Telescope: Filth on the streets

From alleged waste water on ‘Bigg Boss’, to Delhi’s garbage — a refuse lot on TV

Written by Shailaja Bajpai | Updated: January 12, 2017 12:19:06 am

“S**t, yeh kya hai?” asked one of the contestants. Yeh, urine hai. Is it a sign of the times when a self-styled swami allegedly splashed his waste water on two other human beings because while losing a game, he lost his temper too? And that a channel chose to show it on national television because we are like that only?

Bigg Boss Season 10 (Colors) seeks to include and implicate the viewer in all that passes for life in the Bigg Boss household: “India Issi Ko Apna Ghar Samjho”, says its tagline and maybe the reality show does reflect our reality.

Since the weekend, news channels have spent considerable time highlighting the garbage and filth lining the streets of Delhi; last week, we saw a woman molested by two men in Bengaluru and many others allegedly groped on New Year’s eve — and who can forget the footage of a man in the capital, repeatedly stabbing a woman after stalking her, without any passerby stopping him?

Each night in the TV news studios, we listen to men and women rubbish each other. Viewers will remember the vicious attacks on the late Om Puri (Times Now, CNN News 18, etc,) for his views on Pakistani artists working in India following the Uri terrorist attack. The same channels paid touching tributes to the actor after his sudden demise last week.

Every day, TV frames “the news” in terms of all out combat: TV anchors and politicians “attack” and “target” or “declare war” on each other, when they could just as easily “criticise” each other.

Not very different from the soap Ishqbaaaz (Star Plus) where Svetlana topples down the staircase from her wheelchair, alleging she was pushed — she wasn’t — and all the members of the family are at each other’s throats with razor sharp tongues.

Swami Om attacked and targeted other contestants on Bigg Boss in his own attention-seeking style. He employed urination — if indeed it was his urine, a fact that has not been conclusively established — in a nation where we are throwing any and everything at each other.

TV news channels broadcast Sakshi Maharaj’s obnoxious remarks on the increase in India’s population because of men with “four wives” and “forty children”. And India Today asked if Mamata “Didi” was “pro-Pak” because a discussion on Balochistan featuring Tarek Fateh was cancelled at the Calcutta Club.

Don’t you, sometimes, in exasperation and even disgust, want to exclaim, “S**t, yeh kya hai?”

Increasingly, our lives seem to resemble Madhuji’s, the lead character in the serial, TV Ke Uss Paar (Zindagi) who divides her time between watching TV shows and becoming a part of them by zooming into the TV set like Supergirl (Zee Café).

So maybe we do deserve this season’s Bigg Boss with all its fake drama and histrionics. On second thoughts, maybe we don’t: The show has long since outlived any reason for its existence. This year, it seems a lot sillier than before and surely, Salman Khan can find other means to generate income — like Bollywood acting?

Onto golden girl, lady, Priyanka Chopra seen at the Sansui Colors Stardust Awards (Colors) on Sunday in a gold tunic and at the Golden Globe Awards (Colors Infinity) in a gold-sequined Ralph Lauren gown. You have to admire Chopra: She dares to go where no other Indian actor has gone and bare all she’s got — talent, body, whatever. That takes guts.

One question: Why is it Indian actresses now feel obliged/compelled to wear gowns at Indian film award ceremonies — barring oldies like Jaya B, Rekha — instead of saris, salwars, lehengas while actors like Shah Rukh Khan and Sultan Salman arrive in open collar shirts? Is this for the benefit of “global viewers” as they were referred to on Bigg Boss?

As for the Awards, it was business as usual: Buddy-buddy in house jokes, glittering sets and performances and Rekha presenting an award.

One Trump joke and one pink note “ha ha” were the only noticeable differences from last year’s award ceremonies.

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