Indian television- the vanishing wonder.
It was 9 pm. After an ordinary day at the college, I took a little nap and snapped onto the sofa for some entertainment. Usually, it is my phone too which I look up to but as Android phones have a battery as long as a panelist’s time on Arnab’s show, I switched on the television.
The very first channel was an ad-channel, where they sell products with excitement seen nowhere else. Then I moved to news channels, thinking maybe I could just update myself with the happenings in the country. All I could find was unorganized chaos and opinions disguised in the form of facts. Finally, I resorted to entertainment channels thinking that this will relieve me of my plight. Unfortunately, it was the most depressing of all. It was not just the quality, but the basic themes and structures were questionable and even hazardous to the society. As a result, I just switched off the television and waited for my phone to charge, so I could write about this.
Indian television used to be the ideal source for entertainment. It had remarkable visuals and melodious audio to convey a story. It had everything to be a success and it was indeed. It was being used so much, that it was given a negative connotation after a point.
The Indian television is a strong medium to express new thoughts and ideas. It can be used a tool to improve our society. But lately, it has not been even close to its objective. I can understand the saas-bahu serials being popular in the 2000s and how melodramatic stories would get all of India to their feet. Somehow they made it to 2010s and even in 2017, there is an abundance of those shows where the storyline is as predictable as an Indo-Pak World Cup match.
I understand that there is an audience that likes these types of shows but every network has only them airing. There is one more genre that has taken the Indian TV by a storm. The shows talking about Indian mythology have made it like never done before. They were there in the past and there are here now also. The only things that have changed now are better visual effects and the likeness in the flying of Hanuman and the Superman itself. Mind you, I do not have problems with any of them. It is just that some good shows are rejected because TV executives are not willing to take the risk. The audience watches them having no other option and they get their desired ratings
This has led to a conundrum where Indian TV is faltering at a staggering rate. I do not even remember the last time India had a good sitcom since ‘Sarabhai vs Sarabhai’. There is a sincere dearth of shows where quality is the supreme aspect. It is time to move forward from the mythology and the daily soaps.
This is where the digital media has cashed in. Web-series as good as Pitchers and Permanent Roommates are doing the rounds and people love them. TVF’s Pitchers have even made it to Top 30s of IMDb Top Shows. A feat no Indian show could ever achieve. As an urban teenager, I do not find anything on TV that is relatable so I move to Youtube, Netflix and Amazon Prime where the best of content is available.
Now Indian television has to gear up and has to start thinking about it. The executives need to rise above the ratings and start producing shows with new concepts and better quality stories. They need to understand that their audience is smart enough and they need good content to switch on the TV next day again. Otherwise, a fully charged mobile is just an hour away.