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Friday, December 03, 2021

TV’s ‘now what’ moment

What will news do now that all drama has been wrung out from cricket and elections?

Written by Shailaja Bajpai |
May 26, 2009 1:10:42 am

The elections are over,the government has been formed. The IPL is over,the big guns did not fire or backfire. The Bollywood party is over,at least temporarily,as the no-agreement between the film producers and the multiplexes continues,preventing any major new releases,unless you consider Detective Naani major. Ab kya karega bechara TV?

Seriously. What will television,in particular TV news that has fattened and prospered on current affairs,cricket and cinema,do this week without its mainstays offering anything special? Sure,new cabinet members will be sworn in on Tuesday,so we’ll be back at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Been there,seen that. Also,it’s a Doordarshan telecast,so we won’t see anything we want to see: who is present,who speaks to Sonia or Rahul,who shakes hands,who exchanges glances,smiles,envious looks. Instead,we’ll have to watch each minister repeat after the President,“I …” Not exactly riveting stuff,you’ll agree. By the way,where was the PM’s family during last week’s swearing-in? Doordarshan seemed entranced by the Gandhis (they’re not alone,News 24 even did a show called Sonianama) and then other politicians but did not focus on them. Most peculiar.

Sure,there will be post-mortems and obituaries on IPL,a dead bore because there really isn’t much that hasn’t already been said by Harsha Bhogle & Co. who did most of the talking over the last six weeks. That because barring a few special occasions when the likes of Adam Gilchrist or Manish Pandey were at the crease,the cricket bats did not speak for themselves. We’re relieved on behalf of Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty who had to act as though they were real happy to be on the losing side: TV cameras tracked their every expression throughout the Kings IX Punjab and Rajasthan Royal matches and it wouldn’t do to look like a bad sport,now would it?

Sure,we’ll still see the film stars — during the ad breaks where they’re busy acting out 15-30 second roles as salesmen and in the repeats of their films. When we met Jab We Met last Sunday afternoon (Colors),it w19as for the 144th time this year — we’ve encountered Kareena and Kapoor on one channel on another every day of 2009.

So yes,the usual suspects will be on the small screen but without the entertainment value they have had for the last year. No Left to pull the rug from under the government,no Amar Singh to threaten the government,no Fronts — only Frontline banyans and a government that needs to get down to work. What on earth will they discuss every night in the studio? Policies? Nah…

As for cricket,we’ll have to wait till June for the Twenty20 World Cup. Meanwhile,tennis anyone with those gorgeous bodies,sorry players at the French Open? Otherwise,it’s current affairs of the other kind: while you were not watching,Lord Krishna has grown up (Jai Shri Krishna,Colors) and Zee has introduced a serial about a young girl (what another one?) married off to alleviate her family’s poverty (Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo). Sony is offering a new evening line-up this week: a Jodhaa Akbar lookalike historical,a small towner aiming for an Olympic gold (obviously inspired by our boxers’ performances last year),a man who becomes a woman (?!), four women on a local Mumbai train and Salman Khan’s Dus Ka Dum. There is life after elections,IPL…

Finally,a formal protest against all news channels for showing us Prabhakaran and his son Charles Anthony grievously injured and dead,not once,not twice but all day for several days. Close-ups of the two were very disturbing and should have been strictly prohibited after a few takes instead of the lengthy footage repeated repeatedly. Didn’t news channels agree not to dwell upon dead people?

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