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Aishwarya and Mehta aunty

india Updated: Jun 30, 2011 11:56 IST
Rahul Roushan
Rahul Roushan
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Breaking News: Aishwarya Rai is pregnant. And no, I won’t crack Abhishek Bachchan says “no idea” jokes here, but I’d stick to the “news” aspect of it. And I’m not going to complain that Aishwarya’s pregnancy is no news, it indeed is, ask Mehta aunty.

I mean, if someone thinks that media is giving too much importance to this news, I’d disagree for a change and support media’s stance - Mehta aunty wanted to know this badly and media is doing its job.

In fact, after becoming the strongest consumer group for the Indian television industry in the entertainment genre, Mehta aunty and friends are also forcing the news and current affairs genre to cater to them. So we would definitely be seeing more of Saas-bahu than Buniyaad on national news channels.

And no, I don’t mean to say that in any demeaning way; Saas-bahu is just another product like Buniyaad, and whichever has more demand backed by a strong purchasing power will win the race (this sentence was also a tribute to the new batches of MBA that have started recently all over India).

By Saas-bahu people usually mean content that (presumably) appeals to housewives, aunties and families in the tier-II cities of India.

So imagine what Mehta aunty will talk with her friends about a woman who has been married for four years. Of course they’d gossip why she is not bearing a baby. Is there some problem with the husband or the wife? Medical problem or psychological problem? Is the marriage on the rocks?

Isn’t this how news channels have been reporting on Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai since they got married? So when they got news about Aishwarya being pregnant, how could they ignore one of the strongest consumer groups of Indian television?

And this holds true not only for news related to Bollywood celebrities. Take for example Rahul Gandhi. What do aunties talk about an ageing young man? Of course they have only two things in mind – marriage and job.

And this is also what news channels want to know – when will Rahul Gandhi marry and when will he become the Prime Minister. Nothing else matters.

Mehta aunty also likes Baba Ramdev; she lost 2 kgs last year thanks to his yoga lessons.

(Rahul Roushan aka Pagal Patrakar is the editor of the leading Indian news satire website Faking News . You can connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook )

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