Friday, 26 September 2008

A talk by Siddharth Basu

The first time I got a mail about his talk (in Google), I could not recollect what this man (who has hosted several quiz shows including Mastermind) looked like. Had to google for his picture.
He looked much older than he does in the picture though.

It was an entertaining talk, started slow - with how he entered the TV industry with quizzing (which people would often pronounce as kissing it seems). He spoke about Mastermind, and how it amazed him how much people knew. And then KBC, and how it amazed him how little people knew.
He spoke about how they arrived at the 1 crore figure for the prize money for KBC(fear of competing shows), when the original idea was to keep it as low as 1 lakh!! (which at that time was huge!). He spoke about how they managed to convince Amitabh Bachan to host it, and about the many factors that contributed to the show's success. Surprisingly (to me), the key factor he said was not Amitabh Bachan, or the human element of 'anybody can play and win', or even the money! It was the drama aspect - the fact that a wrong answer would mean you are out of the game (unlike Mastermind where you could still move on after a wrong answer). It was about having to make a decision and putting something at stake for it!

There were a lot of other interesting things he spoke about (TRP ratings, what kind of serials click in the Indian market, how News is now the biggest 'reality show' on TV), but the one thing that really got my attention was what he pointed out about women characters on the small screen. A successful show (in the fiction category of TV shows), he pointed out, necessarily needs a woman protagonist, and a regressive one at that. The audience needs someone who is averagely attractive looking (interesting term), not too ambitious, not too smart. The reason, he said, is that normal women (who are a vast majority of the viewers), feel insecure by seeing someone too different, and way better than them. What was shocking was that he was not talking just about the Indian TV scene. This applied to America, and most other countries. There are very few shows with ambitious women that have done well (Jassi he says is an exception, but there the woman was supposedly too ugly so it was ok).

I am not sure how to react to this statistic. It is a shame that so many women feel this way. Jealousy is one thing in real life, but imagine being jealous of tv-characters!!!

Anyhow, I came out of the talk (which obviously ended with a short quiz) quite impressed with how much the TV industry evolved - from Doordarshan to a zillion channels to choose from :) (and a zillion channels for your husband to browse and prevent you from watching you fav serial)

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Surprise surprise!

Who doesn't like surprises? They keep you occupied, and happy (well, assuming the surprises are pleasant).
But it is really sad to see how Indian media these days tries to keep the audience surprised, and hooked! Be it Aarushi murder case where the media happily penned down a racy story full of twists to keep junta enthralled (at the expense of the family of the bereaved), or LHC and world coming to an end episode.
I remember hating to read newspaper or watching news as a kid, because it was too boring to hold my attention. But converting news to entertainment is just unacceptable. I know its business, and they need the TRPs, but is it right to exploit the fine line between fact and plausible fiction to achieve those goals?
Surprisingly, all this mirch-masala-giri is working for the media - casual hangout places that once considered it cool to play Channel V and MTV only, now play Aaj Tak!!
I will not be surprised if the next-gen kids prefer watching news over listening to bed time stories... sigh!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Joote lo!

After the wedding, I could finally identify my true friends (those who helped steal the joote, and did NOT participate in lifting up Jatin at the time of garland-exchange) from the daga-baaz ones (who I do not wish to name :P).
What I cannot understand is why people might want to participate in hiding the joote. While there is a strong incentive for the party stealing the joote, there is no incentive for the party hiding them - apart from saving the guys money.
IMO, the incentives should be better balanced. Else my choice, in a wedding where I know both the guy and the girl, is quite obviously to help the girl in stealing the joote :)

Max New York Life Insurance - Karo Zyaada ka Iraada

Saturday, 6 September 2008

6 months!

Of increased smiles,
and reduced phone bills,
Of losing track of time,
and gaining weight,
Of so much more,
yet so little that can be expressed...