13 June, 2021

The Neutral Mantra

Shunning propaganda, Sun TV's independent-minded boss Kalanidhi Maran builds a viewer base

The Neutral Mantra

WHEN Kalanidhi Maran, son of Union industries minister Murasoli Maran and grandson of DMK supremo Muthuvel Karunanidhi, announced the launch of his private satellite channel in 1993, few were in doubt that it was a logical extension of the DMK's faith—"Medium is the Message." The name, Sun TV, too stood in a direct genealogy with the party's poll symbol, the Rising Sun.

But the 32-year-old Kalanidhi proved his detractors wrong. One of the first things he did was to establish the neutrality of his channel through Neru-K-Ner, a high-profile current affairs programme in which political personalities were invited for a face-to-face. As a matter of policy, Kalanidhi gave prominence to non-DMK leaders and DMK-bashing became a hallmark of the programme. DMK-baiters used the channel to espouse their politics and lent enormous credence to Sun and its promoter. Neru-K-Ner soon began to be recognised for its iconoclasm, irreverence and probity. "I have political beliefs," admits Kalanidhi. And they all reflect his loyalty to the...

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