Thursday, March 27, 2008

Blah blah blah ... Wah!

That was hilarious! Everything about that was right except that Headlines Today is also among the pack. But why blame the news channels alone? Turn to entertainment and out of about 25 channels (or is it more than that?) not a single one seems to have found a source of entertainment that is not related to movies and the slow-moving soaps. And the lesser I talk about the channels that strive to "deliver the divine truth" the better it would be. It is startling that humans, in spite of being different in almost every aspect starting from DNA, facial features, fingerprints, cornea, brain structure, blood group and so on, seem to be hopelessly and boringly SAME when it comes to airing a television program, publishing a newspaper or making a movie!

But then this isn't such a new point to talk about. The boredom is so much around us that we seem to have become institutionalized to it. How else do you explain the fact that there are so many worshipers of so many soaps with blaring and ill-fitting background score and ignominious dialogues? How else do you explain the fact that a well-known hero, a new-face model, a party number and its remix and a bunch of sleazy encounters (though lifted off from hollywood) can easily offset a storyline that doesn't exist, roles that calls for no acting and actors who don't have roles to become box-office hits?

Now this whole post may be self-referential! You may ask me "You talk about trite. What is so new about this post? This is talked about by almost everyone who maintains a blog! Your post is only as different as the programmes you talk about!"

Good point! That is why I shut up for such a long time! But for sometime now, it appears that at least somebody in the broadcasting business has finally got bored of the sameness. The Tamil channel called "MakkaL TV" - "MakkaL" being Tamil for the work people - stands as a proof for the fact that....

1) ... entertainment extends beyond movies
For the last two weeks that I have caught a glimpse of this channel, I didn't find a single program that is related to movies! Yet the channel has managed to come up with programs that entertain people. Considering the dependence of the other channels on movies for their survival, this channel seems to have taken up a very bold challenge and won it hands down ! The most attractive programmes are interactive. To highlight a few..
  • "Tamil pesu, thanga kaasu" (Speak Tamil and win a gold coin) is a challenge to the general public to speak continuously with out usage of any other language.
  • "Sol vilayattu" (word game) is another 3-round challenge played live over the phone, Word jumble, "cross-word", and "who is in the picture?", at the end of which the winner wins a handsome prize, a silk Saree!
  • Over the phone employment advise for the unemployed
2) can speak Tamil with minimal use of English and still not sound weird!
The presenters of all the TV programs in this channel stick to colloquial yet unadulterated Tamil language and are dressed in traditional and simple tamil attire such as dothi, Khadi shirts and Saree (though not always). The more important aspect is that the channel doesn't seem to overplay the pro-Tamil sentiment and stops well short of looking and sounding Tamil-chauvinistic.

As a downside, I must point out one fact. Like most of the other Tamil channels, this is also run by a political party and an ally in the current DMK coalition government, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK). And I haven't watched their news reports yet. That gives me a fear that I might have come up with this post a little too soon!