Video

MORALITY TV AND THE LOVING JEHAD

Paromita Vohra

2007, 30:20 minutes, colour, Hindi with English subtitles

TAPECODE 659.09

In the winter of 2005 Indians switched on their TV sets to watch yet another “breaking news” story, but one which shocked them. In a town called Meerut, police officers, mostly women, swooped down on lovers in a park and began to beat them up. Along with them they took photographers and news cameramen with the promise of an exclusive sting operation.

What is the story of this news story? The film looks outside the frames that weave the frenetic tapestry of Breaking News on India’s news channels to uncover a town’s complex dynamics – the fear of love, the constant scrutiny and control of women’s mobility and sexuality, a history of communal violence, caste brutalization and feudalism. Assuming the tone of pulp fiction and tabloid features it examines the legacy of this kind of story telling, from the relishing accounts of true crime magazines like Manohar Kahaniyan to the double morality of pulp detective fiction to the tabloid news on Indian TV, to tell a thrilling but disturbing tale of it’s own.

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