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     Volume 5 Issue 79 | January 20, 2006 |

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Television for the Young and Restless

Elita Karim

FOR an average youngster in Bangladesh even today, one of the major sources of entertainment is probably television. With a number of private channels popping up swiftly, the programmes telecast in them are going through a makeover themselves. Apparently, not only do major telecom companies have today's youngsters on target for an obvious profit, the media has also captured the idea on television, showcasing the thoughts of young people and their lifestyle.

Raihan Alam, a 20-year-old undergraduate student from a private university exclaims that even a couple of years ago, foreign channels were the only way out to actually experience something worthwhile. "These foreign channels would make up for all the glamour that ours would be lacking," says he. "Even now, be it sports, automobiles or music, our channels simply will not be able to top the visuals, concepts and content that our neighbouring channels use."

With the youth changing their tastes and preferences from the clothes they wear, the food they eat, music they listen to and lingo they use to the shows they watch on TV, there is a sudden hype in the country by every other establishment to seize the 'youth-market'.

Shifting from its initial role, in Bangladesh, of merely transferring images and sounds through the medium, the television is now trying to cater to people from various backgrounds. The emergence of the private channels have actually redefined real life for many in the country, starting from viewers interested in politics, gardening, interior decorations, music to cars and fashion.

With music changing its phases from the traditional practices to a more western concept, it has become a subject for extreme scrutiny by artistes, viewers and listeners. The youth today is now interested to know where a particular composition has come from, how it has been composed and who played that amazing guitar solo. Keeping this in mind, various band shows have come up in the channels. For instance, Music Express on ntv tells viewers what the new releases are, give briefs on the latest local and foreign music news and feature music videos, rock documentaries and interviews of bands and music groups.

Kamol showing his guitar basics in Rocklink

A very recent music show, which is slowly becoming popular amongst youngsters is Rock Link, produced by G series and sponsored by Banglalink on ATN Bangla. "The special feature of this show is that it actually promotes Bangla rock music," says Rabid, a final year student of a private university. In this show, along with band profiles and interviews, viewers also get to learn about various kinds of instruments, for instance the bass guitar, the guitars, drums, percussions, keys and so on. "In a way, this show is probably a lot similar to other band shows on TV," adds Rabid. "However, the presentation of this show is very different indeed, to which the youngsters can relate to easily, for instance the lingo used on the show or funny elements used for the sake of comic relief."

A concept that has become very popular worldwide in the past year or so is the Reality Contests, where the viewers directly interact with the television shows based on which decisions are taken. A very good example of such a kind would be the Close-Up Tomake khujche Bangladesh contest on ntv, where contestants were eliminated eventually based on the text messages sent in by viewers. "I believe the 'SMS and save your favourite contestant' idea actually began with the American Idol and the Indian Idol contests that our viewers watched on the satellite channels," remarks Sadia Quadir, a marketing executive in a private bank. "Since the young people are forever sending text messages to one another, this was a very innovative step taken by the media to grab the youth's attention to the local private channels."

A similar show that runs on Channel-i currently is the D-rockstars, sponsored by Djuice, a telecom brand extremely popular amongst the youth today in the country. This show has a group of youngsters showcasing their talents in the field of 'band' music, whereupon one of the contestants will clinch the title of 'Rock Star', upon elimination of the other contestants based on the votes sent in by the viewers watching the show.

A scene from D-Rockstars

The TV channels today also telecast shows on IT and computers. Zanala, a programme based on IT is shown every week on Channel-i. Produced by the famous Silicon Brothers, this 30-minute show talks about computer programmes, hardware, software, latest computer games, graphics and much more. "It's a wonder how there are so many young programmers in the country," says Khadem, a student and web designer. "I try not to miss this show since it interviews programmers, young web designers and graphic designers every week." A similar show called Right-Click on ntv also has the same features and a large number of viewers watching it every week. "I have learnt a lot about animation skills and ideas from this particular programme," adds Khadem.
There's something for everyone, even for the 'fast and the furious' youngsters. Lukas i-speed is a programme about cars and is very popular especially with young men. "In this show, we inform viewers about the latest models, shoot at various car show rooms in the country and interview experts in the field," says Naim, the anchor of the show who also happens to be crazy about automobiles. "One of the major problems that vehicle owners face is car maintenance and hunting for car parts in the country," he adds. "We make it a point to talk about how one can maintain one's vehicle, places where one can find parts of vehicles and also how to go about selecting the appropriate car part depending upon the car model."

Surprisingly enough, many youngsters, especially young women never seem to miss RC Travel-on on Channel-i. Shahriar Shakil, the anchor of this show, travels all around the world with his unit revealing exotic locations in parts of Europe, the Americas and also the Middle East. "Travelling is probably something that every youngster dreams of," says Ishrath Chowdhury, an athlete and a student. "and nothing can be better than actually witnessing foreign spots sitting in your living room. Watching RC Travel-on, I have already decided where to take my next vacation, including hotel reservations and the sites to visit."

With an everyday development of the media, special programmes have also been made for children, for instance, Sisimpur on BTV, an adaptation of the famous children's show Sesame Street of the Children's Television Workshop, USA. With talking puppets, this show interacts with children incorporating education, music, culture and basic ideas of sharing, helping others and activities like crossing the road, brushing one's teeth and tying shoelaces.

Priya Dias in Tiffiner faake

Tiffiner Faake, is a show anchored by Priya Dias, which is very popular amongst school children and also their parents. This show moves from one school to another in the country, where children showcase their talents in extempore speaking, acting, miming, music and also debating. Children and their teachers get a chance to express themselves through this show. "This show is special because it talks about current events and gets kids to opine on them," says Shuchi, a 9th grader. "We have something to think about other than mere books, studies and private classes after school. It lets children portray their actual talents from within, which many still don't have a chance to do even today."

ATN Bangla also has a weekly show particularly designed for kids called Amra korbo joy. This show includes travel, interviews, news items and information about the environment, education, sports and other extra curricular activities. However, the highlight of this show is that not only is this programme made for kids, it is also created by the kids. "These children handle the camera work and the editing along with the anchoring and input of ideas," says Pavel Islam, a Press Executive of ATN Bangla. "We just have a few people to guide them regarding the technical aspects of the show and also when they go out of the city to far off places to interview passer-bys and local trades-people."

Foreign influence is very prominent in the various fields of media today in the country. Doing something absolutely original has become Herculean in the entertainment business. However, maybe we can revise our thoughts about the negative foreign influence that we talk about, because it is only because of these foreign channels that have tempted our creators to take a step forward and spread culture via fresh and contemporary processes.



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