Bored at the Oscars

When Ang Lee’s award for best director is the evening’s most questionable decision,you know it’s a bland affair

Written by Shailaja Bajpai | Published: February 28, 2013 3:02:01 am

At last there was something to cheer about: India won a test match and the Master Blaster blasted his critics out of the stadium and TV studios; there was captain punishment for the Australian bowlers. And an honest,impartial appraisal of Prasar Bharati on Prasar Bharati’s DD News — almost as rare an occurrence as a papal retirement. Also,a ringside view of the Oscars,a good thing if you supported Argo,Life of Pi and Lincoln,but less so if you were Charlize Theron and her chest cavity.

But first,to one fan that deserves recognition. The latest TV commercial for Havell’s fans sees a husband decide to take his wife’s surname as a sign of his emancipation and her empowerment. Knowing the power of advertising to influence,we need many more such advertising initiatives. Bring ’em on.

Meanwhile,take away the stereotypes. Bade Achhe Lagte Hain (Sony) has been the wonderful and tender rags-to-riches,riches-to-rags love story of Priya and Mr Kapoor. It shattered the myth that love strikes only the rich,the slim and the conventionally good-looking. But it is perpetuating another archetype,that of the evil woman who counts amongst her many unworthy traits a fondness for alcohol,while the good wife Priya drinks nothing but pure water. That alcohol is invariably consumed by negative characters including female baddies,is one of the worst insults to them — and perhaps to alcohol. We’re not advocating that the lead characters hit the bottle,but that we refrain from showing alcohol at all — just as we have done away with cigarettes.

No matter how many times we are shown M.S. Dhoni’s knock against Australia,we won’t complain. And if V.V.S. Laxman,the latest recently retired cricketer to take up the microphone,was feeling somewhat abashed for his criticism of Dhoni’s captaincy vis a vis Harbhajan Singh’s bowling in the first innings,he didn’t allow it to stint his praise of his batting. What a high. Speaking of highs,could someone please tell Arun Lal,commentator in Hindi,to lower his pitch lest he disturb the equanimity of the bails?

Prasar Bharati indulged in a navel-gazing exercise with leading politicians from major opposition parties— the BJP,CPM and BJD — along with the minister of I&B,Manish Tewari. All of them looked extremely pleased to be on DD News and for once,seemed to be in general agreement that DD must be a public broadcaster that earns its own money to be self-sustaining. How exactly this miracle is to be achieved,no one quite knew. Maybe another discussion for that?

One thing they all agreed upon was that DD must be objective and distance itself from the government. The first move towards this lofty goal should be to remove Tewari’s face from the opening panel of photos before News Night. And while they’re at it,can someone please fix the sound quality too? Too often have we watched an anchor wait for a response from a person outside the studio who cannot hear the questions because there is a faulty link.

The Oscars (Star Movies). It has got to be the blandest show we watched in recent years,if Life of Pi winning Ang Lee the best director award was the most questionable decision of the evening. Everything else went according to plan,except perhaps Jennifer Lawrence’s dress tripping her up on her way to an Oscar. Daniel Day-Lewis won Lincoln,sorry best actor,Adele best song,Argo best picture… Come to think of it,you could almost forgive first-time host Seth MacFarlane his insults. Almost. Nothing,but nothing,can make up for his boob-y trap of a song about actresses,which apart from ensnaring and embarrassing the likes of Theron,was a very bad song,poorly sung. And did you notice that barring the ensemble song by the Les Miserables cast,the performances were by women who count amongst their other assets,a spectacular… well,never mind.

Last,a plea. Homeland is over for now,which is really bad for those of us who had become accustomed to watching it and then falling asleep. So to prevent further insomnia,can Star World repeat the entire exercise? After all,Grey’s Anatomy has been repeated so often it has turned,pardon the pun,grey.

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