Received an email today (Thanks, Sharath!) with the transcript of the Karan Thapar (KT) interview with J Jayalalitha (JJ), the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu at HardTalk India on BBC World… Makes more than an interesting read.

What was Karan Thapar trying to do? Was he being the good journalist? Or was he out with some hitherto unknown vengeance? Remember, this was the same Karan Thapar who interviewed the then defence minister George Fernandes on National Television!

Here are some juicy extracts to induce you to read the Full Transcript.

JJ: When I became Chief Minister Mr. Karunanidhi was arrested in a corruption case. At that time his family channel Sun TV played a big hoax with a very cleverly edited footage…

KT: (Intervenes) Can I interrupt because I think the important thing Chief Minister…

JJ: (Intervenes) And at that time the entire media was…

KT: (Intervenes) You are reading a statement…

JJ: (Intervenes) I’m not reading. I’m looking at you and talking. You can check it in the camera.

KT: But I want to say…

JJ: I’m looking at you and speaking. I’m not reading.

KT: I’m want to put out a concern to you. People say…

JJ: (Intervenes) You have notes before you. Shall I say you are reading.

KT: I have questions in front of me.

JJ: Alright I have notes in front of me. Nothing forbids me from having notes.

KT: Chief Minister…

JJ: I’m not reading. I’m looking at you straight in the eye. I look everyone straight in the eye.

KT: You arrested a man who was 77.

JJ: Age has nothing to do with corruption.


KT: Okay can I put one quote to you? The press say that she turned against Sonia Gandhi in 2003 to ingratiate herself to the BJP; today she is saying nice things about Sonia Gandhi because she wishes to ingratiate herself with Congress.

JJ: I have not said any such nice things. All that I said was I did not make any personal attacks and I have no reason to make any personal attacks. What happened during the parliamentary polls was an electoral confrontation and not a personal confrontation.

KT: Except…

JJ: (Intervenes) Now I’m looking you straight in the eye and you are reading from your notes.

KT: I’m reading a quotation of yours so I don’t get it inaccurate. In ’98 you said it would be a national shame if that foreigner comes to power. In 2003 you said it will be a crime shame and moral bankruptcy for the Congress to project Sonia Gandhi as Prime Minister.


KT: You are a very tough person, Chief Minister.

JJ: People like you have made me so.

KT: You said that you were misunderstood.

JJ: Yes.

KT: Do you think that you are badly treated by the press?

JJ: I do not wish to say anything more on this. Anyway your interview is not doing anything to help matters.

KT: My aim, Chief Minister, was to get to the core of the misunderstanding. You said that the press…

JJ: Your aim seems to have been to put as many unpleasant questions as possible and try to provoke me.

KT: Not to provoke you but to put to you the questions that have been discussed for the last three years and which in many ways may be responsible for the electoral adversity…

JJ: Haven’t you asked all of your questions? Have you got anything more to ask?

The ‘interview’ ended thus:
KT: Chief Minister, a pleasure talking to you on HARDtalk India.

JJ: I must say it wasn’t a pleasure talking to you. Namaste

As I said, the juicy extracts would surely make you want to read the Full Transcript!

Looking forward to your thoughts.


PS: Altering the appearance of the post to minimise space usage in my Friends’ LJs. Thanks Yodha for the reminder 🙂


  1. oh boy, that was good!!! Lol!!!

    1. It reads good. Doesn’t it?

      But then again, I would have loved to have been able to see the interview. Too bad I missed it. The visuals may have told the actual story of who was the cat and who the mouse.

      My guess: Karan Thapar was searching for a place to hide, by the end of it. But then I may be wrong!


  2. I read the whole transcript – thanks for putting it up! Personally, I think it was a bad interview with pathetic questions and even more pathetic answers. Karan Thappar would not have achieved anything by raking up three year old issues, nor is the CM weak enough to admit to anything on television. The time could have been well spent on other issues. But I’m very surprised that she came across as being stupid, which is very very unusual for her – I’ve seen her at the assembly debates, and she’s excellent at handling questions and tackling issues.

    1. Bala,

      You wrote: “But I’m very surprised that she came across as being stupid…”

      I am not too sure of that. The visuals would have helped a lot. You know we are trying to visualise what may have transpired based on transcribed text.

      The uneasyness/confidence that would change the way the communication is perceived, would be very important here.

      And like you, I too wish I had seen it. My guess is that it was Thapar who would have been dishevelled and uneasy throughout this exchange… Then again, that’s just a guess. I would love to hear from someone who saw the telecast!


  3. That wud be a gr8 intrview. Too bad that I will not be able to watch it. Ne way, it shows the shrewdness of the politician that she is, Miss JJ.

    1. I watched parts of the interview and personally I thought Jayalalitha came out the loser in the exchange. Her answers were curt, a lot of it had the tone of being evasive.

      Towards the end of the interview she almost sounded like a sore loser.

      But then, I have never been a fan of Jayalalitha and that might have clouded my opinions

      1. Thanks Maiya for your views. So far you seem to be the only one who has seen the interview, even if it was in parts.

        So I guess I will have to retract my statement about how I would think it was JJ that was having the upper-hand in the interview.

        And that, to most, should be surprising. She is, on more occasions that not, a good interviewee!


        1. On a separate front:
          Are you ALSO from Udupi ?


          1. I’m from Kota. However, I hardly go there. I was there recently after 15 years. From that perspective I’m more of a Banglorean.

    2. Exactly Manjunath,

      I too am feeling bad that I missed this one!

      But then thanks to somebody’s forward, at least I came to know that such an interview had transpired!

      As the universal adage goes: something is better than nothing! 😉

  4. Please use a lj-cut.

    1. Thanks Ashwin,

      I have in the past made use of the lj-cut tag. But here I felt that the blatant reproduction of certain key sections of the interview was important.

      Will surely bear this suggestion in mind during future posts.


      1. There is nothing wrong in making a large LJ entry. But, it should not occupy a large space on your friends’ page, right?

        1. Perfectly. Agreed. Will bear in mind 🙂

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