CNBC aired its documentary “India Rising – The New Empire” by Erin Burnett on Sunday, June 22 at 10pm. This Erin Burnett documentary is as Good as the PBS documentary is Bad & Ugly.
As an aside, watching the PBS documentary made us realize that CNBC is indeed a special network. It covers financial markets which impose a strict discipline on opinion. Networks like PBS, CNN, Fox, MSNBC and others deal in non-rigorous areas where no opinion is ever wrong and stridency of views is prized as network combat. Financial markets impose rigor. You are right if the markets show you are right and wrong otherwise. This forces CNBC’s on-air people to be more honest than their peers at other non-financial networks. The PBS documentary demonstrates why America needs a network like CNBC and men like Larry Kudlow, Joe Kernan with a megaphone for free and open markets.
CNBC’s Erin Burnett is a special anchor and reporter. She tries to look for the insight (or “ras” in this blog’s context) hidden beneath layers of information. You see her pursuit of such insight in her India documentary. Unlike other American anchors who visited India, Erin made it a point to bring her business journalism to areas like Cricket and Bollywood that show case today’s India and that have also become huge business enterprises.
Her excitement at what she saw and her exuberance comes across in the documentary. She had a great time doing the segments and that made it terrific TV.
It is the best India documentary on American TV that I have seen.
Watch the segments of this documentary by visiting the page: www.cnbc.com/id/24618655
This documentary is a more elaborate version of Erin’s one hour special India coverage on her regular show on May 16. (See our article posted on May 16).
This documentary had three new segments that the earlier special did not have.
- The first was a segment on Caterpillar and its road building activities in India. This was a purely business story that shows the extent of the infrastructure build up in India.
- The second was on Bollywood and featured clips from “Chak De India” and “Om Shanti Om”. The highlight of this segment was an interview with Tisca Chopra, the lovely and talented actress who played the role of the mother of Ishaan Awasthi in the film “Taare Zameen Par”, a path breaking film on Dyslexia in children. (A must watch film in every aspect -Read the review of this film and its message at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/03/AR2008060303201.html)
- Ms. Chopra was simply superb in the interview. She spoke passionately about the joie de vivre of Indians and how that makes Bollywood unique. She said at the end ” If you look at the future of Bollywood, it is pretty much representative of the future of India”. This interview is a must watch.
- The third new segment is frankly, a terrible one. Erin does a classically trite segment on the caste system and, as she puts it. the secondary status of women in India. We do not mind segments critical of India. In fact, we welcome such coverage. The number of things wrong in India is large and the problems are serious in nature. But, Ms. Burnett’s trademark insight and ability to focus on the subtle nuances of a story are totally absent in this segment. She could have done a much better job had she taken the effort to do a serious piece. Instead, she was intellectually lazy and let Mr. Luce go on with trite generalizations.
- Normally, we would have been far more critical of Ms. Burnett for this segment, but after watching the bad and the ugly PBS Special, we are going to let this one go.
The song (in English) that represents the exuberance or the “Dhoom” of today’s India says:
Dhoom again & see your wildest dreams slowly come alive,
Dhoom again, we got to break the rules and party all the time,
Dhoom again, we got to steal the show, you know that ain’t no crime,
So steal all you that can, the magic you began, let’s shout, breakout,
Come on, once again, let’s hear it Dhoom Machale!
Once more! Come on you people! Dhoom Machale Dhoom
It is clear to us that Erin Burnett did experience the “Dhoom” of India and her documentary shows it. Do watch this documentary.
(A You Tube user’s video remix of the Dhoom 2 song)
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