Faridoon Shahryar's Blog

Monday, August 27, 2012

"SRK, Aamir, Salman Ke Saath Nawazuddin...": Faridoon Shahryar

A Seminar was organised at Mumbai Press Club on August 25, 2012. The topic of the seminar was: Bollywood Journalism or PR Journalism? Senior journalist and a respected critic Mr Ajay Brahmataj (Dainik Jagran), Iqbal Parvez (NDTV India) and I were the speakers. Ajay ji made some wonderful points about the frivolous manner in which film journalism is treated even though it has a wide reach and millions of people dedicatedly follow it. Iqbal shared his experiences and point of view. I feel strongly about the topic of the seminar and put forth my point of view as well. Celeste, I know you will ask for Hindi subtitles. Well, I have referred to you as 'the friend from Italy'. If you have any queries regarding portions that you haven't been able to understand, well, feel free to correspond and I shall make things as clear as possible.


  1. Bhai Sahab,

    1. Regarding the clip from approx. 6:54 to 7:28, I have often felt that you are, at times, too deferential to bigger names including addressing them as "Sir" or "Madam". It makes sense if you were fresh out of J-School to use those words but for someone of your stature and experience, you could surely address them as "Mr Bachchan" or "Ms. Azmi" or "Mr. Bhatt" or even the cliched "-ji" after their respective first name is acceptable. However, when you use "Sir" or "Madam", it is not commensurate for a professional of your experience even if you were to interview a legend like a Mr. Dilip Kumar.

    2. To be very honest, I wish you would be a little more confident when talking (not so much in Hindi/Urdu but whenever you speak in English) with some of these folks. If you could speak a little louder and a little slower (in English), you would be much more coherent. I am splitting hairs when offering some constructive feedback but I am doing so because I feel there is something genuine about you as a journalist and more importantly, as a human. If you could you consult someone like a Dolly Thakore or a Sabira Merchant or a Harish Bhimani not to change your accent or improve your vocabulary but to sharpen your diction/delivery/enunciation, you would be a better interviewer. It will give viewers like me an impression that you are your own man and not "kissing ***e", as Mr. Bhatt quipped. Fans like me are on your side and it disappoints when you unwittingly give out vibes of being too soft with some of your guests, esp. those who are much older and/or very "senior", experience-wise. It may be your background of 'tehzeeb' from an Urdu household but you need to give an impression of interviewing an equal and not some titan. Let us fans do that idolizing from a distance of our favorite personalities. We don't want our journalists to come out looking as fans.

    Main aapke bhai saman hoon. Main aapki ninda nahi kar raha hoon balki aapko madad karne ki koshish kar raha hoon. Aapke kareeb ke logon se mere observations ko share kijiye janab aur phir determine kijiye ki meri baaton mein kuch dam hain ki nahi ya main bahut hi nazooki/bariki se aapko critique kar raha hoon aur aapke interviewing skills mein fine-tuning ki zaroorat nahi hain. All the best.


  2. This is an interesting comment to be sure. I am not an expert in such matters as public speaking is the #1 fear people have. Although the personality has alot to do with anything, we fine tune in the process as we go along. The technical aspects follow and sometimes fail to deliver what has been put out...but we deal with that as it comes. Being comfortable in ones own skin offers all a reasonable reflection in the final mix. Keep doing what you are doing..one day at a time..

  3. Manto sahab, your criticism is welcome but you are passing judgements on certain matters which are completely off track

    1) I find nothing wrong in calling Mr Bachchan as Mr Bachchan. I have never called anyone as 'Madam' but yes if i interview Asha ji or Lata ji i will be polite. Watch my interviews with Asha ji where I have asked her about the rivalry with Lata ji. I am courteous but still asking a question that may not go down well with Asha ji. I call Mr Ram Gopal Varma as Mr Varma. Watch any of my interviews with Mr Varma and see how blunt I am in asking questions and yet I remain courteous while taking his name. I don't believe in being 'Badtameez' and i will never be. There's a large body of my work and one can see how I have conducted myself. On many an occasion, the celebrities behave in a certain manner and there's no point in confronting them. Also, I shall surely be courteous to Mr Dilip Kumar whenever I interview him.

    2) Yes, I do tend to speak a bit fast. I have been constantly working on it. I have improved a lot from where I started. There are many interviews where my english flows nicely but yes there are times when one is uncomfortable while interviewing and there are hiccups in speaking. I shall surely keep working on it.

    I don't agree with Bhatt sahab's statement. Watch my interviews with him and how i've bluntly asked him about the kind of films he is making currently. And yes i have always been polite with him and i shall continue to do so.

    I know you mean well. And thanks for taking time in commenting but I would have appreciated if you'd have talked about the content of my speech too. Cheers.

    Thanks Margaret. Always good to hear from you.

  4. Celeste isn't the only one who would love some english translation Faridoon. I would love some as well if you ever have the time. I can understand some Hindi but I couldn't hear a lot of what was being said clearly because of volume so I couldn't even pick out bits and pieces. By the way, I actually have always respected and liked the fact that you refer to elders in the business by sir or madam and are always so respectful. That is part of what sets you apart from others when you interview. Almost nothing makes me more angry in an interview than to see the one doing the interviewing come off as arrogant or confrontational. I think you do very well. I do know there is always room for improvement and I believe that over the years that I have watched your interviews, you have continued to improve with each one. Keep up the great work! All the best!

  5. *Portions*? Ha ha ha!!! Dear Mr. Faridoon, *all* your speech is a mystery for me: I don't speak Hindi, sigh :(
    (I asked Mr. Aamir Khan to give me 'ru-ba-ru' lessons, but he politely refused. Don't know why)
    BACI from your 'friend from Italy' :))

  6. Hi Faridoon:
    I think the content of your speech was relevant in context. Your style is conversational and you come across as objective (across the folks you interview). I completely agree with you, you do not have to be a "badtameez" when dealing with senior members of the Industry (in fact even the junior ones). I also like that you thoroughly research before each interview, it comes across.

    Enjoy http://ow.ly/did4x


    1. I understand your woes Paula and Celeste :) sorry, it's too long for me to translate....

      Thanks a lot Anonymous