For the ads.
Honestly, that’s the only thing worthwhile on TV these days. Not that I have been watching a lot of TV lately. I must have switched on the idiot box after three months or so yesterday, only to discover nothing much had changed. The weird, meaningless K serials are still on. If anything, they seem to have proliferated- I noticed a few new channels. Incredibly they are telecasting programmes on the same lines as the K serials. Apparently there are many takers for daily doses of trash. My neighbours, for instance, thrive on these serials. The news channels are still over focusing on issues of no relatively less importance like Sanjay Dutt’s third wedding. I have noticed that the Hindi ones are much worse than their English counterparts. The status of these channels seems to have remained unchanged during my extended absence. The movie channels-HBO, Star and Zee Movies are still playing re-runs of movies I have already seen, either in parts or in entirety. Discovery, Animal Planet, Discovery Travel and Living and History Channel are undoubtedly far superior than the rest. But for some reason they weren’t able to catch my attention. As much as I love animals, I can’t see any more of them on TV than I already have. Travel and Living is fabulous but I can’t cook most of the stuff they show( sadly, I am a vegetarian and they don’t do too much to cater to people like me) and I can’t live in the houses they do up and I certainly can’t participate in any of their swap/ make over programmes. The music channels are still playing more ads than music, which is actually good cause like the radio channels they seem to play on Bollywood songs.At least it seems that way to me. Everytime I switch on MTV or Channel V, I find either Hindi movie songs or interviews of actors and actresses (are we still using the word “actoresses” or is everyone called an actor now?). I have nothing against the film industry, but an over dose of anything is not good, right? So in short, when I plonked myself on the sofa last evening, I had great plans of spending time relaxing and unwinding but ended up frusterated and disappointed having surfed… and surfed….and surfed, finding nothing worthwhile to watch.
Sigh. I think I should stop trying to find anything good on TV. I should resign to my fate of being a world class surfer, something that annoys my family members a great deal. Based on the amount of surfing I do whenever I watch TV think,I think they now believe I am fickle minded and possess the attention span of a house fly (!). But you see, I am an optimistic surfer. A surfer, who spends not more than 2 minutes per channel, goes through channel 1 to 56 in the vain hope of finding something interesting to watch, finds none and simply re- starts from channel1. Persistence is a personality trait that I have developed especially for TV watching.
After spending more than an hour and a half surfing yesterday, I have discovered that if one finds absolutely nothing on TV to watch(which in my case if often), this is what one should do:
- Find a cannel that plays songs, especially Bollywood ones. Turn off the volume and then watch top actors and actresses make absolute fools of themselves prancing around. Entertainment guaranteed.
- Find a regional language channel, preferably chose a language you don’t understand a syllable of. Watch any of the programmes running and try to decipher the general plot and the dialogues. If you have someone else watching TV with you, get him/her involved in trying to figure out the dialogues. In fact, try to spontaneously provide Hindi/English dialogues as the characters on TV speak.
- Watch the ads. They have become pretty classy and smart these days. In addition to being smartly executed, intelligent and classy, they are also brief, which is wonderful for people who have “the attention of a house fly”.
Towards the end of my surfing spree yesterday I come across the new (ok, may be not new but new for me!) AirTel ad and I loved it! Loved everything about it- the kids, the music, the message. In fact, I was so impressed with the ad that I brought it up in conversation over tea in office today morning. My colleagues weren’t too kicked about the ad mainly because they had seen it many times over, so couldn’t understand why I was so excited about it, but they did agree that the ad was well made.
Though I love the present day ads and think ad making in India has come along way, some of the simpler ads I saw as a kid on DD still stand out in my memory. May be these have stayed in my memory for all these years because TV channels were very few back then (just DD1 and later DD2) and ads were fewer still, so what you saw, you remembered. Who can forget the Nirma ad with the girl in the frock or the Hamara Bajaj ad? Or the Ek-Anek animation on national integration, for that matter.
Nope. No matter how slick the AirTel and other ads are, there is no way they can replace the older ones! 🙂 🙂 🙂