Saturday, February 14, 2009 post ko main kya naam du?

Yes, TV just keeps getting increasingly amusing by the day. And I don't mean the entertainment channels (In fact the entertainment channels quit being entertaining on that ill-fated day when “Kunki...” was called off air. Baa was still alive, hale and hearty, all set to take on another couple of 20 year fast forwards. And knowing good old Baa I’m sure she would’ve done it with all her teeth in-tact. I mean c’mon if that doesn't hold the promise of quality entertainment, I don't know what will.)

Channels like MTV, Star and Zee are facing stiff competition in the entertainment arena from news-channels. Now, channels like Aaj Tak and India TV have, for long, worked relentlessly in the pursuit of socially relevant newsbytes(“Kyun chupp gaya Chaand(Mohammad)?”) and coverage of issues of national concern( It’ll be irreverent not to acknowledge the intelligent journalism that must’ve gone into producing gems of news pieces headlined “Kya aapki khidaki se aliens jhaank rahe hain?”). The poignant tale of “Bandar aur cheetey ki dosti” more than deserved the hour-long air-time it got(Heck, I’d say go ahead and air a follow-up on their yaarana). But what I respect the most about these channels is the emphasis on special news segments dedicated to the free exchange of “Jyotish Vidya”. These serve as the much needed vehicle to bring to the general public the awareness of the greater truths of life. Where’s the point in learning of the events around the world, or your nation (Or for that matter,being bothered about that sketchy guy lurking in the the gully behind your building)?Who will it help to understand the strategic developments in the social, administrative and financial sectors? Just feed a 100 different dogs within 21 days and you’ll be alright.(By the way, this gives rise to a question I’ve been pondering over for quite some time. I wonder how you’ll ensure that it’s a “different” dog you are feeding today so you can increment your dogs_fed counter. Would the use of permanent markers on dogs be in violation of any laws protecting animal-rights?)

But anyway, here’s something I care about. Times Now used to be one of those boring channels dealing with serious non-issues. But I see scope of improvement there. From all the footage of the different categories of V-Day protesters they’ve been airing, I can tell they’ve jumped full-on into meaningful journalism. I have to say, this protest karne walla crowd is a particularly interesting variety. On one hand you have the SRS- type clowns armed with sarees and sindur all set to marry off any twosome spotted walking on the street on V-Day, unless they’re blood-relatives.( Assuming that this applies only to pairs comprising a girl and a guy, I guess you can breathe a sigh of relief if you swing the other way!) On the other hand we have the Pink Chaddi brigade and the other women’s liberation groups whose agendas sometimes seem almost as incoherent as the believers of the sanctity of forced holy unions(There was a clip of, what appeared to be a female, quite unmistakably so I must add, wearing a tag that read “I am an Indian Woman”. Protest or heights of insecurity?! :D). But here’s what takes the cake- in a clip, of a field correspondent stating that V-Day had been peaceful so far and no untoward incident had yet taken place, you could almost sense the guy’s disappointment. What was making the guy so sad? People may have their own takes on this; but I can bet he was thinking “I spent all this time here and nobody was forcibly married off to anybody. I could have spent the day with my gf rather than with this chaiwallah outside this pub. Screw you Times Now!”

Speaking of Times Now, as we know, Arnab Goswami seeks to open up channels of discussion via Newshour where he ensures that an unbiased debate takes place by talking over and paraphrasing anybody whose views seem non-aligned with his own (No offence meant to Arnab, I support many of his views. But I wish he would let the people, whom he has invited to talk on his show, do that, i.e. talk).Yet, sometimes this habit of “talking over” a guest seems almost justified. Yesterday, one of the guests on his show was Uma Bharti(!) for a discussion on the wider implications of the recent Mangalore pub incident and the V-Day related protests etc. Either Ms Bharti was not apprised of the topic of discussion beforehand or she felt that the topic of discussion was irrelevant and thus made the intelligent unilateral decision to change the topic. Instead of addressing any of the issues raised by Arnab, she obligingly suggested, in her very first statement, that they should actually be discussing Naxalism. (I wish I could’ve done that during those on-the-spot debates I participated in, in school.) Long live Uma Bharti and her self-styled militant genre of debating style!

PS: Does anybody else find it lyrically amusing that V-day followed D-day(Friday the 13th) this year?!