Life is so dull, when we are caught in our routine. Same thing to do everyday for the existence/survival. Weather it is necessary or not, is a different matter. So when there is nothing pressing, seeking our attention, what we do? Watch television. And when we are not trying to understand new in news, all over world we watch Soap Operas. Wiki defines it is as “an ongoing, episodic work of dramatic fiction presented in serial format on radio or as television programming” The reason it has a prefix because soap manufacturers were its sponsors.
I assure you, India as a part of Globe also has soap/shampoo sponsored TV Serials(a.k.a Soap Operas). In the beginning, it attracted people of great talent, from literature and theater. But as the number of channels grew, the need for more and more Serials brought every artist of dubious talent into its fold. Now the formula for success was to be invented, especially in the face of such stiff competition. It is difficult to say whether it was invented by the competitive news channels first or their entertaining counterparts but it did happen and following Formula of success was put in motion:
- Sensationalize the matter by talking about it again and again through different characters even if the substance of talk(dialogue) remains the same
- Take old news(Serial/Movie) and reinvent it with new input of technology or life style or event.
- Repeat and repeat everything till its TRP starts falling
- Forget the minority population, they will invent their entertainment. Concentrate of the people who are decision makers about important things like “Soap, shampoo, grocery, health-food” etc. After all it is the consumer who has to win in the capitalism.
- The subject which attract us the most is which is always on our mind. Right? So while news channels are concentrating on domestic violence, child abuse, matrimonial discords the Entertainment Channels are concentrating on the unique Indian Tradition of Joint Family by presenting its most horrific and distorted picture.
And who is the queen bee of this Indian middle class pass-time soap opera (TV Serial)? Her name is Ekta Kapoor. She runs the company Balaji Telefilms which is one way or the other is involved in all these Saas Bahu (Mother-in-law and Daughter-in-law) disputes. Her talent as a commercial producer may be commendable but her contribution in weakening an institution, to such an extent, is unparalleled. She has, of late, produced some mediocre comic movies but that is all. By the way I have not come across any production which could show that she is capable of provoking people to actually think in a direction which may help them emancipate. All that has been done is how to doubt each other, how to find motive in every action and how to mistrust each other. But now the commercial success being no aim, she must do something for herself as part of society, to show her creative talent in a non destructive way, beyond this Vocal Violence. Mere comedy and love story will not do. Most people survive failure. Success is the most difficult thing to survive from.
But that is not the reason why all this has been written. I have a question. Why people, in these serials, do not sit down? Episode after episode they keep standing and talking. Why?
© Sandeep Bhalla