Ester years TV

In India, television became popular in the mid 1980s. Initially, Doordarshan started the programme. The programme timings were restricted to a few hrs. in the evenings. Only a few household owned a TV set and the neighbours would throng such houses to view their popular progamme of film songs (chitrageetham). The television has indeed killed the popularity of radio and it was feared that print medium would also follow suit, but it luckily survived and thrived.

Old TV sets

Those were bygone days when TV sets were very huge in size, did not have remotes and the small children were the remotes in any household. Now there is not even a hut which does not have a TV set. There are innumerable channels to choose from in all Indian languages and even foreign channels are available working 24×7.

The yester year serials

In the beginning, all serials would start and end with a song and the same song would be repeated at every interval for ads. Hearing the very same song repeatedly days on end was an ear sore but ultimately this practice is now stopped.

All people are addicted to one or other serial or programme. The serials and advertisements are multi crore busines. There are innumerable agencies making millions of revenue every day, millions of people engaged in acting in programme and its allied business, are making a decent living out of this idiot box.

Serials and advertisement duration

Initially, the serials and films were interrupted for advertisements and people used to switch channels to avoid it. Now a days, even prime time news programmes are interrupted for ads. The time for ads are more than the time allotted for the programme and viewers had options to switch channels. But the advertisers proved themselves a notch above common man by synchronizing advertisement timings in channels so that even if a viewer trying to brow beat the advertisers by switching channels, would end up viewing another advertisement in the other channel. To view a film of 2½ hrs. viewer will have to spend 3½ hrs to 4 hours before the TV. This is being forced upon the viewer even after collecting heavy monthly cable/dish charges.

The law making agencies tried to rein in these channels by fixing duration for advertisements in between progamme but their efforts to curb the advertisement lobby’s freedom was thwarted by the powerful lobby. The greed for making more and more profit by these lobbies leaves the victim, ie., the viewer to bleed. If anyone tries to interfere with the lobby will be silenced with might or money. The advertisement menace has come to a stage where one wonders which is more important, the programme or the advertisement!

The serials and loud back ground music (sound)

Another trouble the viewer is faced is more bothering. The dialogues in any serials are drowned by the loud background music or more louder vocal background shouting ‘oh!….ahhaa!.’ The directors of the programme foolishly believes that louder the background noise, heavier the impression on the viewer. They do not realise that this would result effectively into the opposite of what they intend to do. Either the viewer reduces the sound or immediately switch channels in order to have some peace of mind. When viewer cannot hear the dialogue or follow the story, what is the fun continuing watching the programme?

Sub standard serials

Most of the serials have substandard story that does not stand to the test of logic; which would be dragged for years on end with a pregnant lady who would never deliver! The hero or heroine or any of the characters can easily be replaced by hanging a photo with a garland or with a small announcement that the X is replaced henceforth with Y! A regular viewer who missed that particular episode in which the change is affected would be at sea when he views it next.

All serials will commence the episode with five minutes of repetition of the previous day’s episode with a clear intention to stretch the length of the serial. Out of 30 minutes, the story would be aired maximum for 10 minutes and the rest of the time would be filled with ads or programme promotions!

The historical serials are made in such a way that the historical facts are altogether altered and re-written at the whims and fancies of the script/story writer. For example, there is currently a Malayalam serial in the air viz., ‘Kayamkulam Kochunnniyude makan’. The actors, directors and others openly admit that there was no such character or story in the original ‘Iythihyamala’ written by Kottarathil Shankunni.

Starting to view as a ‘time pass’ entertainment, slowly these serials would make the viewer addicted to it. These serials have become a necessary social evil though it conveys no positive message to the society but only spreads hatred, jealousy, crookedness etc. The serials have successfully become very popular among masses, instilling in the young the dubious methods of how one can sow seeds of treachery, cruelty etc. and push the deviousness to such great lengths to tap maximum cunningness out of it.

Comedy serials

Most of the comedy serials lack the very necessary ingredient, viz., comedy. The actors most of the time overact to impress, filling disgust in the minds of the viewer. Amazing is their nerve in airing such sub standard circus making the very great art of acting a mockery. One would empathize at their lack of ideas or originality.

News channels

The news that are being aired for general consumption by various news channels are also selective, twisted to suit the personal interest of the channel owner, who are mostly politically inclined. The channel will decide what news, how much and at what doze it should be administered. The same goes with print media as well.

I have very rarely watched a serial or movie in TV which I have immensely enjoyed. Some serials like Ramanand Sagar’s ‘Ramayan’ in Hindi was so good that the whole nation, without the difference in cast or creed, waited in front of the idiot box patiently every Sunday from 9 to 10 AM. Even the electricity boards make sure that the power supply is not disrupted during this period to avoid public backlash. The public road even in the metros would be deserted during this period, as though it is a Bharat band! That was the first and the last of such show which has no parallel in the Indian history. It has positively impressed the masses to such an extent that the details are even now livid in everyone’s memory!

This write up is not an attempt to deliver a message that TV viewing is bad or to be ruled out altogether. Except for the ‘serial’ or ‘comedy’ circus, there are a number of educational channels like the National Geographic, Animal planet etc. which are rich in information and are excellent in photography. There is no match for their camera work anywhere else. Hats off to the dedication of the team behind the great presentation!

Let me conclude with a healthy advice that one should be a very selective TV viewer and should devote more time for reading which is more beneficial.

This blog is prepared without the support of any documentary evidence but based purely on my experience and close observation as a common but vigilant TV viewer. The opinion expressed here are truly my own and is published without any personal interest or bias. This write up is not against any channel/serial/news. This is written on public interest only.

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