“Naradan” is a film about a journalist whose journalistic intentions take a back seat, as he strives for commercial recognition. Chandraprakash is desperate to be on top of the television journalism world, and for that, he gives in to the idea of selling what sells, even if that has little truth in it. He wanted the audience to binge on drama and scandal as he ruthlessly demeaned panel members, judging them for their characters and private lifestyles. “Naradan” is the culmination of all the roaring 9 PM debate anchors we know and one in particular who gave birth to such an abominable format in Indian broadcast journalism.
‘Naradan’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
Chandraprakash was the face of the most popular news channel, News TV. He was responsible for hosting debates, and he did so by following a code of ethics. He used to routinely spend his after-work hours at the press club with fellow journalists. Chandraprakash was a man of few words. He was simply bothered with his show alone, and nothing else mattered to him. At the press club, journalists discussed how his chances of becoming the chief editor of the channel were high. But things took a turn when a young journalist at a competitive channel interviewed a Maoist and garnered attention. His boss busted with anger, knowing how that interview was affecting their viewership. He wanted Chandraprakash to search for a piece of news that would help them bring the attention back to their channel. The investors were breathing on their shoulders for results, and Chandraprakash surely felt it. But instead of taking the challenge, he decided to take a few days off due to the immense pressure. His leave was granted as well.
He went to his hometown during this time. His father wanted him to go back to his job. He was paid a decent salary, so he advised his son to swallow his ego and continue with his work. But the world was not waiting for his son’s change of heart. When Chandraprakash turned on the television, he watched Pradeep, whose interview rattled his world, host the debate show. The channel bought the journalist and replaced him with Chandraprakash. The next day, he went in determined to resign from his job, but his boss made him believe that he was still relevant to the channel and would continue to be its face. With the opportunity to interview the Chief Minister, he assumed that he was not yet forgotten. But as he handed the interview questions to his boss, they were given to Pradeep to host. He knew he was losing his ground.
At his lowest, he was contacted by Babuji.
Babuji was a businessman who was notorious for owning illegal quarries. He was a guest at one of Chandraprakash’s debates, where he received endless criticism. The Chief Minister too spoke against it, advising the District Collector to take action against the owners of illegal quarries. Babuji held a meeting with other businessmen who were mostly based abroad. Chandraprakash attended the meeting. The investors believed that considering the potential advertising revenue that can be generated, forming a new news channel could be beneficial. They hoped for Chandraprakash to be a part of their new venture. Backed by the rich and powerful, Chandraprakash changed himself completely. His lifestyle had improved, and so did his confidence in himself. He was set to make it big as no one else had dared before, and to make that a reality, he was ready to do whatever it took. The new channel, Narada News, was launched, and it started with a sting operation questioning the character of the Chief Minister. On its first day, it grabbed eyeballs, and Chandraprakash felt indomitable.
A New Face And His Questionable Ways
Chandraprakash knew that people are always interested in knowing what happens behind closed doors, and that is what he was set to deliver. While briefing his recruits, he reminded them of the God-sage “Narada,” who was known for being wise and mischievous. Chandraprakash spoke of him as the first propagator of news. The journalists at Narada News were given the responsibility of being the “pracharaks.” Journalists have the power of deciding what the people should know, and that is what they hoped to use to their benefit. He wanted to focus on bet journalism, where allegations come first, and explanations follow. He wanted to use emotions as emotions are more marketable than facts. He showed the recruits a list of journalists who had lost their lives in their jobs, and he remarked that he did not want the courage of those old-school journalists but rather the determination to be the number one channel. He was creating a propaganda machine; the focus was on profits and nothing more.
Chandraprakash had always been self-centered. He merely did not have the right outlet for it. He was never a passionate journalist, which was why he was never really a part of any conversation at the press club but rather a spectator. He knew how the journalists around him were driven by their passion, but he at times felt out of place. While creating Narada News, he had a purpose, and that was to be the number one channel and ruin his previous employer. This was his driving force, and that resulted in him evolving from Chandraprakash to CP. A modern man who believed in traditional ways. Who accused women of being immoral if they had a boyfriend. He knew this could be used for the benefit of his channels, and conservatives fed on it and took to the road to protect Indian culture.
