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      Volume 10 |Issue 23 | June 17, 2011 |


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Oh no, not another Rerun!


One of the things we like to do as we age is watch reruns of our favourite show. Wouldn't we be delighted if BTV were to air again those timeless drama serials like Shokal Shondhya or Kothao Keu Nai or old shows of Ittyadi and Jodi Kichhu Mone Na Koren? Even Road Runner and Deputy Dog never get old. For those of you too young to know about such references, believe me, they were really worth watching - and re-watching.

But what do we do when we are forced to watch reruns of shows that have lost their charm and lustre, to the point that they have become excruciating to experience yet again? They have begun to resemble a torture chamber where obnoxious images are relentlessly hurled at one, over and over again; there is no exit door and you are stuck to the seat of a dark, dank cinema hall that smells of something definitely putrefying.

Last Sunday and Monday's 36-hour hartal is a lot like a rerun of an old, unwanted and unpopular show. The opposition leader, this time played by Khaleda Zia, has gleefully announced that there maybe more of such shows and even longer ones at that; if it's 36 now, it may be 48, 72 or more in the near future. In the initial shows when it was still a bit of a novelty it was Sheikh Hasina playing the part of opposition leader, who called for the hartal for the same reason – a caretaker government; again the long drawn out, debilitating hartals for a day, a few days, it could drag on even a for a full month. Again, the abandoning of the parliament.

The part of the ruling party, whoever it may be, too, has become only too predictable: the opposition is creating anarchy, why don't they come to the parliament (so what if we switch off the microphones and make sure you get only two minutes or none at all), we can discuss the issue (so what if we have already decided what will happen).

The role of the 'activists' too haven't changed much either: burn and demolish a few cars the day before the hartal to create enough panic so nobody dare use any motorised vehicle when they go out on the streets, ensuring that the hartal is 'successful'. Come out on the streets, get into scuffles with the riot police, make sure some of them lash out at the front-runners (hefty women activists preferred, to evoke maximum sympathy) and make sure the cameras are rolling to get maximum coverage in the news. A few cocktails thrown here and there to make things look more authentic.

The riot police, again, have the same part of waiting at key points in the city, beating the daylights out of picketers if they catch them, dragging them off to the thana and if possible, expressing their life-long grudge against journalists by beating them too for making them look bad on TV.

The public has the same, mundane role of saintly endurance-losing their daily earnings, watching the economy hurtle down, walking miles or taking endless rickshaw rides to their destination and just waiting helplessly for things to go back to normal.

This time however, there has been a slight innovation in hartal tactics. The leader of the opposition has asked her party members to avoid getting attacked or arrested (in other words be like Jerry not Tom) by staying off the streets since the presence of the police and ruling party cadres are enough to ensure that the hartal is successful. You must admit, that was quite a smart move in this cat and mouse game.

Despite such 'innovation' in the role of the pro-hartal activists (remember there are anti-hartal activists on the streets too, you can identify them through the banners) we the audience, are sick of this show. It is hackneyed, overacted, boring and a total waste of time and money. The rotten eggs (pocha deem) are smelly and waiting to be hurled.



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