While the West wrung its hands over the three-day power outage in many parts of India, the biggest impact on the sub-continent’s media and entertainment biz was in the shape of amped up news coverage.
India has so many blackouts that most broadcasters and exhibs have their own diesel-fueled generators, which switch on automatically during blackouts, while the major filmmaking centers of Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad were unaffected by the outage.
In Kolkata, the eastern filmmaking hub, the effect was minimal because most of the city is powered by a private company grid, not the government’s national grid.
So while there were massive traffic jams due to signal failures and some train stoppages, life went on as usual for those inside a cinema.
Asian Age film reporter Suparna Sharma was at a screening of Faouzi Bensaidi’s “Death for Sale,” playing in the Osian’s-Cinefan Festival in New Delhi, during the outage. Lack of electricity was not a problem but she tweeted about the “unbearable print.”
Tanuj Garg, chief exec of Balaji Motion Pictures, producer of box office hit “Kya super cool hain hum” (How Super Cool Are We) tweeted: “Thank god I live in Mumbai. I’m unaffected by the power outage in the North.”
Apart from the human-interest stories generated by miners stuck in an underground elevator, there was blanket coverage of the irony of a new power minister, Veerappa Moily, being appointed on the day of the outage.
It’s worth noting that some 30% of India’s 1.2 billion population have little or no access to electricity anyway.
A tweet from Arijit Das, a resident of the far eastern state of Manipur, that borders Myanmar, sums it up best: “I’ve been asked to check if Manipur’s power situation is normal. Yes, at one hour of electricity every day, it’s getting its normal quota.”