Coup de maître – a masterstroke, a stroke of genius, a masterful move that produces success
– as defined by the Cambridge English Dictionary.
Going by the above definition, Discovery Channel has definitely pulled off the content coup of the year – the appearance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Man vs. Wild, the iconic survival show, helmed by celebrity host, Bear Grylls. The exclusive episode featuring the PM is slated to air tonight at 9 pm, and will be shown simultaneously on all Discovery channels in India, including Discovery Channel, Discovery HD World, Animal Planet, Animal Planet HD World, TLC, TLC HD World, JEET Prime, JEET Prime HD, Discovery Science, Discovery Turbo, Discovery Kids and DTamil, as also on the website of Discovery, that is discoverychannel.co.in.
Man vs. Wild is Discovery’s flagship property, one of its most popular shows, and is watched by millions of people around the world. And its status in India has gone through the roof the minute it was announced that the Indian Prime Minister will be appearing on the exclusive episode of the show.
A stroke of genius by the channel? Definitely, considering the passions whipped up by the Indian PM. His admirers love him with blind devotion, bordering on the maniacal; while his detractors hate his guts with a vengeance. Nevertheless, both sides know that the man simply can’t be ignored. And so, the exclusive Man vs. Wild episode featuring the PM is guaranteed to garner eyeballs by the bazillions. What more can the channel, any channel for that matter, hope for? The appearance of the PM on one of its most popular shows is like manna from heaven for the popularity of the channel.
Until now, we have only seen the staid and sedate side of the PM on TV. He makes an appearance on national television, only when he has earth-shattering matters of grave national importance to convey to the country. In a major departure from the usual, we will get to see a hitherto unseen side of Narendra Modi – his adventurous, throwing-caution-to-the-wind side.
Going by the promos aired on social media and on TV, the PM is in his element in the vast wild jungles of Uttarakhand. Social media is agog with anticipation, and we must agree that it is a most intriguing premise. By getting the most important man in the country, as the PM was addressed by by Bear Grylls in the promos, to feature on the show, the channel has hit absolute pay dirt – the veritable Holy Grail of TRP success.
PM Narendra Modi is the second Head of State to feature in an exclusive on the show. Erstwhile US President Barack Obama was the first.
But the impending episode, as with anything to do with the PM, is being looked upon with a jaundiced eye by rabble-rousers. It has whipped up a simmering cauldron of controversy on social media, mainly by naysayers who have been rumour-mongering that the PM was busy shooting the gimmicky episode, exactly at the time that the Pulwama attack was taking place in Kashmir. They allege that the PM continued to shoot even after he got the news of the heinous attack.
But as it turns out, the rumours are exactly what they always are– baseless hearsay. Both the Channel and the PMO have put out statements in the media, clarifying that the shoot was over at least 45 minutes before the attack happened.
All said and done, Narendra Modi appearing on Man vs. Wild is a coup de maître from the channel, and a sign of our times; rather disruptive times too! Naysayers may cry blasphemy, but that’s the way the wind blows. Accept it.
The PM himself put out a tweet today from his official Twitter handle in promotion of tonight’s episode, exhorting people to join him in the adventure as he traverses thick forests, vast wilderness and rides on a raft fashioned from reeds across a jungle river, accompanied by Bear Grylls.
Narendra Modi’s appearance on the show has been linked to the PM’s passionate endeavour to showcase India’s rich environmental heritage before the world, and also to stress on the importance of environment conservation and living in harmony with nature. The channel also believes that the PM appearing on the show will give impetus to the show’s objective of creating awareness about animal conservation and environmental change.
The Indian hoi polloi, on its part, is waiting in breathless anticipation for the episode to air. What’s more, even the prime movers and shakers at Bollywood Inc. are enamoured with the PM’s unusual manoeuvres. Everybody who matters in the industry has tweeted about tonight’s episode, including Karan Johar, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Anil Kapoor. Phew! Isn’t that something?
Over to the PM, Discovery Channel and their masterful manoeuvrings!