Saturday, August 28, 2010

The New Age Reality

Why will anyone sane tolerate some`thing' (someone maybe) like this? What is wrong with all of us? To what levels of voyeurism can we stretch ourselves....

These emotions are not an outburst any more - I have got used to feeling like this whenever I read about reality shows. I can't help not reading about them - the extensive coverage our media wallahs bestow on inki-pinki-dimpy is just phenomenal in its reach and obnoxious in its sheer volume. I have honestly started missing the doordarshan days when we all used to wait for 9:00 p.m. hindi news and 9:30 p.m. English news read by suave and elegant anchors like Salma Sultan, Minu Talwar, Rini ..(I forget her last name...). The content was usually centered around news (anyone of the current generation will be surprised!!) from national and international events inevitably ending with the char mahanagron ka tapmaan....(nostalgia..sigh!!).

Fast forward 20 years. Now the news studios are much better equipped with a constant array of flashy pictures behind the anchors sitting petite amidst a barrage of bright reds and greens. The reporters now have a much more informal and relaxed disposition to begin with and look like celebrities themselves - and all this could have been for the good you know! Unfortunately most of the times things do not work like that - you cannot giggle and pull your face in weird angles to compensate for abject lack of journalistic intelligence and substance especially when you pretend to work for a 'responsible' news channel. Period. I guess that is why news channels are making the smart move of redefining what is news all about in the first place - something which even a moron from the road can have an opinion and get away with. You do not need to be an Einstein to predict that once again the TRP ratings are highest for some Ekta Kapoor serial, or Amitabh Bachchan has landed yet another deal with few more crore in his kitty, or Rakhi sawant is deciding to do a jhatka dance in her forthcoming movie... the list is endless. Then again things do not stop here. I still vividly remember when Aishwarya Rai got hurt during shooting one of her films - one 'sabse tez' channel did a full half an hour feature where one of their journalists was asked to permanently camp outside the hospital where she was admitted and diligently cover all her visitors. The beacon of responsible journalism did not extinguish here. We were also illuminated with the time-resolved details of the tragedy as a digital clock kept clicking dutifully in the lower right hand corner of the screen while the journalist followed and questioned various visitors. I am not being apathetic all you Aishwarya rai fans out there - maybe you all really needed to know all this about your screen diva. At least she is good looking folks! But now this has gone too far...Rahul Mahajan !!?? Okay we can be interested how he was discovered almost dead on drugs soon after his famous father Pramod Mahajan's death, maybe how he was doing when he was jailed, maybe even when he decided to enter big boss house and coo sweet nothings into ears of some wannabe .... and then his swayamwar ..really? And now how many people can be genuinely interested in the even more tamsha this tamasha wedding is throwing all over the place, or how many women has he beaten up till date or when does he reunite with his battered and bruised darling wife? COME ON... give us a break! (I am sure Late Mr. Mahajan must be tossing and turning in his grave - he could have taken a few PR lessons from his media-savvy son to improve the fortunes of his party which is becoming increasingly obsolete on the political scene).

The argument which is usually forwarded in such cases is that of demand and supply. It seems many of us can't resist the cheap thrills of having a peep into anyone's and anybody's life, especially if it comes loaded with with all the nautanki! Let us start by at least refraining from calling it 'reality' television --- the glaring light of media cameras are adept at distorting, changing and engineering illusions. Further, I am not entirely convinced of the demand-supply argument --- imagine yourself walking down a road when you encounter a madman doing some weird antics. You are bound to give it a longer look than usual and might even be interested in what he is up to. He might garner a bunch of onlookers, in fact, if his maneuvers are sufficiently entertaining and non-dangerous. But does this imply that we find this nuisance engaging enough to be forced down our throats 5 days a week through a reality show where 10 madmen compete for some big sum of money by being their eccentric best (I should patent this idea I guess ...going by the times, you never know!)?? The unfortunate truth is that channels consider even their audience eccentric enough, to not only digest this rubbish but sometimes also participate in it by furiously voting for their

So let us call upon Prannoy Roy on 'The World This Week' to announce that some 'Rajni' round the 'Nukkad' got along with 'Jasoos Karamchand' to save 'Hum log' from this 'Circus'. Hope that this will not turn out to be one of the 'Mungeri Lal ke Haseen Sapne'.