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September 19, 2009

Regressive Indian Television

My family thinks I should have been born in a foreign land and that I have mistakenly born in India. The reason I watch too much of English movies and soaps. I don’t think I am responsible for that.

If anyone watches the Indian television soaps, one would come to a conclusion that men in India just don’t exist. All the soaps are aimed at women and the men are supposed to stick to sports, news, business (if they have stock investment) and yes of course discovery and national geographic channels if their interests lies in science and nature.

There is hardly any kind of show on the Indian television which caters to the need of the men. I don’t think that leaves me with much of a choice except to watch Hollywood movies and soaps which does not show any kind of bend towards gender.

Only one channel probably comes close that has been able to cater to the needs of the youth in form of reality shows, this does sound a bit of irony considering the fact that the highest percentage of age group population is the youth in India and there is nothing on the television that caters to their need.

I do consider myself lucky that when I was growing up, there were some great soaps on the Indian television with messages and everything shown in a positive way.

The Sundays have never been the same as they were back in the old days which started with Rangoli and ended up with watching Ramayan/Mahabharat which would have the whole family glued to the television set and streets would be empty. I don’t think that is a sight I will ever see again.

There were so many great shows like Giant Robot, Malgudi Days, Nukkad, Vikram aur Betaal, Bharat Ek Khoj, Rajani, Fauji, Param Vir Chakra, Byomkesh Bakshi, Circus, Surbhi and many more that I watched as a kid. Cable channels too had some good soaps in the beginning!

I am still clueless how the Indian television which had such a great start came to a point that regressive soaps replaced it and the only thing that one could imagine is that a women’s past time is to hatch plans against her family on flimsy grounds for personal gain.

As for the men they are reduced to side actors or helping the women in their plots. We are supposed to call ourselves a modern India yet the Indian television represents an orthodox, conservative mentality that should have been best left in the past. I am not really sure if people understand how powerful the television can be in influencing human minds.

Just consider this as an example; Nitish Bhardwaj who played the famous role of Krishna in Mahabharata was treated like God when he visited villages for campaigning elections this was at a time which the reach of the television was still limited to the cities. One could only imagine the kind of influence it would have on the thinking mentality today when these regressive serials reaches in the living rooms of the rural people with a belief that if its on TV then it must be true!!

Why is there such a gross misrepresentation of the modern society in the Indian television? What is funny that all this is done saying that the audience demands such content and that’s why they show it. Do they really think that one can make a fool out of the audience not knowing what kind of crap is being showed? The makers of such shows do seem to live in a different reality.

In a bid to garner the highest TRP’s for the show, they sometimes give the shock effect. Remember the character Mihir Virani (Remember the Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi serial) coming back to life after a public outcry. I am still wondering what kind of audience that would be who would sit and watch crap serials like this.

Off late reality shows seems to be the new fad, with every channel coming out with its own reality show. Reality shows like KBC, Dus Ka Dum are good but some of the reality shows are shown with an attempt to show how low one contestant can fall with all the twisted kind of tasks put in.

To be honest, living life is nothing short of battle that we all go through and at the end of the day; I don’t think anyone would like to watch the same thing over and over again. Unless these reality shows have a point to prove they won’t have a future!!

Who decides to telecast such soaps? They are the guys who apparently have a master’s degree against their education qualification and approve such “narrow-minded” shows that are aired on the channels. For them, TRP’s seem to be more important than showing good content. What I don’t understand how good content can be considered overrated that regressive serials are favored over them?

Though there have been a few exceptions where certain shows have come out with a social motive. I hope that others (makers of the serials) too understand that nothing attracts the viewer’s attention than good content.

Yes, last but not the least, do make serials for the younger generation too and yes men do watch the idiot box when they are at home, so please if anyone is planning to make a show keep that in mind...

BTW, came across a trailer of a new reality show which is nothing short of sadism at its best. Its about couples taking care of a babies. Here is the clip. I think that this should be banned and wonder what kind of parents give away their child to strangers just to earn a few bucks?

This is what we call entertainment?

P.S. Doordarshan channel recently completed 50 years of telecast. I miss those old days!! Koi lauta to woh bete huiye din :((


indianhomemaker said...

Very relevant post Survivor!! I have not seen this proggramme but will watch the video... another blogger had mentioned it but I didn't realise exactly what it was.

I find LADIES SPECIAL worth watching, I blogged about it too. And I love romantic comedies on Star Movies, HBO etc, can't stand and never even tried watching all this saas bahu stuff.

Sunil said...

Hi there,
This one is a really good one.
If collect the tears of Saas & Bahus who watch such serials I think there won't be any drought in India.
The only impact these serials have is that the have spoiled the entire female fraternity.

