Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The TV

I did not need a trip in Calvin’s famous transmorgifier to convert into a vegetable. I just needed to go home. And I have vegetated into, not a nutritious carrot or tomato, but a bland potato. A couch potato, that is. I therefore find myself abundantly well placed in writing a critique of Indian television.

Indian television is bursting at the seams. There are in excess of seventy channels that are beamed to my bed room. There are the news channels – in local languages, in Hindi and English. The hindi news channels keep the masses informed. They have recently struck upon a goldmine – crime shows. Crime sells – in this case crime snazzlilly packaged into a half an hour with a rather intense looking anchor. The English news channels are all vying for a piece of the lucrative ‘rich’ market – with urbane anchors that would do a BBC or a CNN proud. They have added a dimension to Indian broadcasting.

The sports channels on my television have suffered immensely in the hands of the cable operator. He has stopped beaming Star sports and ESPN – and is beaming a new channel called TEN SPORTS – the channel which had inflicted itself on India during the soccer world cup. The channel is beaming the French open right now.

We all are pretty much aware that France is not India. Another proof of the same can be obtained by watching TEN SPORTS. Almost all the matches beamed are that of women. With a paltry sex ratio like 900 that India is known to have, the tournament could certainly not have occurred in India. Perhaps ten sports also agrees with majority of the world in that women look a lot better than men. Or perhaps it is playing to the market of the lecherous male (like yours truly). All said and done, the tennis is fantastic. I’m watching this match between Sharapova and Henin-Hardiene: and it is amazing tennis. With the power of the Russians and Williamses, who needs men? Ten sports seems to agree.

India has three primary English movie channels: HBO, Star and Zee. Unlike Discovery and National Geographic, verbatim vernacular translations of the movies are not yet available. So, we don’t get Hollywood dubbed in Hindi – much as the cable operator would try. Indian television (especially in smaller towns such as Nasik with purely profit maximizing cable operators) is right now a ear-sore. Bugs bunny almost says, Doctor sahib, kya upar hai? and Tweety says Mujhe aise lagta hai ke mein nay ek pyare billi ko dehka hai.

We Indians who have to put up with this live armed with vomit bags near the television in case of any such exigency. Besides the aforementioned well known cartoons. the story of the pyramids and the construction of the hong kong airport, as well as the way the lion catches its deer is all in Hindi. It’s either the vomit bag or the remote. Or both.

The Entertainment channels (the Inidan ones at least) have decided that the future is in ghosts - and are making feeble attempts at providing the same in their shows. This allows the shows to double as comedies; since, needless to say, the animation is somewhat amateurish.

Not to mention the religious channels. Men (invariably with fluent beards, observe it next time) try to disseminate what they know to one and all. The temple and show-biz meet.

Ah, what a nice invention the remote is.


bharath said...

nice post.

In fact i never knew that Wassup Doc, could have such a long translation and there exists somebody who could deliver such a long thingy with in the same time, for issues related to dubbing, time is to be essentially maintained.

also hard to believe that tweety calls sylvester a 'pyare billi'. The essence of the show is lost with the translation...

Akhilesh said...

Hey... I slisha exaggerated here and there....

bharath said...

well u have tried to proove a point against these translated stuff which is well carried da... so exaggerations are acceptable...