Years have passed, but the situation remains the same. Husbands come home tired, after long hours of work. Instead of giving them the chance to enjoy their favourite sport on television, the wives remain glued to the television drama called serials. What has changed then? The content?
A major difference from those years is the uprising number of channels. On top of it, is the digital set-top box revolution. It enhanced the picture clarity and thereby viewing of television shows, be it the news, sports or movies. The ability to record TV shows, view cooking recipes, or to engage kids in visual stories is a novel idea which got developed at a surprisingly fast pace.
Nowadays, the pool of television shows have been of mixed variety. With the addition of newly released movies appearing on television within six months of their release, television has got a huge uplift in the entertainment industry. The various news channels covering news from all parts of the world every moment, inclusion of stand up comedy shows, chat shows, mythological dramas, and reality shows have added a lot more color to the creative entertainment media.
Majority of the reality shows are aped from the western countries, and hence can be considered as hampering the creative side of Indian writers. No reality show exists without public voting through SMS and phone calls. Whether this way of selecting winners is right or wrong, could well be debated upon. But it also needs to be mentioned that because of these buzz and exposure, viewers have become more aware of shows like Who wants to be a Millionaire, Big Brother and American Idol.
Long back, the family issues and problems arising from a big joint family were the main theme of the television serials. But now, the protagonists are no longer confined to the roles of ‘saas’ (mother in law) and ‘bahu'(daughter in law). Issues like child marriage, family laws, autism are also handled through this media.
Aap ki kachehri on Star Plus solves family related issues that could have been taken months to solve in a family court. It also generates awareness of laws pertaining to the domestic issues. Aapki Antara on Zee TV deals with the handling of an autistic child and the trauma of the parents, in dealing with the narrow minded society and making them understand about autism. Balika Vadhu on Colors started off portraying the troubles, a child has to undergo when she is married off at a younger age.
But just like the Newton’s third law, there is a downside to these portrayals too. The image of a good-loyal-humble-truthful-hardworking-heroine and hero remains intact. The devilish negative characters are also part of every show. This can be justified, as without any villains or negative portrayals, how can there be twists and turns enough for the show to continue for some episodes!
Also, the increase in the number of open-minded viewers is substantial. Though issues were stirred up, they are now ready to view gay portrayals in television shows, advertisements pertaining to condoms and contraceptives, and also participate in shows like Sach ka Samna, the Indian version of The moment of truth. The increase in the advertisements in between their favourite shows does not irritate them any more. Instead, the innovative and creative ads like Zoozoos entertains them enough, to become their fans.
Yet, the good oldies like the singer talent show, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, the dance talent show, Boogie Woogie and CID are still continuing their telecast. The songs, dance, film award events, (and now even Telly awards) are still an integral part of the television media. A ‘shaadi’ (marriage) in a television serial takes an entire week of telecast to get completed. The good old national service of India, DD National News still telecasts daily at 8pm. And yet, there is no doubt, that the television content has already got upgraded.
Like Web 2.0, the Television 2.0 has emerged and is here to stay.