Thursday, June 17, 2010

Deteriorating Indian Television

I was probably 10 years old when my fascination with television started. In our times watching too much of television was a kind of taboo and kids who were more exposed to the idiot box were actually looked like outcasts by the parents of “good-kids”. I however was a T.V. buff and was in the bad kids’ club for many reasons. I liked to watch cartoons, the mythological serials and quiz-shows. In our school there were debates, which you hardly find now, about the pros and cons of the television. These debates were heated ones and I always used to favor the television whole-heartedly. I am sure about the fact that such debates are very much archaic in these times.

As time progressed, the technology of television developed by leaps and bounds. The onslaught of cable television with satellite services then the successive migration from cable to d2h has hardly taken much time. I can say this because the technology became more mature at a much faster rate than actually me. It seemed as if the technology had had a serious syndrome of progeria where a person becomes mature at a much faster rate than you can ever imagine. There are HD-TVs now, the conventional CRT is a thing of past and there are LED-TVs. Today houses have more than one television and that too of much high-end capabilities. Having said this I want to just make one point, having a good body and sharp features may not essentially evolve the soul also. The soul of television is not the technology per say but actually the programs that are actually aired.

I remember how I used to wait for “Mahabharat” to be aired every Sunday and also wait for quiz time. People actually used to adjust their timings on the basis of the shows that were aired in the CRT television with only one channel earlier. Today the thing is very different. You have soap-operas that run for ages together, and also with re-runs, so if you have missed the main part you are not worried and you can watch it on the re-run. The soap-operas just stretch the stories on and on like a rubber band and then when the TRPs just fall they just end abruptly. You cannot call these un-creative programs as serials because in a serial there is a script that is pre-planned for a particular number of episodes and then there is a conclusive end to the serial that leaves a kind of impression in the minds of people. It arises the want for the people to see more of it, but also gives a kind of indication that, it ended on a good note. Today’s stories are a bit different.

We have stories that openly depict polyandry and philandering in its epitomic best. The female/male protagonists seldom have any kind of moral obligations towards the viewers and justify their amorous acts on a more placid platform. There is also the case of story stretching on and on and on top of that too many soap operas that are actually of similar nature. The essence of television is not the television box itself but the programs. What is the fun if you are actually having a full HD television but you are actually watching cranky shows on that box? Does it actually make any sense to invest or spend so much money on buying that television set? How long can you just admire the picture quality but ignore the malaise that you are experiencing due to watching such unscrupulous shows that are not only testing your patience but also leaving a negative impact on the home atmosphere in general. Does it really give you the peace of mind that you actually want? Or is it just giving you a reason to escape from the world for some time. If that is only the reason, escapism, then who really needs a HD TV for that. This objective can be well achieved if you are having a normal television, even black and white, for that matter, because the colors in the show are also of no importance to you.

Gone are the days when there used to be gripping stories of human values and behavior. There were distinctive shades in each and every show and every show was addressed to a specific viewer. I agree that this concept has now changed as you have a separate channel catering to your specific needs, but needs as specific they get, are not unlimited. Because you may have the need to watch news but this need may not be there for the entire 24 hrs of the day. Variety is a also a factor which we are not looking at and this is the reason why you have to swap channels frequently, for variety. However, now the issue is that we have more channels and good technology but less interesting programs. 95% of the time I have swapped all the channels in my television and concluded that nothing interesting is being aired on the television, and I bet this also has been the feeling that many of us have had when trying to find solace in television in idle times.

So on a concluding note, the importance today should be given to the content rather than the technology. Technology is heartless; it is a mere amalgamation of logic and precedence. However, humans have emotions which alone technology cannot suffice, nor can it be compensated by mechanical TV soap operas. These emotional buds are actually excited when they see something which is different and rich in content. There should be always an effort to innovate and supply rich content to the viewer, which is not happening.

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