I'm happy that I don't own the idiot box. And I wish my wife too won't have any such liking.


early days of doordarsan..
nice post

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Awesome write! I detest reality shows of any kind and the manner in which they are projected on Indian television!

And why do I watch a lot of English creations is not because I identify with them, but because of the quality and depth in them, which is highly appreciable!

The Survivor said...


I read that post. I cannot live without movies :)

Do watch the link, I appalled the lows the Indian television has hit in terms of "entertainment"

@ Sunil

Thanks Mate

That was a good one :) I would agree.

Don't own a idiot box, that's rare

The Survivor said...


Those were some days!!

@ Rakesh

Thanks Mate. Yeah at least they are not mediocre the way our Indian television is!!

Karthik said...

I just happen to stumble upon your blog and I'm already patting my back for doing so..
Well, I agree with everything you've said. But you know, no matter how much we rant about it, these shows cannot be stopped from being made. Only thing we can do is to stop encouraging these shows.
Your style of writing is awesome, man. Lucid and compelling. Loved it very much.

P.S. I've written an article which is quite similar to this one. A take on reality shows, titled - 'The Real(ity) Rapists.' Check it out and lemme know what you think.

Shas said...

You reminded me of doordarshan days. As a child i loved watching those fairy tales, Byomkesh Bakshi was the best detective serial i ever saw and i was literally in love with Jesse Mark of 'Street Hawk' other serials like Jindagi, Sanjha Chulha and Kashis were worth watching.

The Survivor said...

@ Karthik

Welcome to LIFE

Thanks for the kind words, Mate.

If we make too many noises many they would after all no one wants falling TRP's right?

I'll check that out

@ Shas

Welcome to LIFE

Byomkesh Bakshi was very innovative as a detective. There are so many serials from the past that makes one go ga ga :)

Grayquill said...

Maybe the TV execs are not interested in good entertainment.
Someone once said, follow the money there you will find your answer. TV is in the business of selling advertising not entertaining. Teh money comes from advertisers. The product only has to be good enough to get viewers who will watch the advertising. Thus, advertisers sell product. Who are the advertisers and who are they trying to reach? Who spends the money in the average Indian family? The woman?

The Survivor said...

@ Grayquill

Show me the money seems to be their punch line.

I understand what you say but its just out of my damn wits of what kind of crap is being promoted

rauf said...

They want money Yogesh, there is money in making women shed tears. They have the time to sit watch and cry. My sisters and niece watch together. Its difficult to shift their attention. The Indian soaps are very well made and marketed. Some are very crude, specially in the South, Just count the commercials. When the money comes flooding in they will never think of improving the quality.

The Survivor said...

@ Rauf Sir

I know this is the sad truth but it also goes on to instill a conservative mindset in this modern era something that we could done away with!!

Deepali said...

I get called 'ungrez' because I watch mostly english on tv. And I keep trying to explain to everyone that its not about language but about quality and presentation. Sure I wouldn't watch news in hindi because english is still a preferred language but in terms of shows and stuff, language doesn't really matter as much as what they are showing and how they are showing it. It's quite sad that people don't understand. Same with movies - it's not about the language but the story (and sometimes things like the performance, genre, etc).

Anyway I couldn't agree more about the crap they show on TV. I honestly don't know how people watch this stuff. But trust me they do. In my house these ghisa pita saas bahu rona dhona shows go on from 7 pm to 11 pm. It's crazy.

Never watched a lot of tv as kids but have heard a bunch of people say the same thing you are saying here about good shows in the past on tv. I only ended up watching a little Ramayan and Mahabharat (and its good I did otherwise I would know 0 mythology cause I definitely wouldnt be interested in reading this stuff etc).

Seeing things at my house, I actually do have a fair idea of why such shows work - but too lazy to type it all out now. Maybe some other time.

Thankfully I found my way around having to fight for the TV to watch my shows - we had another TV without a connection so just got a connection (with limited channels) on that TV :D

The Survivor said...

@ Deepali

The Doordarshan days were the best days of television!!

pankaj said...

good to know that people with the right mindset still exist in this country.

I just hope that some common sense prevails and Indian television gives us some quality content.

The Survivor said...

@ Pankaj

Welcome to LIFE

Thanks Mate. me too!! Apologize for the late reply.

pankaj said...

saw your comment now... after a long time :) ... things are still the same on Indian TV... however, crime patrol on sony TV seems to be an exception.. other than that.. kuch nahi badla... how i wish..if i had enough money, i would have started a channel of my own.. with quality content..