“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
- Groucho Marx
What makes me write this? Well, because I just spent an entire afternoon watching... or rather trying to watch something on the television, and ended up being completely frustrated (and more bored than I was before I switched it on). While the Indian film industry is showing signs of progress (finally...) over the past few years, with newer and more innovative concepts (of course, you still have your frequent 'duds')... the television industry, on the other hand, is definitely going down the drain (and the filthiest one at that...).
What basically started with Ekta Kapoor, has become a plague with (it seems...) most production houses and creative teams which produce (or rather, vomit out...) these 'daily soaps'. I do not want to sound like one of those ultra- feminists (and I don't really advocate them either...), but the image of the Indian woman today is of someone who is strong, independent and educated, and not someone whose ultimate aim in life seems to be to get married at twenty, mass- produce children and squabble over the dinner menu. And, specially since these shows cater to a largely female population, the fact that they seem to promote oppression and submissiveness is a downright insult to the audience. And not to mention the psychological impact it has, especially since viewers in India are often incapable of differentiating between fiction and reality ( so much so, that SRK leaving his "wife" in a movie becomes a national debate and a character being killed off in a soap signals a two- day mourning... *sheesh*). It's basically promoting 'idiocy', camouflaging it as 'entertainment'. Even shows which are supposedly targetted at the youth audience seems to be promoting nothing else but "puppy love" and rosy , pseudo- Riverdale environments (well, honestly Archies was way more fun than all of these programs put together). The line between light- hearted entertainment and absolute stupidity seems to be blurring... fast.
And if only the stupidity ended with these daily soaps... nah, seems like it's just the beginning. What takes it to it's pinacle are the 'Reality Shows' (*flourish and claps*... urghhhh!). Alright, so a few shows are acceptable, even fun to watch I guess... but there seems to be a a new show cropping up every hour, so much so that now, we have a whole section of actors aka the reality tv stars (yeah, right...). And it does not stick to singing, dancing and performing... it extends to cheap theatrics, unwanted dramatization and sleazy verbal abuses in every language possibly known to man. It went as high (or as low...) as choosing brides and bridegrooms on national television and TV stars trying to raise other people's babies (help me...) for their 15 minutes of fame (read : cheap publicity). So basically, you have a mockery on the institution of marriage, parenthood and even the pilgrim destinations (yes, there is one on that too). More than the content, the makers of these shows seem to be relying on manipulative tactics and blackmailing the audience. And they don't seem to be providing any 'platform' (they love this word...) for budding talents either. Winners of earlier shows are just seen circulating in other shows, withouth any of the supposed career- highs they were promised. So what if you win a contest... erm,what next? These shortcuts to fame lead them nowhere (and now I sound like your every- day philosopher, right?....).
So please Mr. Creative Head and Mr. Writer, try and think of (yes, think of...) of some substantial content next time you plan to telecast a show on TV, the Indian audience is, I am sure, not the pack of nit- wits you might consider it to be. And yeah, please tell me how to locate my look- alike, 'cause you guys seem to be finding one for every person with absolute ease.