…and the distinguishably miserable girl exits the screen from left.
A typical scene out of a popular “reality” show, ‘Emotional Atyachaar’ on UTV Bindass- a channel who’s tagline is, “Be Bindass. Be yourself.”! This makes one wonder, is crying out loud on national television and making your personal life public termed as ‘being yourself’?
Welcome to a whole new world and experience of television called, reality T.V.Â Technically, it refers to ‘a genre of television programming, that presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and usually features ordinary people instead of professional actors, sometimes in a contest or other situation where a prize is awarded’. Ironic, hence, that the commercial format of such shows is neither unscripted and nor does it document actual events. In the highly competitive world of television media, channels are willing to do anything that fetches them high T.R.P.s, so much so that all moral and social codes of conduct become out of question and the only thing that matters is publicity. Caution is thrown in the air when it comes to issues like viewer sensitivity, age, emotional and mental maturity levels. The question that arises then is what really are T.V. channels trying to prove and get away with in the name of being ‘youth-oriented’?
UTV Bindass is a channel that is a self-proclaimed youth entertainment television. The message that they try to put across is that it is a brand for the much-hyped ‘coolness’ quotient amongst the youth of the country. In the times of bull-eyed marketing and target audience pre-determination, such tactics seem to be getting a stronger hold in the market, as in a country like ours, where it’s a novelty, people like the freedom to choose and when it comes with the added advantage of making it an ego-issue, it works! Gone are the days when youngsters used to boast about their achievements or assets. These days what you watch on television is as important a factor in deciding who you sit with during lunch as what you wear to college. And when peer-pressure rules, it takes one by head-over-heels theory, where one gives in to the lowly calls of being the little Mr. / Miss Popular of their perimeter rather than following their minds to fulfill their dreams. This surely doesn’t paint a very good picture for the country’s future.
The shows that this channel broadcasts stand as a testimony to the degrading standards of the television content in India and also the blind aping from the west due to lack of original ideas. It highlights the need for not only stringent laws by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, but also their strict enforcement. Not one of these so called youth-oriented shows can be completely enjoyed with family. If one were to talk about, ‘Khan Sisters’, the first thing that would come to mind is that it’s a distasteful adaptation of the highly popular western show ‘The Kandarshians’. Do the makers of this show really don’t understand that if people are interested in learning more about how a family-next-door lives, they will physically visit them and enlighten themselves? Another show that successfully brings out the worst qualities in youth of our country is ‘Super stud — The school of flirt’, wherein all possible efforts are put into turning decent gentlemen into lying, manipulative individuals trying to woo girls with all the wrong intentions only to be called the ultimate Casanova. This television program showcases women as disposable objects rather than as worthy and equal individuals, hence, it’s a sad fact that such a show is even allowed to be lawfully aired on national television. Then of course, we have the very controversial ‘Emotional Atyachaar’. This show is adapted from a western show called ‘Cheaters’ and exploits the delicate fabrics of human relationships by planting and/or strengthening doubts in the minds of partners in loving relationships. The doubting partner, called ‘lead’ sets up the other partner called ‘suspect’ with a stranger who tries to get intimate with the latter and if they give in to the temptation, then there goes their relationship. This show completely lures audience on the mere public display of the embarrassing or sad details of someone’s personal life. The agony and tears of a broken-heart fetches them T.R.P.s and in their defense the makers argue that it’s a form of social work as they are helping people with problematic relationships. Shocking Truth: The psychological impact of such incidents stay long after the broken heart is healed, as it develops an attitude of mistrust. After being cheated upon, caught cheating or even for that matter, realizing that your partner doubts you and has put you on test on national television, most of the people succumb to low self-belief, confidence, self-esteem and a very fragmented perspective towards love, relationships and most importantly, commitment. No wonder then that trusting becomes a challenge forever for these victims called ‘participants’ for such shows.
In light of all the harm done by such shows, it is a crime to call them ‘youth-oriented’. For, if they are really “for the youth, by the youth”, they should focus on character building and development and making a sound foundation for a bright future by promoting healthy competition and all this in a fun manner. This is where true creativity lies. Plagiarism is definitely not the way. If the show scripts are copied off successful western shows, what example are we setting for the creative young minds out there? Young generations are tomorrow’s leaders. Feeding them with garbage in the name of entertainment would certainly not help the country’s case. In order to create a great future for the nation, having an immaculate moral fabric is a pre-requisite. Television censorship therefore becomes the need of the hour. It’s high time we all wake up!