Cadbury Silk is surely not the newest TVC to hit the TV screens, but watching the innocent, joyous mess of consuming it recently, many other similar signs of the new found acceptance, or even the unabashed romancing of crudeness, started swarming this new trend of our lives.
MTV, the frontrunner brand in taking up the new attitudes, recently adopted ‘Stay Raw’ as its credo. And the MTV generation sports denims that are tattered, torn and raw too.
Did you notice the latest drift in that barometer of our society, the movies, when it comes to their titles? Sample this: Kameeney, Lafange Parinday, Yeh Saali Zindagi, and, close your ears, the forthcoming Gaandu. Its not that the era gone by did not have an occasional title that was negative. But even then, the language used was decent and strangely, even respectful. Shri 420, Mr Natwarlal and Daku Putlibai would agree.
Besides, isn’t there a celebration of our crude rustic side in the string of recent hits in the movie and TV world? From the classics Bunty aur Babli and Omkara to the new Band Baaja Baraat and Tanu weds Manu to the traditional rural settings of majority of the TV soaps, the revival of the desi cool seems complete.
Now think of the most popular songs of the recent times. Munni and Sheila were crass, yet ruled the charts. Not to forget the prior ones like Beedi jalai le and Kajra re.
And what about the language used in the new bold cinema? Cuss words are common. The most applauded line from the superhit Dabangg pokes many holes and surely confounds the conventional paradigms of parliamentary expressions. The degenerative parliamentary expressions of the political kind in any case have been confounding decency for long.
And guess what, it’s the supposedly coy and prude Indian woman who’s dialogues are getting bleeped more often these days. Right, Tanu?
Is it a longstanding repression being rebelled against or an unfeminine expression of angst against the Indian men who still top rank the gender inequality and women abuse surveys? For the larger masses, is it a reflection of new-found confidence in our identity coupled with the breaking up of the aspiration epitome of the west? Or is it simply an over exposed ‘seen it all done it all’ society reeling under communication explosion, and feeling absolutely bored with today?
Jerry Springer and Tarun Tejpal are both potent enough to stir up emotions by themselves. But the ‘bored with today’ society perhaps will be amused only when they come together to spice it up even more. That’s when you get the requisite ‘emotional atyachaar’. No wonder then that the reality programming of the telly has degenerated into extreme reality genre. Whether it’s a forced set up to create extreme emotions for public consumption including the likes of Ma Exchange or Love Lock Up or even the Bigg Boss, Splitsville kinds; or the reconstruction of extreme incidents from the real life.
Unfortunately it’s the notoriety, crime and negative emotions that are being showcased with extreme amplification to titillate a bored-with-normal generation. Wonder if there aren’t any inspiring extreme stories to tell.
The writer is Chief of Strategy and Head, Water Consulting