romantic comedy “Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin” exuded simplicity and sweetness.

Dimple Kapadia played the fiery journalist fighting against odds in the 1994 hit “Krantiveer”. In the same year, Raveena Tandon’s portrayal of a courageous and helpful reporter in “Mohra” was appreciated.

In 2000, Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla gave audiences a glimpse of the rivalry between news channels as TV journalists in the satire “Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani”.

Preity Zinta was seen as a television journalist in “Lakshya” (2004).

Konkona Sen Sharma was an entertainment journalist in Madhur Bhandarkar’s award winning film “Page 3″ (2005).

The year 2008 saw a flurry of films with actors as mediapersons, including Soha Ali Khan in “Mumbai Meri Jaan”, Tusshar Kapoor in “C Kkompany”, Priyanka Chopra in “God Tussi Great Ho”, Zayed Khan in “Mission Istanbul” and Deepal Shaw in “A Wednesday”.

The most recent film centred on the media is Ram Gopal Varma’s “Rann” that focuses on the conflict between the conscience of journalists and the business of media. Riteish Deshmukh is the serious and intense journalist, while Amitabh Bachchan is a media baron.

“I played an investigative journalist in ‘Rann’ and there is a sting operation that I do. I’ve never done it before in my life. But it was good fun,” Riteish had said.

The recently released “Krantiveer 2″ sees debutante Jahan Bloch as a TV reporter

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