June 7, 2007

Dil Dehelani Wali News

A bearded man with slicked back hair ending in a ponytail stands in front of a screen that looks like a cheap rendition of a Powerpoint template. It has an inset where you will constantly see people beaten up, morchas and chaos. (Given the mans appearance you would have reason to believe that he was part of the chaos going on behind him!). He then paces right to left and proceeds to tell you a 'Dil Dehelani wali khahani' in which a doctor is beaten up by a bunch of local goons for allegedly attempting to flirt with a nurse in a local hospital.

The story drags on. There are numerous repeated shots of the man being beaten up. Then there are stills that are again in powerpoint effect style flown in from every corner of the screen with that dil dehelani wali audio effect. The bearded man throws a few questions to ponder on. The local moral police (read publicity seeker) is bang in the middle of your screen. His henchmen try to peek into the camera to get their 15 seconds of fame.

This happens at prime time when most of the population of working India is back from a tiring day at work and looks forward to entertainment / being well informed. Only in this case, the doctor is from a nondescript suburb of Mumbai, the allegation was not proved true, possibly a hundred such 'flirty' encounters took place everyday and there are more pressing issues facing the nation that its citizens need to be informed about. Welcome to the world of Indian News Reporting

Indian news reporting has hit new lows with the addition of competition. The arrival of the private sector to broadcasting promised a lot but today I stay away from any Indian news channel. The reasons are pretty obvious. Practically everything is 'Breaking News'. I can barely see the broadcasts due to a stock market ticker, a weather ticker, the odd cricket score ticker, the ad marquee, the 'Breaking News' marquee, the logo, etc. As each and every news channel jostles for content it doesnt push up the standards but hits a new low every time. And every time they try to shock my sensibilities by broadcasting shocking content I am indifferent, because I have been repeatedly shocked and my brain has adjusted to the madness of some obscure madman.

Does anybody watch this stupidity? (I can only think of people who are a lil' high and cant reach the remote and so resign themselves to enduring the torture) What happened to the good old days when that Tandon guy (yes! the same bearded chap with the excellent collection of ties) on Doordarshan read the News that people in my family stopped their lives for 10 minutes and sat down in front of the TV to listen to him? Isn't there some form of benchmarking with other international news channels?

Whatever it is I have switched to online media, blogs for my news. The newspaper adds a bit here and there, but Indian TV? sorry boss I cant take it. And I hope for the good of the nation they stop the 'Dil Dehelani wali' stories

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