Saturday, July 25, 2009
Television Never Replace Reliable Old Keyhole
Television never replace reliable old keyhole.
So says a supposed Chinese proverb. Of course, these hilarious "Chinese proverbs" that throng the Internet are highly unlikely to be either Chinese or proverbs (Man who fart in church sit in own pew?!) in the first place, but they are quite likely to evoke a chuckle or two. Anyway, debating the authenticity of these "proverbs" is not my intention right now (or any time in the future, for that matter). I am just glad they are there so I can put them up as silly status messages on Facebook or Google Talk once in a while.
While the wise saying goes that TV will never equal spying through the (t)rusty keyhole, it looks like this could very well happen with the number of bare-all, expletive-heavy, will-do-anything-for-TRPs reality shows on air. There's a voyeur in all of us and that's why these shows are immensely popular. One of the latest is Sach Ka Saamna, a ripoff of the American show The Moment of Truth. Ripping off a reality show, of course, seems like the prerequisite for reality shows in India.
Like everybody else hungry for a whiff of scandal, I have watched a couple of episodes, gasping at revelations of home truths and rating each participant higher or lower on my "scumbag meter", reveling in my holier-than-thou smugness. Once the truth is out, word spreads and YouTube steps in to cater to anyone who might have missed a spicy revelation.
Now it's time for the culture vultures and moral police to show some signs of life, lest the general population forgets them and their beatings. Not to be outdone, (or possibly feeling slightly eclipsed by the with-the-times, net-savvy Tharoors and so-evidently-do-not-write-this-myself Advanis and Laloos of the political world), members of Parliament have begun protesting "the obscenity" of shows like Sach Ka Saamna. Not surprising though, considering truthfulness has never been their strong point.
So while Mamatha Banerjee reads out a railway budget that is really just a haha-in-your-face-take-that-Laloo tirade, MPs sit by and probably go:
-MP #1: Man, I really haven't a clue why I'm sitting here. I just had to write "BC" on a slip of paper, then people dumped a load of garlands on me, paraded me around town with loudspeakers.
-MP #2: You too? I did all of that, read a big "Banana" list of promises, got a bunch of them farmer guys drunk on cheap brew and sent them to the voting booths.
-MP #1: Ah, yes, it's all about the people, isn't it? Not only that, I got my bouncers to dole out free money and then free beatings to anyone who didn't put my name into the ballot. Works wonders.
-MP #2: Check out the [Mamatha Banerjee screeches] on Sushma.
-MP #1: Pity Renuka isn't around. She had a better [Mamatha Banerjee screeches].
-MP #2: True. Does Sushma always look like that or did she just see one of those new Manforce bubblegum and vanilla flavoured condom advertisements on TV?
-MP #1: Manforce? Isn't that the name of Mulayam's Anti-Womens-Reservation Bill protest campaign?
-MP #2: Oh, I thought that was the name of the new park with Mayawati's gigantic statues.
-MP #3: Dudes, quick, we need to raise a protest and disrupt this parliament session. The railway woman is driving me nuts and her [Mamatha Banerjee screeches] is not worth looking at either.
-MP #2: How about the Manforce commercials?
-MP #3: Dude, we're supporting Mulayam's campaign. We can't protest that.
-MP #1: How about one of those reality shows where women wear skimpy clothes?
-MP #2: No way, we need those. How about the boring one where one guys asks questions and the other answers while his family watches and cries?
-MP #3: Yep, that should do it. It's so bland, even Vajpayee the certified bachelor has better revelations to make. We do everything they confess to doing and more and we don't get an applauding audience. Besides, with no skimpily clad women to ogle at on the show and in Parliament, our existence stinks!
On news channel ticker tape that evening: Members of Parliament protest the airing of television show Sach Ka Saamna saying it goes against Indian culture.
So apparently, Indian home truths must not be voluntarily aired on TV for all to savour; they ought to remain at home, where neighbours can spy on them and spread the gossip themselves. Now that's Indian culture.