The Indian Television Trash

November 11, 2015

Just recently, it was shockingly revealed that Indian television Channels would be soon telecast in Bhutan, the only country having the Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index. In a desperate bid to rescue the neighboring happy nation, a sane Indian's advice to the Bhutan government would be, "please shut it down, you have the reputation of being the happiest country, and most Indian tele buffs are the most depressed, dejected and aimless creatures in the planet".

If a sound minded or a moderately intelligent man, comes across an Indian reality show or a soap opera on television, he would be forced to hurl the remote at the screen; such is the level Indian programmes have stooped to. Gloomily, this indicates that dance, singing and bad humour are the only disciplines, where the privately owned multinational channels can exploit young talent. The Indian television empire which is estimated to have worth five times more than Indian film industry, is also serving as a career saving shield to many jobless and mediocre Bollywood faces.

Nevertheless, prime time shows have become household favorites among millions of middle class audiences. Interestingly, it mirrors the jerry-built mindset of the viewer rather than of the creator of the shows.

The soap operas, short serials, reality shows and private news channels disingenuously promote sensationalism and hyperbolism. In addition, they advertise religion, orthodoxy, superstition, outdated rituals and apparently also glorify them full scale, creating a major hysterical impact on the adolescent and younger viewers. There isn't a single show depicting social realism or societal evils that have been haunting people in their daily lives; neither has been a genuine attempt to endorse reason and rationality through a creative format. Everything that appears on television screens has to be sensational, colourful, flamboyant and noisy; the room for creativity, subtlety that had embellished the Indian television in the eighties and the early nineties has crumbled and shrunk with the weight of colossal corporate finance. Therefore, there isn't a Indian channel on the lines of Animal Planet, National Geographic or Discovery.

The noisiness image has been more fittingly associated with the Indian electronic media. The concept of interviews, group discussions and debates between various representatives that had once brought authenticity and honest thrills to television media has now transformed into a fish market melodrama, under the greed of increasing TRP. The news anchors faintly mediate the discussion; they become part of the discussion, by amplifying and roasting it to the point where the guests become incensed, animated and almost up in arms.

Shoddy and frivolous stories like the celebrities' personal lives, high society crimes and Pakistan bashing make the headlines and prime time topics for panel discussion; the more essential needs like food, clean drinking water, sanitation, education and issues like farmer suicides, women empowerment and safety, eradication of poverty, child trafficking, religious orthodoxy and extremism are brushed under the carpet. But then, these channels are reproducing exactly the sort of things people want to look at, ear and savour, just as the TRPs clearly recount. As one media moghul had spectacularly brushed off his critics saying "Nobody is forcing it (TV shows) down your throat, if you dont like it, then dont watch it".


Chris D'Souza Archives:



By Chris Emmanuel D'Souza
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Comment on this article

  • ibrahim, Mangaluru

    Sat, Nov 14 2015

    We are wasting our very very precious moments of short life if we sit in front of such channels, in which out of 30 minutes at-least 10-14 minutes they will force ad clips which adds to already boring more painful.
    Moreover home atmosphere also gets adjusted and all are forced to watch.
    Better to spend our time with family and kids and avoid useless dragging serial
    Very effective article and focused on current dilemma
    Last year when one TV channel decided to pull long running serial of Ekta Kapoor everybody set a sigh of relief, which was evident from readers' comments

  • Rems, Mangaluru

    Thu, Nov 12 2015

    I am really amazed at Indian viewer's ability to tolerate such trash dumped on them by Hindi serial producers, every moment of the day. Every thing that is said and done on Hindi channels is nothing but fooling business. Many times I wonder who is the bigger fool, the person who makes those programs or the person who watches them ? Seems like the easiest way to make money in India is produce a Hindi serial. No need of script, no need of acting skills. Just wear fake clothes, say some fake dialogues, Indians will watch with their mouths wide open. Very relevant article.

  • Roshan Braganza, Mumbai

    Thu, Nov 12 2015

    But people still watch it and all are not stupid. Most viewers are intelligent and educated too. The above article is very biased against tradition and customs . Religious orthodoxy and fundamentalism is part of lives , you cannot call it as regressive just because you dislike it !. . EG :: Kaarwa Chaut , raksha bandhan , early marriage etc . I have yet to come across a christian women who practices such a tradition ! , what a shame !!

    Some of the programs propagate such customs and inspires younger generation too. And women empowerment is a completely different issue here and No traditions make women inferior . There is nothing wrong if men expect their wives to be submissive , traditional and with feminine traits . The spoiler is FEMINISM here , which are forcing men to change their topic and encourage casino culture under the mask of ' empowerment' .

    Most serials propagate noble social practices and prestine joint families . But I agree they are very repetitive and boring at times and sensationalism is a part of all news channels . But on the positive side it triggers healthy debates and create opinions. Most pseudo seculars now a days support feminism which are trying propaganda tactics on media . Eg :: Exaggerate nirbaya incident and spoil the image of Indian men internationally . It created kind of anarchy now , laws are highly misused by women for vested interests . A RTI inquiry can reveal 70 percent of case registered are false and again its the poor who will suffer. Remember , crime is not gender specific .

    We cannot compare Indian sensational programs with likes of NGC of discovery , both are special in their own rights . Let's not mix and infuse drama genres with symbolism.

  • geoffrey, hat hill

    Wed, Nov 11 2015

    The last two sentences say it all, it pointless to blame the channel owners, for they are no social reformers.

  • Diego Britto, Mangaluru

    Wed, Nov 11 2015

    Loved the article Chris. There is absolutely no intellect gone into making these TV soaps. Indian TV programs are going from bad to worse. Unfortunately, it is this media that influences the framework of mind of the viewers.

  • Good Article, Bangalore

    Wed, Nov 11 2015

    Its true, nowadays daily soap serials are disgusting,same hindi serials remake in regional languages. Same repeated movies in weekends. Very boring.

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