mirrors dilemma of 24-hr channels | india | Hindustan Times
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    - mirrors dilemma of 24-hr channels

india Updated: Oct 09, 2006 15:58 IST
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WHAT DOES one do when driven to the edge? Put one’s life on line. Exactly, but are the prospects of losing one’s job the end of the world? It certainly is, if it is a lucrative and high profile one in electronic media for an ambitious young man in a happening metro.

But just how long can it last? Maybe not even an hour; when the hero buckles under the threat of death, and the audience who having tasted blood are served with a vegetable, the hero, in the finale.

Although exciting initially it was yet another theme picked up from the fast tracks of Mumbai., the recent weekend presentation at Sanand capitalised on the stresses behind running a 24-hour news channel. Gripped by the fever of breaking news and dishing out exclusives, a reporter inadvertently puts himself on death row.

Having discovered the cell phone number of a contract killer his curiosity prompts him to put his own photograph, whereabouts and required fee, thereby ordering his own assassination.

The star reporter is successful in creating a sensation, makes the show popular, increases the TRP, slings mud at police and politicians and beats up a racket. His newsreader wife joins him with a mercenary spirit.

The gravity of the situation is realised when the unknown killer makes an attempt on his life, misses him but brings his wife down and most certainly the euphoria of success. After squeezing him to the last drop the channel moves on to another sensation without breaking stride and abandoning devastated lives of its employees.

Playwright Yogesh Soman, who also acts in the play, director Gyanesh Wadkar and the play itself have landed prizes in respective departments, but the overall production lacks commercial shimmer.

Uday Shankar in the seventies made an interesting interplay of stage and cinema. Making use of the technological advancements could have created effects to dazzle the viewers. Isn’t that the technique channels use to overwhelm the audience with barely any substance? Anything less than a shattering and preferably multiple climax fails to make an impact if they attempt to take the viewers on a roller coaster ride.

Little did we know when we switched on the television in the seventies. The screen that was naively hailed as the window to the world has given us insight into its bizarre ways. Soap operas on middle class themes turning to probes into the lifestyles of decadent society; live telecasts graduating into reality show; hate, blood and gore replacing simple entertainment. The Economist in its latest dispatch reports about Russians finding even reality sex boring.

The highs requiring increasingly high boosters to have the desired effect. Tall claims about progress are all technological; man in his core remains essentially medieval.