Thursday, August 14, 2008

What I do not like on TV

Although the good-old television remains one of my favourites means of entertainment, I feel it has been prostitutionalied by pimps like Hindi news channels (India TV, Zee News, to a extent Aaj Tak) and a certain production house that produces rubbish TV serials that all look and sound like stories of extended families; one TV serial per family. These and a few other irritating things I do not like. I am quite fed-up...

...of media's pampering of Bollywood stars. Nobody knows how to lick people's asses and hone egos like the Indian media. So while, without anyone asking them to, the media calls SRK as King Khan and Saif Ali Khan as Prince Khan, Sanjay Dutt is known as Sanju Baba or Munnabhai in the media circles. When Dutt was released from jail, the media happily proclaimed: "Munnabhai is out of jail". Let me put this straight. Just because Sanjay Dutt played the role of an angel in Munnabhai MBBS doesn't make him an angel. He stashed away an AK-47 rifle because of which the law took its own course and sentenced him. If Bollywood 'villains' like Gulshan Grover, Shakti Kapoor or yesteryear's McMohan would have been in Dutt's place, would the media have gone ga-ga over them? I don't think so. For heaven's sake, Sanjay Dutt is NOT munnabhai and SRK is definitely not the King. To me, he's just an ordinary actor.

...of countless reality dance and singing shows/competitions. The biggest problem with all our Hindi general entertainment channels is the lack of creativity. If one channels starts a successful show, all others will follow it. So if Star Plus started off with KBC (Kaun Banega Crorepati), then Zee TV had to bring in Sawaal Das Crore Ka. If Sony brought in Indian Idol, Star had to start to Amul Star Voice of India. Then, there are countless song and dance shows - such as Jhoom India, Nach Baliye, Jhalak Dikhla Ja, etc - where these days actors or actresses from saas-bahu serials pair up and face off one another. They offer nothing new and are a complete waste of time.

...of crying pots on reality shows. This was started by Americans and we Indians embraced this tradition with open arms. They say tears bring in TRPs and so contestants started crying pots as soon as they got eliminated and threw at us their sob stories of how they have endured years of tapasya and rigour to enter and perform at these reality shows. Bull shit! Life goes on, it isn't the end of the world. And now, not only the contestants cry, but the judges too have begun to shed tears. I find this whole charade so appalling and so artificial. When will we ever begin to realise that its a competition and the best man should always win. The loser hopefully learns something too and yearns to better himself/herself in the future.

...of Hindi news channels. I have already said enough about it. But I'll say it again. Hindi news channels like India TV and Zee news are more of general entertainment channels aimed solely at titillation and provocation rather than spreading news of our country and the world. The worst problem is that the editors and owners of these channels actually claim that this is what the viewers want to see. Shamelessness has just got itself a new meaning. No wait, I meant Crap.

...of Rajdeep Sardesai's theatrical enthusiasm. Despite CNN-IBN being my favourite news channel and Rajdeep Sardesai (CNN-IBN'S editor-in-chief) one of my favourite news anchors (although give me Sardesai of ex-The Big Fight fame, anyday), must he always scream while talking on any news item? It's theatrical histrionics at its loudest. The image of Sardesai one always gets to see on TV is one of biting his lips and nodding his head in an animated fashion as if he's the only concerned Indian citizen around. News reading is an art, its a subtle way of story-telling and not yelling and shouting all the time. We are not deaf.

...of sport coverage of news channels. For news channels, even the English ones, sports means only things like cricket and whether or not Sachin Tendulkar will play some upcoming Test or one-day international match. With the way Indians perform in sports, i think we can give substantial value addition to our viewers by telecasting some international sporting events on a regular basis. My fear now is that with Abhinav Bindra winning India's first Olympic gold, the Indian sports media has just got something to talk about for the next 10 years. Move over, Sania Mirza. Indian media has just got its latest sports sensation.

...of saas-bahu serials. The most disgusting thing to have ever happened on TV are these hideous TV serials. Garish background score, flashy costumes, weak plots, repetitive story-lines, pathetic drama, these TV serials have it all what makes them look and sound terrible. Whichever serial you look, they all look, feel and talk the same. Large families, palatial homes, family businesses where the only thing they talk about is (signing) contracts worth crores (lakhs won't do to them), entire families assembling in living rooms to discuss issues as if they have got nothing better to do, evil bahu, saintly bahu, etc.

...of the latest Airtel commercials. That Airtel advertisements always go for emotions is a known fact, but the latest series of commercials featuring Vidya Balan and R. Madhvan have gone a bit too far. Perhaps Airtel hired scriptwriters from the Yash Chopra/Karan Johar camp, because these commercials are extremely sugary-sweet. Infact they are too sweet to be consumed and it makes me puke. I am not interested in knowing whether R. Madhvan has paid his phone bills or sent money to his father-in-law or what they are going to cook for the evening's party or even how quickly can be phone be charged; infact when he doesn't get into that lift whilst leaving his home for out of town despite Balan urging him to, I feel like giving him one tight slap and telling him: "Get lost."

...Trial by media. Okay, maybe the media got it right in the Jessica Lal case. But this doesn't give them the right to now poke their noses in each & every trial that the media chooses to take up. Their act of accusing Aarushi's father of killing her own daughter, just on the basis of what one irresponsible police official attached to this case said, was unacceptable. Not only did the TV channels did something wrong, they even came out with lame excuses despite being proved wrong and justified their irresponsible actions by saying that it was their right to do so, especially after what they did and managed to achieve in the Jessica Lal.

...of endless debates on news channels. Debates are best left for TV chat shows like Oprah Winfrey. But when debates start seeping in news channels and even inside news bulletins, news itself takes a backseat and becomes very boring. These days, whichever TV channel you switch on, especially the English ones, some or the other debate is always going on where people talk endlessly, argue, quarrel and do not allow others to speak. People who participate in debates have nothing better to do, and news channels that hold such debates every now & then lack creativity in programming. This is my understanding.

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