Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Truly multi-media

Television has changed. Thank God.

 Gone are the Tulsis and Parvatis and the entire generation of low IQ TV shows they had inspired - I don't care to be politically correct. If you don't agree with my views, read some other blog. While the sari-clad, heavily bejewelled bahus no longer rule the roost, the intellectual damage they have done to Indian television will take some more years to repair. The Ballika Vadhu generation of popular soaps address serious social issues - but in form, story development, characterisation and dialogue, they still largely survive on Balaji-created clichés. Good girls still prefer ethnic wear, and a pair of well-toned skirt clad legs usually carries a femme fatale with evil intent. Sigh.

 But well, a Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai isn't everybody's cup of tea. Intelligent television humour is what I'm talking about. Sarabhai created its own definitions, with characters replacing old clichés with fresh pet peeves. Who can forget the middle class Monisha; lazy and lovable, missing no chance to save every rupee of her wealthy hubby, to the point of selling stale wine packed in a plastic bag to a cop! That was Star One of yore, with fresh, funny, youthful content which provided good relief from the run-of-the-mill productions of that time. Sadly, Star One soon sold out. Dill Mil Gaye and Mile Jab Hum Tum might not fall into the Saans-Bahu category as rightfully boasted by their respective makers, but the bird brained doctors and collegians looking like 30-year-olds definitely don't qualify as quality television…

 So well, the change I’m talking about isn’t really a change in content. A few shows might have relaxed the dress code for their leading ladies, but television IQ has a long way to recover. What I am talking about then, is the PR approach. TV shows realise that to get noticed in times of shorter attention span, they need to have a presence on various media. Who would have thought 10 years ago of a TV show sponsoring another show on another channel as part of its promotional campaign? Or for that matter TV stars pretending to be their screen selves for the benefit of media? Enter Sony Entertainment Television. Some years ago, the ingenious publicity campaign of totally overwriting Mona Singh’s true identity with the bespectacled Jassi succeeded in creating sustainable hype around the otherwise mundane show. The same channel now has gone a step further for the new show Bhaskar Bharti – a lame TV execution of an outrageous concept. A guy turns to a girl overnight, and is doomed to a woman’s life.

 While the show itself is lame, the way it is being promoted is interesting – besides the usual hoardings and advertisements, Bharti maintains a blog and regularly updates her Facebook and Twitter profiles. Now, TV shows having a Facebook profile may not be new, only that here, the tweets are actually an extension of the fictional show. Wish that kind of creativity had also gone into the making of the show.

 What intrigues one is, what if that idea was applied to some classic old shows – imagine what Joey (from Friends) would daily tweet about – who’d be on Harriet Brindle’s friend network? Maybe we’ll soon have an entire network of fictional characters tweeting on the net, forever blurring the line between Tellyworld and cyberspace…


  1. Hey Deepti! congrats for starting your blog. Nice article!

  2. Thank you. An Autorin is what I really want to be. Since I don't have the nerve, a blog should do.