Friday, November 23, 2012

The 'Idiot' Box

A few days ago I saw an ad on TV which really rattled me and was disturbing to say the least. I was watching “Colors” channel and during the break, there was an ad for a new “Crime-related” show that will be telecasted from Dec. In the ad, a peek into one of the stories was being given.. it goes something like this.. there's a mentally unstable husband who kills his wife first and then keeps her dead body in the refrigerator... for 5 years!! Its gory just to listen to it and even write about it… u can very well imagine how gory it would be actually seeing this on television. I am fine with the channel showing the serial  (if it’s showed late in the night after prime time hours).. Now a days all these kind of suspense / crime / ghost /spirits related serials are back in fashion. There's at least one showing in each channel. But at least while creating advertisements for these kind of shows, people should think a little.

The ads are shown at any time of the day and an unsuspecting kid may happen to watch it. Young kids are impressionable (for that matter even adults are). We cannot even begin to imagine what kind of impact it can have on them. Being a mother to a young kid, I was really appalled on seeing the ad. (I have to admit here that I might not have reacted in such a strong way if I wasn't a mother myself but who knows.. maybe my reaction would have been similar). My son is small now and doesn't understand all these. He doesn't even watch TV unless there’s a song playing. He absolutely loves music. His current favourite being ‘
Go Go Go Govinda’ from ‘OMG’. He even wakes up from sleep if he hears this song. :D . But as Shaurya grows up and starts watching TV.. one day he maybe watching his favorite music show or cartoon show and there’s a break in between and he gets exposed to an ad like above.. :-(

In the ad, they could have just said all the gory details in voice overs instead of showing the dead body inside the fridge. I know the purpose of the ad was to have as much impact as it can and entice ppl to watch the show. And of course they have succeeded in it.. at least they have my attention. I know the ad / show makers are just looking for themselves and doing their job.. but here's when the TV censorship board comes into picture. Most of the time, they are busy censoring stupid stuff like not allowing a film to be broadcast because of adult content and this and that. Arre.. a parent knows when a particular film/show will be aired and if it is suitable for kids or not, he/she will ensure that the kids do not watch that film if its unsuitable. Instead of fussing about the obvious things, the board should focus on subtle things like these kind of ads which are difficult for a parent to control and have a greater impact. People might say this is unnecessary censorship & curtailing the freedom of artistic/creative expression but if you are creative, I am sure there is a better way to create ads/programs and still have the desired maximum impact!

Television content now has changed so much. It reflects on our choices and the kind of people we have become.  The Idiot box as its often called is working to match its name. :-( There’s N number of saas-bahu soap operas on TV. These kind of programs have an impact on our subconscious. We see scheming mother in law / daughter in law / sister in law etc.. this impacts the way we also think of our relationships. A small tiff which should ideally go unnoticed might make us think too much and blow it all out of proportion, changing the way we interact with our relatives. I never used to think about it.. but M made me realize it. He doesn’t like it if I watch a serial like this. He just brainwashes me against that programme.. J (Though I have never been that much into serials, I was a regular viewer of some shows in the past. The only serial I watch now is ‘ballika bahu’..I know it’s also a flawed one.. I used to watch it earlier then stopped it midway. However I have started watching it again ever since the character of ‘Shivraj Shekar’ has entered. Such a handsome fella!! :D… M will not be able to make me stop it.. at least for now ;-)) Majority of TV time in our household is taken up by Fox Traveller, NDTV Goodtimes, Times Now, SAB TV or some news/movie/music channel. And I am totally happy with it. We want our son to be exposed to such choices.. maybe with the addition of Discovery, Nat Geo and a few select cartoon channels. This is what we would like.. as they say 'parent' proposes, 'kids' disposes... :-D

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