|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 10, Tuesday August 5, 2003|
From Monday to Thursday, our women, girls and in many cases men remain glued to the black box called the television set. It's almost like the time when viewers eagerly waited to watch the BTV's dramas back in the '70's (weekly dramas used to be on air then) and '80's or in the early '90's. But in this era, this attraction is not towards the native cultural programs, but rather to our neighboring country's daily soaps.
though we have four Bangladeshi TV channels, including one national
and three private satellite channels, in our drawing rooms today, we
quite often forget that they exist somewhere in our lives. Star Plus,
For many housewives, who had nothing new to do after 8 p.m. even some five years back, today many of them find respite in the Hindi satellite channels. Kusum, Kumkum, Parvati or Tulsi have somewhat turned to our family members; their agony affects us, their happiness heightens our spirit. But what are these daily soaps actually promoting? Indian culture? We doubt it.
Since when has India been comprised of flawlessly dressed, heavy jewelry and make-up worn damsels and women, who are ready to sacrifice their lives, careers and dignity for the well being of their family and especially their in-laws? In every drama serial there must exist a wicked female character, whose sole motive is to vamp the rest of the cast. Esha or Kamolika became stars overnight with their sinister plans and postures.
we carefully dissect these Hindi serials we discover that most of the
stories spin around a woman, her in-laws, joint family, a few conspirators
and illicit love. Illicit love is presumably the other word for these
daily soaps. But how much of all this is acceptable? Our children are
growing up watching one Kusum remaining ever pious even after her husband
and in-laws turn against her. She tolerates every unauthorized act of
her filthy husband. Bigamy is a common event in these dramas. Children
form a large proportion of the audience of these programs. Wouldn't
these children conclude from these soap operas that falling in love
or getting married twice simultaneous is just as easy as pie and that
there's nothing wrong with it? Yes, many of our children think in a
similar fashion today.
The stories of these drama serials are often untrue, far away from real life and therefore, devoid of depth. But we still enthusiastically wait to watch them. We forget about the delicious dinner on the table and remain rooted to our respective couches. Even an emergency phone call irritates us at those prime hours.
Even the cartoons or other children's programs that our youngsters watch are either in English, Hindi, or dubbed into Hindi. We don't see any quality children's programs being relayed on air by our local TV channels. The last smart production was Biprotip, which used to be telecast on ETV and was based on the lives of our teens and their problems. This was a drama serial that truly managed to draw the audience's attention, young and old alike. Can't our producers make more of such serials aimed at the younger generation? Or is it just barely impossible?
Even the dramas targeted at the mature population are often low in caliber. A few months back I watched one pretty popular local actor pronouncing bhisha instead of visa! That was uncouth, wasn't it? I guess that these people should receive a formal linguistic training before they show up before millions of spectators. Even popular and talented artists like Bipasha Hayat or Shomi Kaiser can't hold the TV audience for long today. We surf the 72 channels only to stop off at Indian satellite channels like Star Plus or Sony.
Well there are just too many laments against our dramas. There are many people who still wish to brag about their local drama serials, hold their heads high when they talk about their regional cultural programs. It's time the sponsors did something too. Why can't they do something to revive our precious past by sponsoring dramas that have a meaningful story line and quality cast? After nTV has been inaugurated on July, the audience had an opportunity to watch some good telefilms starred by celebrated artists- finally some taste of relief. But now the question is how long will nTV manage to continue this trend? Or will they, like others simply drown in the chaos of ersatz dramas and poor productions?
Ninety nine percent of the viewers, I believe would like to watch something new, not the same old rotten items that have been on the air for ages. We are looking forward to the day when our country too would gift us with quality programs, and once again tempt the audience to sit before the TV for a deshi drama. But all this will only become possible when our local directors and producers come forward with some exceptional productions.
Have you ever met a girl?
Have you ever met a girl? I mean to say, the kind of thing that happens in the movies: An abrupt encounter with a delightful blend of charm and enigma. I guess there are many encounters like those in real life. But the outcomes are not always like the movies.
In the movies, we generally, well, almost all the time, see that the sudden encounters are followed by more and more successive meetings, which may result in union or separation. However they end, these movies very often leave us wondering, "Why does this never happen in my life?" This may be because these encounters are usually portrayed in a very sweet way, even when they show a harsh experience; or, perhaps, this comes out of our strong desire to meet the right person, just like that. However, just because these things happen in the movies doesn't mean that they never happen in real life. They do happen. They are not always the typical hero-heroine meet. But people do meet new people with a likelihood of getting romantically involved with them, perhaps for some short period of time.
There is something different about these meetings. You speak, you listen, you observe and above all, you keep on wondering what's going on. No doubt, there is something that goes on at that time. It's in everything: the glances, the words, the smiles, the gestures, the looks; everything. It's an instantaneous romantic involvement. The most romantic part in it is that you don't get to know the other's next move. You are always guessing, expecting, wondering. If your guess is right, you feel some contentment; if wrong, you let it go. You are curious to know more, you are eager to inform. The exploration and dissemination go on like that. But, in due course comes the time to say good bye. You say good bye; sometimes you don't even get to say that. You hear good bye; sometimes you don't even get to hear that.
Anyway, the best thing about these short term romantic encounters is that they are far too much away from the normal day to day complexities of relationships, may be just because of their shorter duration. The person you meet may not be the right person for you, may not be the person of your dreams, but you get to pass some quality time, get to enjoy the freshness of a novel relationship which you have built within moments. And, moments like these live forever.
It may happen that, when I've grown old, one day while excavating my good memories, I may say to the person next to me, "You know, once I met a girl on a train…"
By Dimitri Daniels
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