News as unusual

PMO tweets,an ad shows Rahul Gandhi,soaps have intimate scenes — are there larger changes afoot on TV?

Written by Shailaja Bajpai | Published: February 2, 2012 3:52 am

PMO tweets,an ad shows Rahul Gandhi,soaps have intimate scenes — are there larger changes afoot on TV?

Now that the prime minister is all a-Twitter,we hear him regularly — chirpy-chirpy cheep-cheep. No sooner had the Supreme Court ruled on Subramanian Swamy’s petition,Tuesday,than the PMO was tweeting: “We welcome the fact that both learned judges have completely vindicated the Prime Minister…” The statement was as bland as boiled vegetables,but at least it was food for thought. Kinda.

More snack news from those fast news joints,the Hindi news channels. Watch them at 8 pm and you’ll get a moveable feast of news — for instance,Aaj Tak’s Non-Stop 100 and India TV’s Superfast 200. They telecast a variety of news from India and across the globe; what’s more,it is divided into segments — politics,international,business,sports,entertainment,snow-turns-into-fire,man-bites-dog — and much more that is useful and useless. Plenty of news here,so the next time you turn up your nose at the Hindi news,lower your head.

Imran Khan told CNN- IBN that the best time for Sachin Tendulkar to have retired was after India’s World Cup victory. Don’t remember him saying so at the time. Don’t you wonder about that,sometimes,the timing thing? Nowadays,it’s easy to ask any of our top five batsmen to leave the stumps behind them; why did nobody say it before Australia?

Sandhi Sudha: heard of it? Apparently,it cures all aches and pains. Jackie Shroff and other former Bollywood actors and current TV stars vouch for it in painstaking detail (ETC Punjabi). Should they be endorsing such products in promos that last 30 minutes-plus? Fun time,if you can call grown up men swinging through the air and landing hard on the floor,fun — they could do with some Sandhi Sudha. This is an arena for someone like the Great Khali or the Turbanator. So it wasn’t surprising to find spinner Harbhajan Singh on hand. We were there where,ahem,the men roam about in their knickers in public,grunt loudly,and are frequently on their backs embracing other men. It’s Ring Ka King (Colors),India’s World Wrestling Federation (WWF) — the male answer to saas-bahus. Watched it just long enough to realise much of it’s below the belt and sounded really funny — the commentary,that is.

My,my,see how very permissive and liberal we have become — about love if not literature. Even as this was being written,the man by the window began to kiss,yes,kiss,his wife’s naked shoulder,her cheek just managing to skirt her lips. He eases her onto the bed,she’s wearing a red sari (how appropriate),someone is singing “Kaisa Yeh Ishq Hai”, his mouth continues its exploration of her face,she kisses his cheek and then,why,it’s next morning and they’re in bed. Well. Of course,it was entirely the wrong occasion for this display of marital affection,but you’ll have to watch Parichay (Colors) to discover why.

Watch Outsourced (Zee Café) and discover what the Americans — and not only President Obama — think of Indian call centres. Not much. An unsuspecting American boss arrives in a place that looks nothing like Gurgaon,to run a call centre with a motley group of Indian employees. Think it is meant to be a sitcom but the jokes are often as lame as the ones in our comedies. And since there is no laugh box to indicate “ha-ha”,you can miss the joke entirely. The sets are poor — the call centre looks onto a bazaar that’s like a ’50s Bollywood film set. The Indian actors act,the lead American doesn’t. The Indian manager,Rajiv,is exaggerated,almost a caricature,but funny. In Tuesday’s episode,he shows his American boss a spycam footage — a colleague is licking the very pastry the boss is eating. Boss growls,“Oh,why didn’t you tell me?” and Rajiv replies: “What would I have told you —that he licked your muffin?” Make what you will of that.

P.S. Just saw a Congress Party TV ad: Rahul Gandhi leads from the front,Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh bring up the rear. Our political pundits could read a lot into this placement: is the young G taking over as party president,as PM,or OMG,both?

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