In all the nonsense that news channels pass off as news, sometimes you do come across the odd report/clip that’s worth a dekho. Let me give you an example. Mayawati decides to move into a new house. Naturally, there’s a big
to mark the occasion and naturally TV news channels are there to record it for posterity. So you see assorted members of the Bahujan Samaj Party dancing with gay abandon to the sound of Punjabi pop, as Mayawati looks on indulgently. (If there were any shots of Behenji dancing, I missed them). Believe me, it was quite a sight.
is the new kid on the block — literally, since it’s supposed to be a channel for the youth. But if their serial called
Sun Yaar Chill Maar
is any indication, UTV clearly thinks all young people are seriously intellectually challenged. This is a comedy serial and everyone in it talks as if they are half-wits. There’s a boy with spiky hair, his roommate wears a hairband, and both of them behave so oddly in the presence of the female species, you’d think they’d just landed on earth from outer space. The girls aren’t much better. One of them is straight out of Bimbetteland, and coos ‘Boys!’ every two seconds in a little girl voice, which if it became a shade more little girl, would lapse into baby babble. You almost feel like putting her inside a pram and taking her for a walk to the neighbourhood park.
I also saw another serial on
, which is allegedly about a supergirl who wears form-fitting jeans (I guess it would be too much to expect her to wear her undergarments outside her jeans). She leaps in the air, and delivers kicks and punches with the élan of a badly trained stuntwoman. All the while pulling the most dreadful faces, as if she suffers from chronic stomach ache.Will
get better? Maybe. It’s early days yet. One can only hope.
Meanwhile, the other music-cum-youth channels continue to plod along with their mix of, well, music and youth-related programming.
The latter includes all sorts of things – such as, for instance, MTV’s
Wear Their Skin
, a show where a young man called Hiten is made to look like movie star Saif Ali Khan. First he’s given a
haircut; then he gets to wear clothes like Saif (a sleeveless Superman T-shirt followed by a pink shirt which, the designer informs us authoritatively, is quintessentially Saif). And while you might be embarrassed for Hiten, he seems to be loving it.
Music channels also telecast plenty of programmes on the making of X, Y or Z film.
Currently, we are being treated to long accounts of the making of
Laga Chunari Mein Daag
, with the lead stars holding forth on the film and their role. Perhaps it works for ardent Bollywood fans, but it works even better as a promotional outlet for the films’ producers. I would count myself as a pretty ardent Hindi film fan myself, but I find such programmes incredibly tedious.
Usually because most (not all, of course) movie stars are better seen in their movies than heard talking about their movies — they have nothing earth-shatteringly exciting to say barring the mandatory “everything was wonderful-I have a great role-please watch the movie” noises.
And finally. Tonight is the night for Zee’s
Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge
and it's going to be tough – simply because all the singers are so good they all deserve to win.
Zee also continues to launch new shows and the latest is a serial about ichchadhari nagins, something Bollywood was keen on about 20 years ago. Just like saas-bahu family sagas, which were also in vogue about 20 years ago.
It’s ironic really. Today, Bollywood is going through a very, very exciting phase, with plenty of innovation and experimentation (even our masala movies are becoming better masala movies). But television is moving backwards in time, picking up the worst of Bollywood's old-style lurid melodramas. The big screen is truly dreaming big dreams. And the small screen is becoming increasingly small-minded and closed.