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Monday, November 22, 2010

Late night show

We generally call it a day at around 10.30 every night because the kid has to wake up early for school. He does not like to sleep alone and we love to oblige him. Saturday night I was awake till 12.30 surfing through TV channels ostensibly because I could not sleep, but actually hoping to get an eyeful of the "big" attraction in Colors - Pamela at 43.
Of late, Pamela - who has been out of job in her country - has been raising storm in my country. I think anybody would have; if paid 23,000,000 rupees for three days performance. Television and print - both have extensively reported on Pamela and her 'show'and people like me were left exasperated at the thought - why should I be deprived of it when the whole country is getting it?
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry had last week acquired the sudden realisation that Pamela and other actors in the copycat reality TV show 'Big Boss - season 4' are showing vulgarity, obscenity, sexual innuendo and thereby degrading the 'culture' in my country by 'doing' things we apparently do not do.
Please do not get it wrong. The I&B Ministry was not against freedom of expression, but it did not wanted the kids to see all those "big" action. Everything big should be the absolute territory of the adults. So, it ordered Colors to show Pamela (and Big Boss) after 11 P.M. and forced hundreds of others like me to suddenly become insomniac.
The resultant debate on free speech, government control and moral standard has missed a few points. Obscenity and vulgarity are not objective or absolute. Like in nature, change is the norm here. As the size of the Bikini has shrunk in the last 70 years, so is the definition of obscene and vulgar. What is obscene or vulgar is not decided by the performer but decided by the sense of the receptor. It is the consciousness, taste and value system of the receptor that decides the acceptability (or lack of it) of a show. You will not see it if it repulses you, or will be glued to it if you like it - no matter when or where.
Another point that was missed (or left out?)by media is that Indian viewers had a dilemma before the ban - whether to watch Kaun Banega Crorpati in Sony or Big Boss (both had same timings). As a result, the TRP was shared between the two channels. Post ban the problem for both Colors and Sony have been solved. Is I&B Ministry helping Colors in more than one way - first by raising the storm over the issue, attracting eyeballs and telling everyone what Colors is showing. Then by allocating a different time for the Big Boss and helping it (and Sony too) get more TRP. Finally, telling the whole country about the change of timings for the Big Boss show. Otherwise, how many of us would have been aware what Big Boss shows, what Raki Ka Insaf shows and that these shows now starts from 11 P.M. or think about the money Colors would have to spend on advertising just to tell people about it.
It's a win win for all. And a big show of hypocrisy by the entire nation.

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