But the Times of India did manage to come up with a new one - the Lead India initiative. Lead India played on the prevailing sentiment of the urban educated populace that ‘‘Good people don’t want to join politics" and set out to look for the one potential leader who could act as a change agent. The winner would get a lump sum amount of cash to be able to implement their dream project, as also widespread promotion across the newspaper and TV that would act as a springboard to public life.
They received a lot of applications. Initial public reception was also promising. After various interviews, discussions, debates, they came up with 8 city-level winners, who would then slog it out on national television. These eight came from various fields - lawyers, ex-venture capitalists, ex-CEO, civil services, etc., all who have been working towards some form of social or infrastructural upliftment. You'd think it would require more intellectual folks to be able to grill these contestants to find the winner.
Yeah, the Times of India found the intellectual, intelligent jury members to put the contestants to test. They found them in Bollywood.
Yes, India's favourite mind-numbing profession provides majority of the judges. It's generally belittling the whole point of it, but more importantly, my heart goes out to the contestants who are made to answer to these folks!
A sampling of the questions contestants have been quizzed on can be found in these excerpts from the Lead India site:
"...The jury was in its element in the ‘bluff round’. Each finalist picked a judge, from whom Kher asked a question. The judge would provide an answer, after which the finalist had to guess whether it was correct or a bluff. Abha Singh thought she had a sitter when Kher asked Javed Akhtar what was the only category for which Sholay won a Filmfare award. “Best dialogue,” he replied. Singh agreed. It turned out the answer was Best Editing! “We (Salim-Javed) did win Best Dialogue that year, but for Deewar,” explained Akhtar..."These were from the 'first competitive episode'. Great way to start - we can't have folks who know squat about Bollywood running our country!
"...The audio-visual round was next. One of the visual clips was from the popular Sanjay-Dutt Hrithik Roshan starrer Mission Kashmir. “I suppose you think I’ll ask you the name of the movie,” chortled Kher to Delhi’s Sanjiv Kaura. “But tell me, who played Sanjay Dutt’s wife in the movie?” “I didn’t even know the name of the movie,” admitted Kaura..."
Talk about poor finishing.