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An assault on the senses

After along day at work, I usually come home and camp infront of the idiot box. What better than some mindless hipshaking -bosom thrusting to take away office blues-but ever since MTV has switched over from music television to reality shows plus weird programming my staple diet has gone for a toss. As a result I am being forced..yes forced to seek recluse in the land of pancaked kitchen politics-Sony,Colors etc.And having your parents stay with you gives you a regional flavor as well.

So we have these serials which have tested my love for the idiot box.

Serial one (called manasputri I think) has our stylish-polyester vamp who is out to destroy the happiness of all who are clad in cotton and hence pure of heart. She steals the inheritance and the boyfriend of our leading lady who is too busy self sacrificing. (sample below).

So when i caught our serial last week-finally the vamp had been vanquished and arrested. And the heroic inspector on the side of law and all that is just went into a slapping frenzy.

“You vixen” (slap)

“You scheming lowlife” (slap)

“I’ ll make sure you are not fit to harm anyone ever” (slap)

While I am all for good prevailing over evil, let me tell you a rotound, potbellied inspector slapping a woman silly isnt my favorite way of achieving that.

Serial two (called parijatam) has the ever suffering wife whose alcoholic, abusive husband doesnt bat an eyelid falling all over other women or killing his own child. Of course he is doing all this under the influence of the stylish-polyester step mom (who is eyeing the family fortune) and we as the Tv audience wait for the day our lady in cotton finally shows him the error of his ways because beneath the binge drinking, infant killing abusive facade lies a heart of gold. Of course filing for a divorce post administering a correctly aimed kick in the nether regions is unheard of.

But the best of the lot comes from Ekta Maata’s stable. Apparently its the in thing in Balaji studios these days to replace havelis with tulsi in angan with stories based on real life set in chawls and other representations of the poor and the helpless. So this story (Bairi Piya) set in what I assume is Vidharbha where farmers are deep in the clutches of the village moneylender. And since they have nothing to pledge most of them being the responsible loving parents they are have pledged their young daughters to him. The money lender then carts these women off to pay off their debt to the village thakur. The main plot point comes when the thakur falls for one such pledged woman-our heroine Amoli. So you ask doesnt all this happen in real life? Maybe it does. But am sure the thakur isnt a former Grasim Mr.India contestant.And yes in real life a rapist thakur is not expected to reform through love for a cat eyed village belle.

More blogger opinions on this wonderful story here and here.

My only question is apparently there are viewers who love all this and lap it up resulting in blockbuster TRPs. But isnt there a significant class of people like me who desire to see something closer to our lives and something less cringeworthy. Can YRF television fill this gap? (MahiWay seems promising but I dont want to speak too soon and jinx it).

And Ekta Maata, while once upon a time your serials where so-bad-that- its-good-for-comic-relief, now its just plain crass.

There..am done. Now let me go and watch Splitsvilla-world war three for love(cough.cough.) in peace.

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Posted by on January 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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The moment of truth

You must have seen the gameshow by now. Everyone I know has. In case you havent it goes like this

Prior to the show, a contestant is hooked up to a polygraph and asked more than 50 questions; there is no polygraph testing conducted during the actual show. Without knowing the results of the polygraph, he or she is asked 21 of those same questions again on the program, each becoming progressively more personal in nature. If the contestant answers honestly, according to the polygraph results, he or she moves on to the next question; however, should a contestant lie in his or her answer (as determined by the polygraph) or simply refuse to answer a question after it has been asked, the game ends.

The questions vary, increasing in difficulty and degree of personal nature of the questions. To date, no contestant has reached the final tier. Sometimes, a “surprise guest” – such as an ex-partner or a good friend – will come on the stage and ask a particularly difficult question. Friends, colleagues, and family of the contestant who are gathered near the player have access to a button which can be used to switch out a question once per game, an option which is introduced to them after the third question.

Personal nature means personal nature. Those questions carry an amount of money for a reason.Sample

Contestant Lauren Cleri admitted to committing adultery and that she believes she is meant to be married to an ex-boyfriend instead of her husband. The latter was a replacement question after Lauren’s sister hit the button to keep her from answering the question of whether she’d leave her husband if the same ex-boyfriend (who was present to read this question and the replacement question to her) wanted her back. She won $100,000 and went on to play for $200,000, but lost everything on the question, “Do you think you’re a good person?” She answered “Yes,” which, according to the polygraph, was revealed to be false.In May 2008, Frank Cleri filed for divorce.

Why do people like me watch the show?Can there be a better tamasha substitute than washing of individual’s dirty laundry in public?You pretend to be shocked as questions of personal nature surface eagerly waiting for the contestants partner’s reaction. As their faces shrink on public embarressment you quickly pass judgement on the morality of the contestant, sympathise with the embarrassed partner and then salivate at the prospect of the next question being more demeaning than the current. You wonder how much is this person willing to push the envelop for cold,hard cash.

Why do people participate in such a show?And why do people with dubious past/serious dysfunctional character flaws participate in such a show?Is it the money?15 minutes of fame?To clean out their closet?

Maybe in a “log kya kahenge” society like ours such a gameshow will not find contestants but if shows like MTV Splitsvilla can maybe we have can expect something like this in near future.

But my point is can you  tell the truth all the time?

All of us live our lives of hypocracy-with absolute truths,half-truths and lies. Why even the Bhagwad Geeta propounds that a lie that is for the benefit of another is worth a hundred truths. Perhaps to really grasp what I will say next you need to have seen the questioning followed in the show. How many of us can put our hands on our heart and say we have never desired at any point better parents,siblings or even a partner-maybe more successful, more goodlooking. Haven’t we felt ashamed at some practices our parents hold dear which may have aliented us from our childhood/teenage peers? Maybe you have not indulged in adultery but havent you checked out the hottie in office/class and for a split second wondered “what if”?You can say its in the mind and I have never acted on it. Again don’t thoughts lead to action and more importantly when you are hooked up on a polygraph and your mind races for the “morally correct” answer in front of your loved ones, will your palms clam and your heartbeat race just a bit to pronounce you a liar.

I think the simple statistic that no contestant has ever won the jackpot answers the question that perhaps we do not expect or desire complete truths all the time from people around us. Often walking away after finishing a particular tier, the contestants rather let certain questions remain unanswered (although certain truths may have already caused irreparable damage). Just like real life. Sometimes its better to not know the truth. Because the truth may not set you free.

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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