The 50-something president of NDTV, Prannoy Roy, is not only
his competitors' envy and the idol of millions of Indian youngsters
aspiring to make it as TV journalists and news presenters in an
industry that is slowly throwing up newer opportunities, but also
a heart-throb of sorts. His female fan following is said to be legion
as the man sporting a salt-n-pepper beard still retains his handsome
looks even as his charm off-screen is infectious.
But Roy remains elusive to the prying media and shy of the limelight,
unlike some of his counterparts in the industry. His oft-repeated
defence being `let my work speak for me and the organisation' or
`when the time comes, I'll speak to you.'
But in recent times, Roy has shed some of his inhibitions and
made a few public appearances - one of the rare occasions being
Indiantelevision's Indian Telly Awards in November 2002, where he
was bestowed with the Lifetime Achievement honour.
Repeated requests for interviews have been politely turned down
by Roy, who is now poised to convert his TV software company into
a broadcasting company. A trained economist, Roy dabbled in psephology
before hitting the big time in Indian television towards the latter
half of the last decade when the country's TV viewing choice was
more or less limited to Doordarshan.
If New Delhi Television today claims in promos and audiovisuals
that `if it's news, it must be NDTV' (as an A/V did during a press
conference today to announce a distribution tie-up for NDTV's two
proposed news channels with One Alliance), it is not much off the
Through its 15 year history, NDTV has striven to better its quality
and the technology used. From the revolutionary The World This Week
(nominated one of India's five best TV programmes since Independence)
on Doordarshan to the first privately produced nightly news bulletins
on DD, The News Tonight, NDTV has always been in the forefront,
setting industry standards. No wonder then, that TV personality
Vinod Dua, who has worked closely with Roy during his earlier days,
feels that NDTV is a true "blue chip TV company."
Though, some critics also maintain that a large portion of the success
of Roy and NDTV should also be reserved for influential persons
in the government and elsewhere who have, in times of need, given
that necessary push, the lack of which has sounded the death knell
for many an organization in an increasingly competitive world. Still,
there is no denying the fact that Roy and his colleagues run one
of India's best news and current affairs outfit.
Today, as NDTV stands almost at the fag end of its five-year old
- at times tumultuous - association with the Rupert Murdoch-controlled
Star (NDTV was contracted for producing content for Star News channel),
Roy remains as enigmatic as before.
In this piece, indiantelevision has attempted to collate the replies
to various questions that Roy fielded from the media, including
us, during a press conference and on the sidelines. The piece also
gives some insight into the mind of a person who is gracious when
faced with awkward questions (`how would you describe the association
with Star now that you two are parting?'), alive to competition
and ready to write another chapter in the history of Indian television.
For reasons of sensitivity and to avoid confusion, the questions
have not been attributed to the journalists from various organizations.