Indian TV Soaps Suck!

Author: Ankit

It’s been a few months since college has wound up and since then, I’ve watched a couple of movies and shows, post which I’ve decided to label myself a cinema connoisseur. Which is also what finally inspired me to get down and write this. I take the occasional glance at some Indian serials while I surf through the channels, only to cringe and then turn the TV off.  

Now, now, I feel the need to put forth this disclaimer. I’m not attacking the movie industry as such. Even though we have thousands of movies that have nothing but hero-beating-up -bad-guys-with-dust-flying-in-the-background sequences and an item song replete with ear-rape autotune patches at an interval of every 20 minutes, we have some amazing, thought-provoking, new movies that challenge our obsolete system. Especially over the past few years. 

NO, I’m NOT some elitist who’s obsessed with foreign cinema and has been influenced heavily by their pop culture. Okay, maybe kinda.  

I’ll give you my arguments. When the TV serial culture started back in the late 70s, we sort of had much better content. And a limited number of episodes. Now? Not so much. 

I bet none of you can look me in the eye and tell me that the acting isn’t sub-par, or if I may, horrible. Here’s the Indian serial-makers guide to TV Shows: 

  • Have bad actors without much experience or ex-movie actors who aren’t popular anymore 
  • Have a cliched, beaten-to-death, below-average script that’s not original in the least 
  • Have even more horrible “music directors” who basically just rip-off the scores from other shows on the same channel  

To this date, I haven’t laid my eyes on a show that doesn’t have a  “modern” yet mind-numbingly dumb and “helpless-without-husband” daughter-in-law whose favorite hobby is bawling her eyes out and a mother-in-law who thinks she’s left behind all of their tradition and culture (like male dominance?*shrug*) and a son who has a troubled time choosing between his mother and his wife.  

Most of the shows encourage stereotypes of chauvinism wherein a “good wife” is one that stays home and cooks hot chapatis for her husband, while the “uncouth & culture-less youth” goes against her parent’s orders and out for work. And enough with the 5-cm thick layer of makeup they don during every second of the show! Yadda, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah, 4 years, and 1200 episodes later the family finally accepts each other for who they are. 

It makes my insides squirm when I see these pathetic excuses for a TV show air on our national networks and a “stereotypical Indian housewife” who sits with her eyes glued to the television. Its whom the mainstream media targets, hoping they’ll never learn to think for themselves. 

As members of the information age, most of today’s youngsters happen to have exposure to Hollywood and other international greats and their class of TV shows (again, not all of them are good. They too have a huge audience for nonsense). 

But our mums, aunties, uncles, and grandpas? Not really. The reasoning behind it is simple. They don’t know what they want. The people, do not know what they want! 

Here’s my rationale.  

The entirety of show-business runs on one main principle. “Give the people what they want” 

Brilliant. But if only we knew what we wanted. The fickle-minded nature of people (myself guilty) is no breaking news. Once we know better, we prefer better. Sorta like a 14-year old getting introduced to Linkin Park and immediately abandoning everything else (biased). 

A common counter-argument I face whenever I walk around ranting is, “They inculcate good values of culture and tradition. Also, what’s YOUR problem if we watch? We just need something to see” 

Right. Values like jealousy, envy, loath, misogyny that we so proudly strut around showing off as our culture. Hey, I’m proud of my culture, but passing off all this in the name of it does nothing but give it a bad name. We never address any important or pressing issues at all! 

In shows like The Newsroom, the creator actually tries to get the viewers to think for themselves instead of mindlessly staring back at the TV screen. 

Having genres such as politics, crime-thriller, drama, noir, actual science and not just revolving around “family tensions” of sorts. 

What I’m trying to say here is simple. Quit the complacency, watch and enlighten yourselves too.   

It’s more than high time we refine our shows. I, for one, don’t want to go down in history as a laughing stock worldwide.  

In the “glory” days of Broadway and Vaudeville or even TV shows of the 1940s and earlier, racist and straight-up nope content was mainstream. The only difference is that they evolved. ‘Bout time here. 

Movie making is an art. The same goes for TV shows. They are bound to have a cultural impact irrespective of content. Now I understand it’s just overtly pretentious to expect a common man in our country to enjoy the likes of Fincher and then proceeding to judge them for not doing so, but hey if not something as good, at least not head for the worse?  Showcasing insecure housewives, toxic households, and sexism in its crudest form. 

I’ve personally witnessed the negative impacts of these things in my life. 

In conclusion, avoid such programs until they get the message. Let the so-called “scriptwriter” earn his cheque for what it’s worth.   

Not that the people reading this needed the reminder, we’re all raised by Netflix anyway. But this is sort of towards the less privileged, I guess. 

You’ve reached the end anyway, heh.  

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