The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Blessed are the stung, on big screen & small

Mumbai, March 31: A little sting operation is just what the doctor ordered ' and no wonder Cyrus Broacha is complaining that he is left out.

The MTV VJ has demanded that sting operators swoop down on him, as he feels that his talents are not being recognised otherwise. But if he is now watching the way actor Shakti Kapoor's limp career has recovered after India TV claimed him as the first 'victim' of their secret camera exposing casting couches, Broacha should be feeling even more depressed.

Not Kapoor alone. India TV, a channel not many people had ever switched to before March 13, when the first 'expose' was telecast, is also laughing its way to the TRPs.

Kapoor, the screen villain whose name had almost disappeared from film credits, at least from big budget A-grade movies, is being flooded with offers from the most high profile banners following the sting. He is overwhelmed and 'very happy', he says.

'I had seven to eight films before the incident, but now I have no dates,' he says. 'I am working on 15 to 16 films at least. Everyday someone calls up. It's the industry trying to sympathise with me for the way in which I was victimised,' he adds.

He is acting in four of producer Sudhakar Bokade's films, one of which he signed after the sting and in two films directed by Partho Ghosh, both of which, too, he signed after the telecast.

But the brightest feather in his cap is Mahesh Bhatt's film Show Business. 'I was attending the muhurat of my film Chand Ke Us Paar Chalo, where Bhatt sahib announced his film. There the situation is reversed and I play the undercover reporter.'

He is also in two of director Priyadarshan's films and two of producer Sunil Darshan's projects. 'Deepak Sivdasani has also signed me. Producers Sanjay Gupta and Nitin Manmohan also called me to say that they are by my side,' adds Kapoor.

Kapoor is also proud of BBC approaching him to make a documentary following the 'repercussions of the sting operation'. 'They called me up from London and faxed me about a documentary they wanted to make on me following the sting operation,' he says and reads from the faxed sheet.

'The short will be half-an-hour to 45 minutes long and will be for two of their channels, BBC2 and BBC World,' he says.

'But I can only start shooting for them at the end of this month, as suddenly I have no dates,' he says, chuckling.

India TV, the channel that 'exposed' Kapoor and has been dragged to court by television host Aman Verma, whom it targeted after Kapoor, should be no less happy.

In the week that they telecast the exposes ' the Verma episode was aired on March 17 ' around 1.5 million new viewers visited India TV, according to TAM, the television measurement agency. That week, the reach of the channel was 9.9 million viewers. The channel market share also grew to 11.5 per cent during the week from 6.7 per cent in the previous week.

On March 13, with the Kapoor episode, the channel share of India TV went up to 22.4 per cent from 7.5 per cent on the previous Sunday. Market leader Aaj Tak's share was affected most as it dipped to 20.2 per cent on March 13 from 30.1 per cent on March 6.

Though Indian Idol host Verma was not available for comment, as he was busy shooting, he has reportedly been flooded, too, with offers, and from the big screen. He is said to have been signed by Darshan, too, and has reportedly said the sting was 'a blessing in disguise'.

With such enemies, who needs friends' No wonder Broacha is feeling down and out.

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