I could have put a more catchy title, the one that entices the reader into clicking it the moment he sees it. I desisted from it because ‘de-sensationalisation’ is the topic of this post.
As far as I remember, it all started with Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki. (You know what.)
In 90s, TV serials like Hum Paanch, Dekh Bhai Dekh, Hasratein, Junoon, Shanti were popular. They were a mix of comedy and drama. I remember watching Junoon with intrigue, though I had no clue what was going on. Serials in the 90s had a defined genre and each channel (as far as I remember the popular ones were DD, Zee, Sony, Home TV, Star) showed a mix of each genre.
The drama serials like Saans, Saara Aakash had a central theme and refrained from over-dramatisation – the famous thappad scenes from Ekta Kapoor’s serials or slow motions weren’t used then. Background music served to help immerse the viewer in the scene, not to agitate his very core and raise heartbeats for an outlandish scene unfolding on the screen.
You might notice I use ‘he’ for the viewer. A majority of serial viewers are ‘she’ then and now. I use ‘he’ because it is my writing style. However, it is a fact that in the 90s, at least the males in the house sometimes watched these soaps. Now, the Saas-Bahu and other supernatural sagas are so over-the-top that they seem to cater to only the women folk in the house. Don’t get me wrong, I am not stereotyping by saying that women love these garish soaps and men are more mature in their preference of TV serials. What I want to say is – most men have opted out when they found that the soaps are not of their taste, while the women have unwittingly adapted to watching whatever the telly throws at them. That said, there are still men who enjoy the present day soaps. To each his own, eh?
Yes, to each his own. Till they leave what they watch on screen and flip back to real life. What I see happening is – under the pretext of harmless indulgence, the ‘watchers’ of these serials are taking ‘lessons’ from them and implementing them in real life. The ‘middle-class’ that once prided itself on being educated and above the lowly family drama happening in the lives of the uneducated, is now relishing the added spice in their lives by replicating the drama happening in similar educated middle-class families’ lives on screen. If you know what kind of soaps are being shown on the TV these days, you might understand where I am coming from. You might also see that I am beating around the bush by not pinpointing the exact strains these serials are creating within the key relationships in households.
Compare an out and out Saas-Bahu drama with Tu-Tu Main-Main. Which one would you rather watch? If we don’t have a Tu-Tu Main-Main now, why are we lamely accepting the Saas-Bahu drama being telecast in its slot? Why don’t we switch to Discovery or National Geographic instead? Or why don’t we simply switch off the TV?!
That brings me to comedy. Point me to a good Hindi comedy show, and I’ll take this whole article back. Taarak Mehta was good when it started. Now it has become a caricature of itself. (Oh it was a caricature from the start? Well, I agree. Read the original Taarak Mehta to know the actual wit of the author.) Kapil Sharma Show is hideous. Yes, hideous. It tries bringing Omar Sherif’s ‘Bakra Kishton Pe’ flavour, by showing unnecessary and cliched husband-wife exchanges but doesn’t realise that the time when such jokes were socially acceptable is passé. Well, how do I blame them? When viewers are lapping up the trashy comedy, who am I to say that it is unacceptable?
I have more to say on this subject. I stop here, to return to it with more organised thoughts. Till then, hope you find something good and worthwhile to watch on the telly. Otherwise, you’ll be lending credence to its much popularised and undeserved nickname – The Idiot Box.
As for me, I find solace in YouTubing the shows that I like.