Sunday morning we woke up to the news of the untimely demise of actor Sridevi. Even as the condolence messages from fans were pouring in, India media decided to lower its bar in vulture journalism by floating bizarre conspiracy theories around her death. Social media users panned the media for their attempts to speculate about the cause of Sridevi’s death, with little or no facts in hand.
But what is “speculation”? In general, the forming of a theory or conjecture without any firm evidence to back the same is deemed to be speculation. In the case of Sridevi’s death, discussing the following could be termed “speculation”:
Discussing how Sridevi could drown in a tub, How could Sridevi just drop dead, How could Sridevi have such medical issues without no known history of heart ailments? How could Sridevi, a fitness freak, have such health issues and how could she die so early in her life?
The above would be speculation since we do not know the entire facts of the case, the incident, the chain of events which led to her death, Sridevi’s health or her personal issues. Discussing such issues invariably gives rise to suspicions of foul play and something being amiss, thus one ends up speculating as to how something like this could happen.
But, what if the above issues are discussed in a question and answer format, and instead of asking “How could Sridevi have drowned in a tub”, if the question is put as, “How could anyone drown in a tub?”? Would that still be speculation?
According to NDTV, this is not speculation, because this was what was done by Nidhi Razdan on her show last night.
The very first question from Nidhi, went to a Doctor on the panel, and this is what she asked:
“What drowning in a bath-tub means. Because, it has happened to celebrities before, but people just find it hard to understand, its a bath-tub not the sea”
That is how you ask the question: “How could Sridevi drown, in a bath-tub, which has hardly any water?” when you want to ride the moral high horse of “we are not speculating”.
Later on, Nidhi went on to ask another Doctor on the panel this:
“I have another question which a lot of people have, which is that, can you just drop dead? just like that, with no heart history, being perfectly healthy, fit, eating the right foods, exercising, and yet, can you just drop dead?”
That is how you ask the question “How can such a fit actress like Sridevi, who has no public history of heart problems, just drop dead?”.
It may be noted here that this debate was held after the death certificate of Sridevi had said that she had died of “accidental drowning”. “Dropping dead” is considerably different from “Accidental drowning”. So if Nidhi was speculating about Sridevi’s death by alluding she “dropped dead”, then she was plain wrong on the facts, or she was just spewing irrelevant gibberish because “dropping dead” had nothing to do with Sridevi’s case.
In both the cases, the doctors “speculated” over various reasons which can cause this, and ended by saying “but we should not speculate”. Luckily, we did not hear any theories of how foul play could have been involved, but there was plenty of speculation as to the various possible reasons. Nidhi of course had asked them to speculate about these reasons, with her questions.
For NDTV, Nidhi and her colleagues, this is not speculation. Simply because, there were questions posed to some doctors, and the questions were not specific about Sridevi. For NDTV, it doesn’t matter that the questions fit perfectly to Sridevi’s case or that they were asked in a show which intermittently ran a ticker saying: How Did Sridevi Die?
Nidhi Razdan didn’t jump inside a tub like some other reporters, but in spirit, she was right there. In her shameless questioning, while maintaining the pretence of dignity, she probably proved herself to be at least on par with the rest of the crowd. The only sad thing here is, at least the other channels will get TRPs.