I was reading fellow Howzzitter Showstopper’s article on the Delhi-Gurgaon highway murder. What has happened with our society at large? Why are people so angry and distressed? Why we have become so, so mean and conceited?
You may say that it’s not with every one of us, but generally speaking, hasn’t our society become more violence prone, addicted to blood and gore and always hunting for some opportunity to tear each other apart? Later that evening as I was watching my favourite soap Balika Vadhu on Colors, I saw the promos of Big Boss Season V which will begin on the channel on Saturday, flashing on screen. The two big boys of Bollywood — their disproportionately bulky bodies and distressing humor — talked some nonsense as I sat disgusted.
And then it hit me. Shows like Big Boss epitomise everything that is bad in our society. It started as a framework resembling the jungle called the modern society — survival of the fittest being the mantra there — and now it has elevated into a model simulating almost with perfection, the meanness and crassness of human society.
Year after year, these shows come up with the same concoction of hatred, conspiracy and conceit sprinkled with heavy doses of titillating sex and scandal. Last year, two insignificant worthless mortals — Veena Malik and Ashmit Patel — shot to fame because this show gave them a platform to show off their ample bosom and brawns, respectively, (and sometimes a glimpse of the two in unison, if you know what I mean).
They basically took full advantage of the closed system of Big Boss to ignore the concept of minimum physical separation that is warranted to maintain societal decency and something called PDA. Day after day, week after week they were the talk of the town. TV channels unashamedly dedicating their prime time bandwidth only to weave the net of love (or whatever you want to term it!) around these two supposed love birds. It came as no surprise to anyone that the ‘love story’ ended with their eviction from the house.
Then of course there was a smirking Rahul Mahajan romancing Monika Bedi on TV — if there was a low point on Indian television, I say, this was it. A gangster’s moll and a drug addict turned poster boy (who apparently beats up his wife) get crores to cuddle on live TV with the entire country watching! Whatever did the Indian masses do to deserve this nonsense?
Everyone knows that more than half of what goes on in the show was scripted, with Big Boss intervening mid-way whenever the spice factor of the show went down and the TRP rating fall.
My point is here is simple: TV is a strong medium. It is a mirror to our society as it were. There are love stories and there are ‘love stories’ — what do you call these, scripted love affairs and pre planned PDA?
Are women so easy that they can be had after two months in a closeted house? Are friendships so weak that such relationships can’t sustain a couple of months strain? Are men such idiots that they can be pulled on strings at whim?
The fact is that these shows give out the wrong message. It shows that relationships are skin deep. It shows that men and women turn into animals when they start living in close contact without any other social interactions. This is not true. If this was true then the men and women who are our parents who lived with no discotheques, Pizza Hut or Barista would have been wild animals.
People may contest that it is a reality show where the participants are actually treated as guinea pigs who are subjected to regular treatments for some particular psychological study. No, let’s not fool ourselves. Nothing is real in that show. And even if it was real, it is like the Devil’s show where only the dark sides of the human nature are exposed.
It’s sad that people get entertained by these shows. The media may claim that they produce it only because viewers want it. But is that not another chicken-and-egg problem? People see it because you show it. And don’t fool yourself saying that it is a viewer’s market.
As the Fourth Estate, the media cannot shy away from responsibility of social guardianship. You do not bend to each one of your child’s wish just because she wants it. Right? Same rule applies here. And it’s not only about Big Boss. The overdose of reality shows in form of Roadies, Splitsvilla etc. cannot serve us any good. They are only there for cheap entertainment and fast bucks, and in the process they set certain deploring examples which I believe is making some unrecoverable damage to our society.
Do we need to copy everything that the West does? Don’t we have our brains and eyes to judge for ourselves what’s good for us? We already have lots of societal issues to counter and seriously don’t need this extra baggage.
So I would request all you readers to soul search and think why you are watching these shows. I guess all of you have better things to do. Spend time with your family, may be work for an extra to earn that extra good penny or simply watch some better shows which at least tell you that human being are not vile and it still pays in this society to be honest, sincere and caring.