Saturday, August 13, 2011

Things I wish are banned from Indian TV

Before Indian Television goes deep down in the dog's ass and comes out as poop (since it has already gone to dogs, in a matter of speaking), here's my list of five things I wish are banned from TV.

Fewer and shorter ad breaks
yeah yeah we need ads to sustain television and the print media and all that jazz, but must we have a 10-minute ad break in between movies, every 12 minutes? There have been times when I have surfed up to 10 channels and each of those channels had advertisements played, no kidding. A 3-hr movie takes four and half hours to wrap up. There's a reason why we see international film awards like Oscars and Golden Globe Live on TV (they're big prime time shows abroad) but till date I do not remember seeing an Indian movie television award show Live. Why? It's all those ad breaks, stupid. Whilst ad breaks make commercial sense, too many- and longer- ad breaks break our rhythm and make tv less enjoyable.

Slow motions
A few years back during the Bombay Parsi Panchayat trustee elections that were held across Parsi colonies and baugs across Mumbai, I got an SMS joke. Some of these colonies had special queues for senior citizens. The joke went something like this: "If a majority of bawajis are senior citizens, we need special queues for the youngsters and not for seniors". Similarly, if 70% of a TV serial episode is in slow motion, its sanctity goes down. Slow motions are perhaps crucial for a few prominent shots or scenes. Presently, if slow motions were to go alltogether, a half hour tv serial episode could get done in 10 minutes. But here's the most bizarre thing about slo-mo: people's entry on award show stages (delay telecast) shown in slow motion!!!

Leave social issues to governments and NGOs
Let's face it. TV is business, lead actors get paid a bomb and a lot of public adulation. Nobody works for charity. This is television, not some NGO. So while it's okay to make TV serials to create awareness or highlight some social plight, a cursory glance though most of our serials tell us that happiness is in short supply in India. Nukkad, Yeh Jo Hain Zindagi Sriman Srimati, Hum Paanch, Indradhanush and many more such gems are sorely missed. Its a charade to make dozens of modern day crappy TV that showcase only sadness and all sorts of atrocities on women and then run disclaimers claiming they don't mean disrepect to any citizen or some moral lesson of the day at the end of each episode. We don't need your sympathies, we need good tv.

Volume control the news debates
News debates are getting louder by the day. Take a look at this debate on Times Now on the day when Dhoni was accused by some people to play to the gallery, during the second India - England test. While everyone wants to be heard, debates are more cacophony and less intellectually stimulating these days. Politicians want to be heard and they won't stop talking till they are heard. Many other civilians on tv suffer from the same malady. At times, 5 people talk at the same time, while Arnab Goswami, Rajdeep Sardesai & Co try to bring some order. Can't they just mute the loudmouths when it gets too much? Surely, newsroom technology is much advanced these days. If the guy doesn't shut up, press the button.

Emotional verdicts on talent competition
Nobody likes to lose. And judging by many talented candidates on these shows, there is no shortage of talent in India. But the one thing that TV producers need to coach the participants is that losing is natural. Whilst we all strive to win, there is no need to get so shocked and  awed if you don't go through. And soft ball judges who feel guilty pronouncing loss results should better stay away from becoming judges. Give me Simon Cowell, Peers Morgan or our Farah Khan anyday. Atleast they are honest; if you are not fit for the competition, you're told off in clear words "Do not waste yours- and our- time."

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