| by B.Raman
( January 24, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Jaipur Literary Festival (JLF), which has made a name for itself among the major literary festivals of the world since its inception in 2007, saw on January 22,2012, a TV show of extraordinary brilliance and magic.
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Millions of TV viewers in the sub-continent and a packed audience in Jaipur sat entranced and watched spellbound Barkha Dutt, India’s TV host par excellence, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey, the celebrated US TV host, on the life, laughter and tears of Oprah, who was paying her first visit to India.
What better way to enable the millions of admirers of Oprah in the sub-continent savour the rise, rise and rise of this woman with a difference, who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the greatest TV personalities of the world, than to have her engaged in live conversation before her admirers with Barkha.
The organisers could not have chosen a better host than Barkha, who has not only mastered the TV medium in a short spell of time, but has also an in-born knack of making her guests—-whether famous or ordinary people— speak with ease and candour and without inhibitions and complexes.
We all knew everything that needs to be known about Oprah, but what Barkha succeeded in doing was to coax Oprah into telling her story—-the scintillating brilliance and the moving pathos of it —- in her own words, in her own style and in her own humility to millions of her admirers— some sitting before her in the hall and millions of others watching live on TV.
Many to whom I spoke after the show did not say what a star or what a TV personality. They said: “What a woman!”
What Barkha so magically projected before us was not one of the greatest TV personalities of the world—-we already knew Oprah the TV star—-, but one of the greatest women of our times.
“Never admit to yourself that you are less than others”, “my life is my Taj Mahal, I don’t need another”. Everyone who watched this show would remember these words of Oprah for the rest of their lives.
If Barkha kept the spotlight on Oprah, the latter turned it on Barkha and expressed more than once her admiration for the way Barkha conducted the interview without using any prompteur or prepared notes.
We saw Barkha, the host at her best. The two shone effortlessly. The two were the picture of self-confidence and humility. The two are women of grit and determination. The two share a conviction that no woman is less than others. The two see brilliance not in themselves, but in others and constantly seek to make us see the brilliance in others.
A memorable day, a memorable show, a memorable experience.Thanks Barkha. Thanks Oprah.