The other day, when my internet connection was being a pain, I switched after really long. Big Boss. Nope. Click. Click. facepalm*
It is sad to find out Indian television becoming interchangeable with regressive saas-bahu sagas and useless reality shows.
One of the more important shifts that happened was one individual who denoted an age of her own - Ekta Kapoor. Sadly for us, she struck gold together with the style of family shows being held by a lead woman character. These girls were created to tick all the traits of some regressive ideal of the beti, bahu, biwi. The aim of their lives appears to be to be sorry for everything happening around them.
Indian television also has become the den of reality TV shows where anger, expletives, flaring tempers sell more than the talent hunt. So we see a couple of middle-aged men fighting over after the show gets over whether an approaching singer will have roti in his house. It's great entertainment for the audience as we see foul-mouthed judges give it to each other. And that is that.
And that is what occurred to Indian television when I drowned in my very own idea? It was decent growing up with the Malgudi Days, Byomkesh Bakshis of my time. And then everything went to shit.
In the '90s, TV shows were so much more progressive. Actual girls were portrayed by shows like Hasratein with shades of gray.
Compare the regressive drivel we view with some of the shows in the 90s like Hasratein which showed a woman leaving her husband to start a relationship together with her married boss, was something way ahead of its time and also the crowd accepted it with identical adulthood.
And where we see a Simar turning into a fly and taking her revenge on the vamp of the family, we'd the progressive Astitva around 2000. Astitva showed a career-oriented woman marrying a guy almost a decade younger.
Today one of the greatest rated shows is Naagin - which reveals a girl shapeshifting right into a serpent. Compare this to the gig as Shanti of Mandira Bedi, a journalist who digs up the dark secrets from your past of two Bollywood professionals. Have we got regressive with our top girls?
Women in Ekta Kapoor's shows do not seem to ever have a life of their own. Their whole universe appears to revolve around their husbands or they're in laws. But 23 years ago (yes, before Sex and the City), Tara described women as well as their friendships, which are closer to truth.
Around the same time, there was Banegi Apni Baat. It'd characters that are realistic, and beautifully portrayed distinct relationships: mother-daughter, friends, lovers. This show had some touching performances and a fantastic cast. R. Madhavan started his acting career with this show.
How did the rib-tickling comedy get replaced by crossdressing guys laughing on cue?
The Kapil Sharma Show, which can be home for many Bollywood stars who come to promote their movies has now replaced that.
And they've been welcomed by means of a couple of crossdressing men who crack jokes and laugh when an alarm called Navjot Singh Sidhu rings. Along with this is the Great India Comedy Circus which makes fun of the heavy host of it's by regularly comparing her to a buffalo. What happened to good ol' slapstick humor which may be dense and still amusing?
The shows of now exist in this bubble of melodrama that is unreal. What occurred to relatability?
It will not even come close to something that a Wagle Ki Duniya reached in the 90s, while most of today's soap operas promise to give us a picture of what goes on in the middle-class family. The show which starred a small known Bollywood actor called Shah Rukh Khan spoke regarding the everyday mishaps.
Precisely the same decade had Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne, in which a man fearful of his boss and his domineering wife becomes a more courageous variant of himself. Only in his dreams, however. Has all that charm been replaced via this template of a north Indian middle-class family that has exactly the same type of characters, face the same type of problems and seem generic.
We've nothing in the league of Mohabbat and Hip Hip Hurray, today. Show-runners have slowly wiped out all the shows for young adults.
The 90s had shows like Hip Hip Hurray Mohabbat which addressed teen dilemmas with a unique tinge of humor. By confiding in an imaginary friend the child makes do with it
Shows like those have now been replaced with drivel like Dare To Splitsvilla, Roadies, and Date, which aim at giving youngsters a 'chance to prove themselves' while other youngsters look on with amusement.
What have we done? How did we get here?
Showrunners are so convinced the TV audience includes of an audience which cannot appreciate cerebral content, while the majorities keep complaining there is nothing else to watch that they've begun tailoring products to the mass taste. It is a cycle.
And it might be broken by the show-runners themselves, should they take a leap of faith and attempt to produce content which challenges the audience. It's worth aiming for, although the transition will probably not be fast.