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Madness on TV: what’s the option?

Well, you could always see the ‘news’ — for instance, how Raj Thackeray, on his birthday, cut a cake that was in shape of the word “Bhaiyya.” Poonam Saxena writes.

tv Updated: Nov 15, 2008 00:27 IST
Poonam Saxena

So Bigg Boss is finally going to end soon — an excellent idea considering most of the housemates are increasingly beginning to look like basket cases. There are just a handful of them left now, but even before their numbers dwindled, the signs of incipient lunacy were already there. When Sambhavana Seth re-entered the house recently, she immediately got into a scrap with Raja Whatshisname. She insisted on sleeping in the men’s room and Raja was equally insistent that she shouldn’t do any such thing (he said the thought made him uncomfortable. Perhaps he was afraid that she would break into an impromptu item dance in the dead of night).

So while Sambhavana stood, hands belligerently on hips, yelling, “Try to stop me, try toh kar,” Raja marched to the bathroom, picked up a bucket of water and threw it on her bed. Sambhavana, who didn’t seem inclined to sleep on a sodden mattress, marched off to get her own bucket of water (charitable construction: they thought they were playing Holi). But Raja blocked her way. The two grappled for a while, like two mini-pahalwans, and Raja said menacingly, “Don’t… nahin toh mera haath uthh jayega.” The other housemates stood around, feebly protesting.

At which point, I remember switching channels. Who knows what happened after that? Who cares? The next time I watched Bigg Boss, the house was resounding with the sound of wailing babies while the housemates dragged plastic baby dolls (perish the thought, not the kind of dolls you have in mind) all over the place. Obviously it was some sort of bizarre task assigned to them — clear indication that even the unseen master of the house (Bigg Boss) appeared to be losing it.

But Bigg Boss is one of the few shows that has not suffered on account of the ongoing strike by television workers in Mumbai. Most of the other channels are showing repeats. This is probably a good thing for all those poor souls forced to watch serials because somebody else in their homes wants to. But for soap addicts, denied their daily dose of rona dhona, there are serious withdrawal symptoms. Their options? Switch to news channels and watch stories about the aforementioned serials and soaps. Aaj Tak even had a special report on the ‘superstar’ of the small screen — Avika Gor who plays the child bride, Anandi, in Balika Vadhu.

So you had Avika and the little boy who plays her onscreen husband standing awkwardly in the studio while she talked about all the film roles she’s doing and he watched her admiringly. Gradually other small children — all of who act in TV serials and movies — made their appearance on the show. With the success of Balika Vadhu, maybe all serials will start featuring children in leading roles (who knows, a child saas might turn up soon).

As it is, there are plenty of reality shows (read talent hunts) intent on finding the best child singers, dancers, even comedians. They can now hunt for child models, actors, actresses, anchors, musicians, sportspersons etc etc. From children, they can move to hunting for wonder infants who can do mental maths and memorise books. (This is not as daft as it sounds. Our TV industry is fully capable of any of this). We may as well say goodbye to grown-ups and just be content with small stars on the small screen.

Apart from entertainment-oriented reports, what’s the other option on news channels? Well, you could always see the ‘news’ — for instance, how Raj Thackeray, on his birthday, cut a cake that was in shape of the word “Bhaiyya.”

My suggestion — why not try dharmik channels?