Monday, July 02, 2007
The modern day is the day of information. Not just the availability of information, but the ease with which you can have it and how easily can it be dissipated! TV made its way into the Indian homes in the early 1980s. From the early days of the good old ‘doordarshan’ the television has come a long way. The early 90s saw the advent of a number of private channels with Zee leading the crusade against the friendly ‘Deepika ji’ ads in the crisp breaks of serials like ‘Hum log’. The enhanced vibrancy of the new age TV made people opting soap operas over a matinee show in a hot humid afternoon. Color television sets soon became a necessity and if you see a commercial for a television set on your old TV nowadays, you’ll find a number of options which reduce the strain on your eyes so that you can watch the repeat telecast of your favorite show (the fact that all soaps look like the repeat telecast of each other is another debate). I am a staunch enemy of the soaps operas basically because they steal my right of the daily dose of sports and music and news (which is happening all the time on TV now), and I have to submit meekly to the demands of my mother wanting to watch ‘Prerna’. With the world of entertainment changing so fast, we have got a new entrant. Well, not very new if you think of it but the way the ‘reality shows’ have captured the imagination of the people is something incredible.
Any channel you tune into has its own reality bite for you. People trying to make a lot of money through ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’, people trying to be the ‘Indian Idols’, people trying to become the ‘Biggest loser’, people trying to ‘live together’ with ‘Big Boss’ around, etc. etc.! The TV today is full of such real shows which we know are mostly staged and well rehearsed.
Instant stardom has become such a common thing today that the next person I see at a mall seems to be belonging to some ‘Fame Gurukul’. The much hyped fame evaporates as easily as it was got. But the most intriguing aspect of this instant fame is how a few of the most ordinary people have been able to change their lives overnight. Take for instance the typical couch potato of the ‘Numa Numa’ fame. This Romanian song was lip-sung by a fat (and interestingly cute) male which he recorded on his (ordinary) web cam and broadcast it over youtube.com. This video became one of the most watched, shared and downloaded video of all times and the fat gentleman became a celebrity with offers for live shows pouring in.
So far so good! But when it comes to news the same reality TV type of hoopla created around local issues and non-important news items to catch the viewers’ eye is beyond imagination. What the news channels are being doing recently is opening the doors of our homes to the world; the private life is a myth with a number of journalist fighting hard to bring that very special ‘hatke’ report of a local issue perhaps which would give them an edge over their competitors. The universal pretence is ‘we bring to the people what they want to see…’ how far do we want to see a ‘real-life’ couple fighting on national news channels provoked by the news anchor is for us to decide!!! As far as I am concerned, I don’t like to watch an ugly, fat manager of some call centre beaten with ‘kolahpuri chappals’ by his employee for some alleged sexual abuse as part of my daily news update in the night.