Rajat Sharma

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Rajat Sharma
Rajat Sharma IndiaTV.jpg
Born (1957-02-18) 18 February 1957 (age 61)
Delhi, India
Nationality Indian
Occupation Journalist
Spouse(s) Ritu Dhawan
Awards Padma Bhushan (2016)

Rajat Sharma (born 18th February, 1957) is the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, India TV. He is also the President of The News Broadcasters Association of India (NBA) and Vice President, Strategic Affairs of The Indian Broadcasting Foundation. He is best known for his popular interview based show ‘Aap Ki Adalat’ and ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ the 9pm prime time news bulletin from Monday – Friday.

Early life[edit]

He was born in a family with very limited means. He had to share a 10x10 feet room with his 6 brothers and one sister. Life was a constant struggle. There was no electricity and no running water. He studied at a nearby municipal school. According to Rajat Sharma, since they had no electricity, he would often study at night underneath a lamp post at the nearby railway station in Sabzi Mandi. [1]

Education[edit]

After having completed his schooling, he got admission at Delhi’s prestigious Shriram College of Commerce (SRCC) from where he graduated with a B.Com degree. It was in college he met Arun Jaitley, India’s current Finance and I&B Minister. A bond was formed and till date hasn’t been broken. Jaitley who was his senior introduced him to student politics. This was way back in the 1970s when the anti establishment spirit was at its height. And when Emergency was imposed, he spent 11 months in Tihar Jail. Finally in 1977 when Indira Gandhi lost the elections, Rajat Sharma was elected the General Secretary in the Delhi University Student’s Union (DUSU) elections. Vijay Goel, the current Rajya Sabha MP was elected President of DUSU.

Career[edit]

After having completed his M.Com, he was hired as a researcher by Janardan Thakur, a revered journalist who had just quit Ananda Bazar Patrika to start a new syndicate column. Subsequently he joined the Onlooker Magazine as a trainee and then went on to become its Editor in 1985. By this time Rajat Sharma had shifted base to Mumbai. After having spent three years at Onlooker, he joined Sunday Observer as an editor and later on The Daily again as the editor. It was in 1992 that he bumped into Zee TV’s Subhash Chandra during a flight to Delhi and it was in the midst of a casual conversation that the concept of Aap Ki Adalat took shape. The TV industry in those days was in a very nascent stage and Chandra immediately realized the immense potential of such a show. It was in 1993 that the first episode of Aap Ki Adalat was shot for Zee with Lalu Yadav, the then Chief Minister of Bihar. From being just another Editor, the show catapulted Sharma to starry heights. Rajat Sharma has interviewed more than 750 guests on his show and recently Aap Ki Adalat celebrated 21 years of broadcast thereby making it the longest running show in India’s television history.[2] At Zee, under his leadership, history was created when India’s first private television news bulletin was launched in 1995. In 1997, he and along with his wife Ms Ritu Dhawan, currently the MD and CEO of India TV, set up their own production house - Independent News Service (INS), the parent company which owns India TV and Aap Ki Adalat then shifted to Star Plus and was renamed as Janata Ki Adalat. Finally it was in 2004 when Rajat Sharma decided to launch an independent channel, that Aap Ki Adalat shifted to India TV. It had started off as a hard news channel. He had Maneka Gandhi on board for issues on wildlife, Tarun Tejpal for investigative journalism and Madhu Kishwar for women related issues. The channel was viewed as an ‘ideal’ channel but unfortunately had no takers and was incurring huge losses. It almost finished him. In 2007, as a last throw of the dice, he moved away from serious news and the channel started airing shows with supernatural or crime themes that were hugely popular in the Hindi belt. This gamble paid off and soon India TV started grabbing the eyeballs and became the No.1 channel. In 2009 Rajat Sharma decided that he had had enough of the supernatural and started to steer the channel towards more serious stuff.

India TV today is one of most watched Hindi news channels and the channel’s prime time flagship show that Sharma anchors every day at 9pm from Monday - Friday has been topping the TRP charts week after week.

Today Rajat Sharma is happy that he no longer has to make compromises to reach the top but appears genuinely surprised at the channel’s success.

Awards[edit]

  • ITA Award for Best Anchor - News/Current Affairs show
  • Entrepreneur of the Year’ Award in 2009 by Exchange4media.
  • Indian Television Academy Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Padma Bhushan (2016)

References:

  • Rajat Sharma - India’s TV Man [3]
  • Rajat Sharma elected President of NBA [4]
  • Rajat Sharma appointed as News Broadcasters Association president [5]
  • Subhash Chandra knew I had a winning concept: Rajat Sharma [6]
  • RAJAT SHARMA Journey[7]