The 'real' people on Indian Television have stepped out in the open like never before. These are the people you high-five in college or go on bike trips with. These people consists of your next-door-neighbour, your barber's son or just another demure colleague. Now, they all are breaking away from what they are to try a hand at becoming what they wanted to. A singer, a masterchef, a crorepati or just a Roadie!
The 'Content is King' adage is beginning to fade away as TRP-dictated content is now ruling the roost. The changing trends in consumer taste in television have given rise to programming which promises to convert dreams to reality.
Now that real people are involved, there is a free flow of real emotions as well. Wannabe Idols take to the podium to fulfill 'Papa ka sapna'. Lil Champs dance to the tune of parental pressure. On the other hand we have KBC history maker - Rs 5 crore winner jiving for few more minutes of fame. Who could predict that we could see book worm Sushil Kumar's Jhalak so soon and that too in a dance reality show? Clearly Aam Admi wanting to become Khas.
Infact substance vs trash on TV debate will continue to simmer as the inflow of junk on TV is only increasing. 'The Dirty Picture' doesn't seem to be that dirty after all as the content on the small screen is far sleazier than what we see in the theaters now. The programmers of the small screen have also taken a leaf out of B-grade cinema. While the kissing scene in Bade Acche Lagte Hain raised the hackles of moral police, there are many other seedy ones operating right under the nose of TV censor authorities. Splistvilla is one such raunchy love show which raises the temperature and TRPs alike. The vulgar trappings of prize money force a bunch of boorish contestants to outdo each other. They claim it's for love (Ha!).
Even the titles on some Indian TV shows are dangerously seductive. A cookery show is named Love Bite where cheese and cleavage is on abundant display. Then there is another suggestive title Yogasutra which is a visual treat for fitness enthusiasts. Two perfectly chiseled bodies barely wearing loincloth rub against each other while performing yoga asanas. The channel is clearly giving out generous doses of Good Times to all voyeurs out there.
I also feel that too much hard-hitting realism has made me long for pre-cable Doordarshan era. I cringe each time I hear Raghu Ram hurling obscenities, acne-ridden teens taking fidelity tests or an angst-laden gamer playing truth and dare on National TV. Where are those innocent episodes of Circus, Nukkad or even grand epics like Mahabharat? Today, when I see the modern-day Panchali in an itsy bitsy eye-piercing outfit, I want to run to the woods, screaming in terror.
I really want to see real people on TV, but their eccentricities and complexities ruin the content and raise the TRPs. I want to have fun and laugh a bit when I switch on TV and I don't want to tune into Comedy Central for that. Our people and our programmers have the potential. All we need is a stern ringmaster!