The truant monsoon and other storieshttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/the-truant-monsoon-and-other-stories/

The truant monsoon and other stories

Both news channels and soaps are preoccupied with the rains

Both news channels and soaps are preoccupied with the rains

There is no sign of the rains in Delhi. That would explain our TV news reporters’ parched throats as they broadcast from the heat and dust of the capital on everything from Abu Jundal to the storm clouds over the economy. They have also been crying themselves hoarse over the delayed monsoon. This is the hot news of the season,and,as you suffer the sweat,you feel that for once you and the news channels are on the same planet. So,when channels like NDTV India investigated the case of the missing monsoon,El Nino and the ocean waves on Tuesday evening,you watched with much more attention than you paid to Mamata Banerjee,Mulayam Singh Yadav,B.S. Yeddyurappa or Pranab Mukherjee who,come rain or shine,grace our homes nightly.

While the monsoon plays truant,there’s hope for climate change on the economic front after Manmohan Singh took charge as finance minister. Singh has,by and large,been missing from TV screens during his years as PM. But since the end of June,he has been seen on TV much more than during his eight years in office thus far. Each evening,the possible revival of the economy under his stewardship is the topic of debate on one or more channels: will he do a 1991,or,are we expecting too much of him? On Tuesday,NDTV 24×7’s Left,Right and Centre wondered whether there was “animal spirit” in the PM’s first few pronouncements on the economy.

And have you noticed that we hear rather more from Singh in the air than we do on the ground? Whenever he travels abroad,he holds a press conference,thousands of kilometres above sea level,and seems willing to talk on almost any topic. Thus,on his return from the G-20 summit,he held a long press conference that we saw on DD News. Maybe the PM should travel more often? And should he be entrusted with reviving the monsoon too?

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Not entirely sure why news channels have been playing hits from the films of Rajesh Khanna. Normally,these are telecast to remember an actor. But Khanna is very much in our midst — in fact,India TV,one of the channels that played some of the biggest hits from his films,informed us that he was feeling better after being hospitalised and would be heading home shortly. “His BP is low”,said India TV. So,were we celebrating his recovery or was it just an excuse to visit Bollywood? Come to think of it,does India TV need an excuse?

Asha Bhonsle is on song as the judge emeritus on Indian Idol (Sony). It’s a treat to listen to her opinions and when she sings,oh la la,oh la la. She’s so composed in her behaviour,you’d think she has been judging talent shows all her life — and maybe she has. Her presence lends the show a stature and seriousness otherwise left to Anu Malik’s antics. Inspired choice by the channel.

Breaking News: what is the definition of true love? Could it be when a wife and her husband wear the same colour? On Diya Aur Baati Hum (Star Plus),Suraj has gone to participate in a cookery contest — it is really the flavour of the times with the return of Masterchef Australia (Star World). He wears a lilac shirt and when wife Sandhya clutches his hand to wish him best of luck,you notice she’s wearing lilac nail polish.

Speaking of TV serials,we are as perplexed as Priya when she discovers that husband Ram,his family and friends,are mourning her passing on while she is alive and crying,although not as right as rain (Bade Achhe Lagte Hain,Sony). Rain,by the way,is a character in these soaps,since they are mostly located in Mumbai where the monsoon is pouring down. It was raining for Priya on her taxi journey home and there are constant references to the rain elsewhere: in Pavitra Rishta (Zee),one character tells the other than he should go home because the rains are about to come down. If only.

Should TV ads or shows should give copyright acknowledgements to films? You would say yes after watching the Tata AIG TV commercial,which is inspired by a scene from Vicky Donor. Inspired is a kind word. It’s almost a copy cat.

shailaja.bajpai@expressindia.com

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