Once upon a time there was Chitrahaar, Reporter, Tara, Hum Panch and some more of their kind. These names don’t need an introduction. They have been fossilized in layers of our memories, to travel with us through time. And space.
It was a perfect beginning to a fairy-tale. Years later, we’re not anywhere close to perfection. Indian Television has drifted to become an epitome of mess. Only we could have ruined such a brilliant start and brought it to where it stands today. Here are ten things that are wrong with Indian Television today -
1- The Saas-Bahu Saagas which portray an Indian family of at least twenty people living in a huge mansion, running a successful family business with a few members as dark as carbon and others with hearts of gold. Believable? I don’t think so!
2- The Traditional Indian Television Bahu loves her sarees and jewelry so much that she can’t even part with them when she is sleeping. She is the one who gets up at 5 a.m. to do all the household chores, worship the lords and then sends the husband off to work. She chooses to be a home-maker and invariably gives up her career to prepare round chapatis for her family. She is the perfect daughter-in-law even though she might not be a perfect wife. Who cares for the wife anyways – the perfect daughter-in-law is more in demand. We portray, by way of example that women should handle their married lives in a particular stereotyped manner, to become perfect daughter-in-laws. And we don’t stop there. We expect real women, to behave exactly in the manner the ones in these soaps do. Are these soaps not at fault here? Don’t they preach that women should follow a predefined format to live their lives? And then, we talk about gender equality and women rights.
3- The Vamp, invariably is the working woman who has a little less time for her husband, who is a complete loser looking around for love because the wife is everything he is not capable of handling. Here again, the woman is to be blamed for every wrong the man commits. Brilliant, and in line with our age old traditions.
4- Reality TV - Copy-Paste-Crap all aped from the West and topped with an overdose of unnecessary emotion and drama. They say it takes brilliance to even attempt to copy from something that is worth a re-make. Isn’t there a single creative mind in the entire industry to start afresh and come up with something original or at-least ape with an open mind?
5- Cheap Stand-Up Laughter Shows might still be considered a dosage of laughter. But really, who are we kidding? What is a comedy that can’t be watched with kids around? In case you still want to classify these as comic, try watching Archana-Puran-Singh howl in happiness and I am sure it’ll become comic to tragic in five seconds flat!
6- Absence of Sitcoms hurts me the most and this is why we all shamelessly download foreign ones. Who needs a full bucket of tears and a trunk of tension (which the Television gives in abundance) after a hard day at work?
7- News or Make-Believe - We don’t know. Headlines flash with a breaking news every few minutes. A girl being molested in the by-lanes of Guwahati gets a prime time slot. They film the incident, but not rescue the poor soul. News stories and TRPs are the only things that count. Humanity is non-existent. The government scans what should go out and what should remain hidden under wraps. Ah, and everyone claims they were the first to air a particular story.
8- A Thousand Splendid Episodes of a show but it doesn’t make a difference if you miss a few. A few deaths, generation shifts and plastic surgeries later, the story still remains the same. It doesn’t matter if you miss it for an entire year. It’ll take just another episode to solve the jigsaw of new faces and places. Whatever happened to the ‘Quality over Quantity’ theory?
9- Scarce and Few Winners save us from the daily trauma, once in a while. It could be a season of KBC, or Satyamev Jayate. But Indian Television can’t glide smoothly if such shows are so few and scarce.
10- A few minutes of a program and an equal amount of time for advertisements isn’t making things any easier for the average Indian Television viewer.