One of the nicest things about TV is that you can see movies you’ve missed out on. But there are three not-so-nice things about watching films on the movie channels.
First, all channels repeat films ad nauseum. I understand that they don’t have libraries running into lakhs and that acquiring films is an expensive affair. But, as a viewer, it is annoying to check out the movie schedules and discover that this must be the fifth time in as many weeks that X or Y film is being shown. Unless viewers aspire to do a thesis on the film concerned or want to learn all the dialogues by heart and recite them to some poor soul, I don’t think they’re dying to see the same films again and again. Second, the number of ad breaks during a film. I guess this is a sore point with TV in general — whatever you see — movies, serials, news — will be interrupted by commercials. We have to live with it (though sometimes ads do have their uses — for loo breaks, phone call breaks, getting-unhealthy-snack breaks). But perhaps the ad breaks could be a little shorter, a little less frequent? (Thank god at least there are some — too few sadly — one-ad-break movie telecasts).
The third point is the censorship of dialogues. This is especially bizarre in the case of English movies where relatively innocuous words are replaced in the subtitles. The word ‘crap’ is all right but its synonym isn’t. ‘Darn’ is okay but ‘damn’? No way. ‘Sex’? Never! (Imagine what happens if a character says something like ‘People of the opposite sex…’ And I don’t even want to think of what would happen if they showed certain Hollywood films where the dialogues are rather, er, colourful. Not showing such films at all would probably be the best option). Oddly enough, this censoring happens even with films that are telecast late at night when presumably children are fast asleep with their teddy bears.
But though a three-hour film can become a four-hour film because of the ads, I suppose it’s better than not having a film to watch at all. On the entertainment channels, X Factor continues to rock on Sony. Though the eliminations have started, complete with tearful farewells (seriously, why does everyone cry so much?), the show remains fun. All the singing is not first-rate (the way it is on, say, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa), but the show is glamorous and entertaining. The singers are more performers than singers and the songs are more acts than mere songs. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s team is particularly interesting (I so like the full-throated and melodious music group Deewana). But even Shreya Ghoshal and Sonu Niigaam have some endearing team members — the sixty-plus, Rafi fan Kartar Singh (Shreya’s team) and the tomboyish headband-wearing 17-year-old (Sonu’s team). Absolutely worth a dekho.
In Just Dance (Star Plus), the overseas auditions are adding a nice international touch to the show. Many of the UK dancers can’t even speak Hindi, but there’s no miss-step when it comes to executing the customary Bollywood jhatkas. If you can block out some of the
Hrithik hype, the show’s energy (rather, the rubber- bodied-greased-lightning-on-coiled-springs dancers’ energy) does give it a certain buzz.
And finally. I did manage to see a bit of Zee’s other new show Shobha Somnath Ki. If you like period costume dramas in the time-honoured desi TV style, please do watch it. If you don’t, well, the remote is always there.