Tales from Other Lands – Part – I
A couple of decades ago we had plenty of leisure time in the evenings. Today the scenario has changed. The television was once an occasionally used gadget, just to watch Doordharshan programmes. Post liberalization and the invasion of satellite channels into our homes have however changed the way we spend our leisure entirely. I still remember the late eighties, when television was only a luxury, the way I joined with my sister to watch TV in one of neighbour’s home. There the TV would be sheltered inside a wooden stand and placed above as if it’s a jewel in the locker. By then, watching moving images on that tiny screen was magical.
The proliferation of channels have altered and ripped off the magic from the viewing experience. Today watching TV is no more an event. It has turned habitual. The moment we enter our homes, our hands naturally reach for two switches. One is being the fan and the other being TV, naturally. Every minute we are bombarded with visuals, which engage our eyes and make our brain to retire.
While the satellite channels were started, they totally depended on Cinema to feed the content for their programmes. The invasion of TV into our homes shifted the films from theater screens to small screens. Domestic television channels borrowed ideas directly from their American and European counter parts. Soon after that our brains were borrowed by the idiot box, shaping us as mere passive observers.
The media market grew up rapidly like no other sector. New media conglomerates emerged as dominant market players. Everyone craved to bring out new shows to sweep a lion’s share of the audience. To feed this mammoth appetite cinema alone was not enough. There were some weekly dramas, like what the west named it as TV series. They were received well regionally, as they had their roots in the theater tradition for which the regional audiences were familiar with.
Slowly the show time of the satellite channels swell and they morphed into 24 hour channels. As the duration of the telecast escalated the channels went short of contents. They were in dire need to have an entertaining model that’ll never tire the audience yet fill optimally the airing time. Then came the daily soaps, in the name of mega serials. No one thought that they are going to alter the mindsets of the viewers and exploit them to an extent that no other viewing experience does.