Wednesday, January 28, 2009

#8. Whither Hindi Cable TV

Whither Hindi Cable TV?

I have retired from service and have plenty of time at hand. The result is that apart from reading books and doing some gardening, I see TV also for sometime. From time to time I get hooked on to some serial on one or the other channel which have mushroomed over the years on the Indian skies. It is pointless to see movies on TV. A three hour movie takes about 5 hours to finish. You have to sit through 2 hours of advertisements which have no more remained interesting due to repetition. And the worst part is that sometimes the ad break (or should it be brake?) is 10 minutes after every 10 to 15 minutes of movie. And after sometime t becomes a little tiring.

You have some interesting happenings on the ad front. For instance, at the time when most of the urban India take their meal, you have to bear the ad for toilet cleaner, and not once but 2-3 times over a period of half to one hour. Needless to say, it is with visuals. This is more tortuous when you are fond of having your meal in front of the TV, as many of us are wont to.

The other sriking thing about TV advertisements is the preponderance of the use of children in the ads. Whether it is detergent or soap or spices, it is the children who tell you the home truths. ‘Child is the father of man!’

Coming to the serials, the saas-bahu thing has become a much-used formula, and therefore some other ways to show the human wickedness have been devised. There is a serial at prime time in a prominent chnnel which I am sure has an excellent TRP rating. The step mother-in-law and sister-in-law are ably supported by two bad-mouthed and prejudiced children who do not like the idea of another kind and loving girl to replace the dead mother. All sorts of ugly emotions expressed by the children are shown: grinding teeth, angry and avenging facial expressions, vitriolic remarks. And the story goes that in spite the best efforts by the new mother, the children remain hostile. The fact of life is coolly left on the shelf that a young widower has every right to marry, instead of whoring around. And all the men are shown spineless, hearing out the ladies of the house with the stoic silence unlike the typical Indian male who probably raves and rants, and sees that his will is done. Probably the things have changed now in the actual world also. My disgust at the way things are shown is because of the effect such serials are going to have on the tender minds of the chidren. With fewer deaths than divorces among the mothers and wives of today, step parents have become a reality wihc cannot be overlooked. What a fine way to poison the minds of chidren belonging to such homes!

You have the different permutations and combinations of the wickedness and viciousness of the family and the people around you in almost all the serials. In the Hindi movies, there used to one villain or vamp who could do the honours; now in a family drama sometimes it is 2 -3 or even half a dozen wicked members who use all types of ingenuity in showing nastiness, including actual violence on the womenfolk of the household, including whipping. And the best part is that that the whipped lady has an axe to grind against the family she has been married into. And she is patiently waiting for the opportune moment to take the revenge.

I entirely agree that the world is full of vicious people who keep self-interest above everything, and who commit acts of sin and crime without compunction or conscience, and there are families who have such people, but not always and not everywhere. Why do you have to show all the permutations and combinations of human meanness on the TV in programmes which are seen by the family together, including the children?

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