Certain moments are complete replications of scenes we have witnessed in the real world. A journalist’s car chasing the car of someone significant to show glimpses of them after being accused, a rush that was previously unknown to broadcast journalism. What was truly unnerving was when a journalist spoke to the woman news reporter covering the Chief Minister scandal; she had not been able to use the washroom once in the entire day. The supervisor dismissed her concern, saying that is what field reporting is supposed to be. As a woman risks her body for news, Chandraprakash basks in the glory of his power. If the Chief Minister had any scope to share his opinion, he would be charged with a rape case. He was forced to resign as the people of the state demanded it.
‘Naradan’ Ending Explained: What Led To The Fall Of Chandraprakash?
Mudiyan, a rapper who mostly spoke for the working class, recognized CP in the elevator of a hotel. He questioned CP about his yellow journalism. He uploaded this video to his YouTube channel, and it became quite popular. CP was facing backlash from the youth of the state; they could no longer tolerate such moral policing. To ruin Mudiyan’s reputation, the Narcotics Bureau raided his apartment and retrieved drugs. He was arrested. Shakira Muhammad was Mudiyan’s neighbor and a lawyer. She took his case. Shakira fought cases for those who were unable to pay the hefty lawyer’s fees. She was one of the founders of the Your Lawyer Comrade movement. She was able to help Mudiyan receive his bail grant, but CP was not happy about it. He desperately wanted to publicly shame Mudiyan as he believed allowing such criticism would lead to more people raising their voices. He planned to host a debate at a school near Mudiyan’s place. His face had the words “Drag Mafia” written across it for the show’s promotion. He received a gag order from the Munsif Court for it. His lawyers advised him to either postpone the show or remove Mudiyan’s mugshot, but he was not convinced.
CP’s lawyer attempted to revoke the gag order on the grounds of the right to freedom of press. But the judge decided to hear it in detail, as requested by Shakira. The hearing was on the next day, and CP attended it. The senior counsel who fought for CP discussed the importance of freedom of expression and how such gag orders would curb it. Meanwhile, Shakira focused on the cable TV network rules of 1994, which provide the rules and regulations that are to be followed by the media, where it clearly states that news containing half-truths and innuendo should be avoided. What completely shocked CP and his lawyer was when Shakira mentioned a prior complaint against CP. The complaint was against CP and others for allegedly conspiring to abuse a girl. While the judge wanted to hear the case in further detail the next day, CP wanted it to be continued that day itself as he would be traveling to Dubai the next day. The judge granted the request. Though something interesting happened in between, since the Judicial Magistrate of the High Court was on medical leave, Judge Chothi had the additional charge of the Judicial Magistrate, providing him with the authority to deal with the complicated case of CP.
The victim had sent the police a blank paper as a complaint. It was purposefully done to not allow the CP to threaten her further and to also be able to say that she had indeed filed a complaint at court. Shakira brought in the victim. She used to work at Narada News, and she was briefed by CP to conduct the sting operation on the Chief Minister. Later, CP threatened her with her nude video, which was secretly shot with hidden cameras placed by his men. She was blackmailed into writing an official rape charge against the Chief Minister, which was used to keep him silent. The cameraman testified against him as well. He even added that he believed CP was responsible for the accident of Pradeep from the rival channel. The judge asked the police to arrest CP since he had plans to leave the country the very next day.
There are various aspects that “Naradan” covers skillfully. Be it the dominance of caste, particularly illustrated in the scene where the senior counsel refuses to request the judge because he was a Menon (upper caste), whereas the judge belonged to a lower caste. The film highlights the power bestowed upon journalists, where if they instigate the viewers, it can lead to riots, and yet disruption is what some aim to achieve. “Naradan” is a must-watch for those who are tired of the newsroom hooliganism that has become popular in this day and age.
“Naradan” is a 2022 Indian Drama Thriller film directed by Aashiq Abu.