Page 3 people have become an undeniable fact of life on the social and media landscape. The "success" of the original page 3 concept made coverage of party people mandatory in mainline dailies.
Then, the idea crossed over to television- NDTV's 'Night Out' being the idiot box equivalent of Bombay/ Delhi Times.
Page 3 became a 'dirty word' in intellectual circles - young and old. Page 3, the movie, made it clear that not all people featured on page 3 deserved to be there for being rich, thin, beautiful - or a combination thereof. Many had bought their way into the limelight.
But like it or not, "page 3" is here to stay. Marketing has decreed that P3 sells, Editorial will comply and we - even the "I hate it" types - will at least skim through.
On the positive side, Page 3 coverage is evolving from gush-gush aap-kitne-great-hain journalism to something with more style and flair.
People do want to read about other people - but not in the BT's Doordarshan documentary style.
"When X celebrated her xxx birthday, the music flowed like wine. Blah blah blah came and the party rocked. Blah made an appearance, also seen were blah and blah."
This is the kind of reporting that does not even need a reporter. Send someone to click photos and insert selected names from guest list in the standard copy.
Celebs are happy - and turn out in full force for the annual BT party. But what about readers? It makes for a bloody dull read!
That's why I was pleasantly surprised - and happy - to see this article in today's Indian Express (Mumbai Newsline) by Namrata Sharma Zakaria. The Diary of a Socialite is a peep into the convoluted world the la-di-dah types live in.
And the writer has, for a change, dug in her claws instead of being all politically correct.
Apparently there's a letter floating around which accuses a well known 'creme puff couple' of not paying wages due to workers of a mill owned by them.
‘‘If he’s a textile tycoon and she wears the best Italian threads, how can they be broke?’’ I asked Gal Pal over post-lunch coffee. ‘‘Don’t know, but people say it’s her sister,’’ said Gal Pal... She’s also infamous for buying trousers from a European label, and then getting her Mumbai tailor to remake three more in different colours. It could definitely be her.
Quite interesting no? Especially if you've figured out who is being referred to - which is not that difficult.
The report may have appeared on page 8 but it's the best piece of page 3 reporting I've seen in a while. Might it inspire Madhurji to make a sequel?