It was not a scene one is used to seeing: the journalist Rajdeep Sardesai loudly gushing “fantastico!” each time a school student correctly answered a question. The exclamation “fantastico,” one realised during the course of the one-hour quiz show, was the advertising tag line of a car being launched by its sponsor, the Tata group. Sardesai is the quizmaster of News Wiz, which started on 24 July 2016, and is aired on India Today TV.
At the peak of his career, this avatar of the renowned anchor would have been unthinkable.
Is brand Sardesai on the cusp of change, I asked him. Sardesai did not deny it, but did not seem unduly worried either. “I am only re-inventing myself,” he said. “My core competence remains news. Even this quiz show that I am doing is based on news. It will create a culture of news sorely lacking today.” But his answer did not quite explain the timing for his decision—why now?