Mumbai, August 22 2023: Actor Rana Daggubati recently gave two interviews, back to back, to two television channels in the Title Waves bookstore. Unwittingly, he also provided journalism students from St Pauls Institute of Communication Education with clear lessons on what makes a good interview and the opposite.
The interviews were with CNN News 18 programme Showsha and its sister, general news channel World Is One News (WION). Daggubati was to talk about several of his recent projects, with the focus upon the comics giant Amar Chitra Katha in which he has recently invested and where he is a new director on the Board.
The location for the interview, the iconic boutique bookshop of the suburbs, was ideal, Rana Daggubati stated, especially in light of Amar Chitra Katha’s historic distinction as the first Indian comic book publisher to exhibit in Comic Con. He talked also about the debut of the concept teaser for “Hiranyakashyap: The Demon King has Arrived,” which has been produced in partnership with Amar Chitra Katha and Rana Daggubati’s own production company Spirit Media.
It was interesting for us as journalism students to watch the channels handle their interviews with the same subject, and also to see how Dagubatti responded to the interviewers.
The first interview conducted by Nishad Neelambaran of News 18 Showsha was pretty much in the classic style. It was obvious that research had been done and that ample time was provided for possible complementary or follow-up questions.
Neelambaram highlighted Daggubati’s membership on the Amar Chitra Katha Board since 2019, their enduring partnerships, his development as an actor, and his project preferences.
Through the interview, Daggubati was revealed as a canny business partner and lifelong learner. It also gave him a chance to talk at some length about what it was like to share the stage with renowned actor Kamal Hasan at Comic-Con.
Preeti Vyas, the current CEO of Amar Chitra Katha, joined the other interview with WION. Comparisons might be odious, but the differences were stark enough to make us see why the straight Q and A style is often counterproductive.
Disha Shah, the interviewer kept most of the questions close-ended, requiring short answers and as soon as these ended, it was on to the next one. There was factual information but little beyond this and in the end, the boring quotient was quite high. In fact, the whole experience brought home to us the importance of knowing how to interview and also how to contextualize. Moreover, the setup was prioritized over the content, I felt. For some reason, each participant in the interview was given a pile of books to hold on the lap, and this resulted in awkward body language without the presence of the books themselves ever being explained.
For fans of Amar Chitra Katha, Ms Vyas declared that the comics are now available as apps which are doing quite well already, since the average screen time of all the viewers is 21 minutes. Both Vyas and Daggubati were certain that the effect of books in general, and this particular illustrated comic in fact, was not in any danger of dying out, given its early success.
Even more so since Amar Chitra Katha’s historic debut at the Comic-Con in San Diego, California, the first Indian comic book to be displayed here ever.
- One man, two interviews and what a difference in style - September 6, 2023