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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Thank goodness for news channels!

Poonam Saxena, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 21, 2012
First Published: 23:26 IST(21/12/2012) | Last Updated: 23:29 IST(21/12/2012)

This column stopped reviewing news channels a long time back. Neither am I an ardent fan of news channels. But there are occasions when I am thankful that they're there, warts and all. The horrific Delhi gang rape is a case in point.

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The relentless coverage (except when it was interrupted by the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh election results) not only echoed the nation's rage and anguish; it also put pressure on the police and politicians to actually do something, instead of just mouthing platitudes and then moving on in the comfort of their official cars with red lights and sirens. No Yadav buses for them. All the coverage on all the channels may not have been ideal, but that doesn't matter.

All that matters is that they were there - and will continue to be there I hope - to give a voice to the fury of ordinary people and to say that 'enough is enough.' If it were not for the media, even a gang rape as terrible as this one would have been forgotten by our politicians in no time. The truth is that only when it is under severe, unrelenting pressure does the sarkar act.

Back in the world of our entertainment channels, nothing very much was going on. Colors has begun a new mythological serial, Jai Jag Janani Maa Durga (a bit of tragic irony there). The serial is made by the Sagars, who have for long been the TV industry's go-to guys when it comes to mythological/religious serials. I wish I could say something nice about the show but I can't.

The first major problem with Jai Jag Janani Maa Durga (or any desi mythological show for that matter) is that the special effects are so amateurish, even a schoolboy could probably conjure up better on his home PC. I understand that our shows can't quite do a Lord of the Rings, but even so, the special effects often border on the comical.

Sometimes this can be countered with decent acting and dialogue. But in Jai Jag Janani Maa Durga even these - so far - are tacky and clichéd. There's Maa Durga in her heavenly abode, with a permanent beatific smile on her face, even when her subjects are being killed below on earth.

Yes, we get it, she will intervene at some stage, but maybe she can at least change her expression to suit the unfolding events, especially when the events are so awful. I do believe that in recent times the only mythological show that has worked is Devon Ke Dev Mahadev on Life OK. The effects here too are pretty cringe-making but the music and acting are both good.

After a long time, I tried to watch Bigg Boss (Colors) and I am happy to report that nothing has changed in that house in the last 70-odd days. Inhabitants are still doing one or some or all of the following (a) fighting and bickering (b) crying (c) bitching about each other (d) executing completely useless tasks set by the production house, I mean Bigg Boss. Sorry, even Salman Khan's presence doesn't help much.

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