Content on Indian Television
An average 20-35 year old person in today’s scenario will hardly ever tell you that they actively follow any of the current TV shows that air on television in our country. We live in an age where Web Series’ and Netflix or its counter parts like Amazon Prime have serially influenced most of the young/middle aged audiences and rightly so, because of the variety of programs these channels have to offer. This has effectively drizzled out the age groups that still prefer to watch TV shows on an actual television. Consider this....if you picked out randomly, 10 people from the age group of 20-35 year-olds and asked them if they would prefer Naagin or Sasural Simar Ka over Game of Thrones or F.R.I.E.N.D.S. or any of the ‘The Viral Fever’ shows, I think it’s not too tough to figure out who wouldn’t take away that crown! That’s not the question though. The real question that we subtly overlook is “why”. Why would they make this choice or what would influence them into making this choice?
The short version of this answer is because the content on our television screens is not very realistic or progressive considering the day and age we live in. Because let’s face it, the likelihood of me or you encountering a witch or ghost or naagin is just as high as the possibility of Mumbai having pothole-free roads tomorrow (*high-five Mallishka*). While I make this statement, I don’t mean that unrealistic plots are less entertaining or even less preferred, but simply mean that the story lines lack creativity that matches the day and age we live in. The shows that affect our choices are also the ones that affect our thinking. Therefore, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise when a show like Sasural Simar Ka which shows two women trying to fight and pull each other down doesn’t stem the thoughts of the youth today who are all about #WomenEmpowerment these days. While at the same time, Quantico wins so many hearts all over the world because the protagonist is a strong, independent woman with a fighting spirit that won’t drown!
Another problem with these soaps is that they are can get really predective, which lowers the excitement that entertainment shows are to bring altogether. The Saas-Bahu plots are created in such an obvious manner that nine out of ten people are likely to guess the actual outcome of the scenario at the end of each episode. In such cases, the entire intention of keeping the audience glued to their seats or to keep them guessing is not only lost, but it highlights the stereotypes that are observed in our society, some or most of which may not even hold true in today’s times. We cannot blame our grandparents for finding such plots to be fulfilling but it surely must prompt us to wonder what kind of impact this would have on the kids or young adults who we all want to be excelling in their respective fields. Surely, watching an 18-year old young bride shed tears over the lack of attention her husband gives her or sob over the ill-treatment by her mother in law, will not inspire a young girl to live and fulfill her dreams!
An alternative to these fictional soaps is reality shows but these too are either rigged or the comedy shows run out of new content and are forced to continue with the same old characters with no new punchlines! None of the content that is aired on television these days is informative, educative or inspiring. Neither do any of the shows correctly and truly depict age old customs or stories that would in normal circumstances inculcate a sense of culture among the young minds.
The current stage of circumstances do not make it a necessity for a family to own a TV other than it resembling a certain standard of living. Infact, when you tell people that you don’t really watch television, it is considered to be a novel and idealistic quality that also creates a good impression because it goes on to show that you are more involved in other meaningful things!
People perceive television to be, what is profoundly known as “The Idiot Box”. The question we must ask ourselves though, is whether any of these perceptions would be true if there really was any awe-inspiring and sublime content on television after all!
Author: Zil Shah
College: CWC Law College
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