10 February, 2010

Quizzing with an Idiot Box

Television is not just an Idiot Box anymore. It keeps my mind at work at least. We are always playing a guessing game - truth or lie? I have been left on the guessing side since Television drifted from giving to selling. Now it's a fish-market out there. Modest to ambitious fisherwomen/men. Grunted to greedy customers. Fishes - of all kinds. But it's a market, and some decided to stay home. They started watching Television on mute, lip-sync and laugh.

And how moral can a market get? So soon Television started lying. In the days of Colour Television, it became more so difficult separate the black from white. With a solid backing from everyone - the businessmen, the audience, and the entertainers - the show went on. Everybody found a way out.

The scriptwriters
You have an idea? They have a script.
Auro from Paa?
Say that the kids want to talk to him, put him on phone (service provider - Airtel), and put him on Television.
Skin cream?
Say that it helped Malaika Arora Khan and Arbaaz Khan to bring lost love right back into their married life.
Chitragandha Sen comeback?
Put her everywhere - ramps, photoshoots, page 3 parties, ads, shows - one could choke on the overdose, with no movie release of an actor of that caliber in sight.

“To bypass the media, think like they do…
You will need to be a maverick.”
  - David Meerman Scott, (New Rules of PR, 2006)

They are the least to blame; their prime job is to churn money. They converted everything and everyone into a brand and sold it. PR went all out, and soon entertainment got the better of media. But the major choke point was when the News channels gave in.

The audience

We - the people, we will take anything, with a pinch of salt or otherwise. Dara Singh's son, Rakhi Sawan't mother - everybody was watched, and celebrated. The difficult audience found their peace in very selective channels or shows, or in the game-plan of keeping the mind away.

Publicity stunts call for a lot of lying - unnecessary lying in the name of entertainment. If the audience was smart enough to understand that their favorite movie star is after all human too, then they would probably appreciate his/her life for what it is, and him/her for who they are. Only if the public understood their lives were a movie too, and found peace if it was never screened in the theaters. Sorry, multiplexes.

The 2 idiots and a dog
Aamir Khan named his dog Shahrukh and so much has happened since that nobody remembers the dog that bought the 2 idiots this share of fame.

At the Sahara Indian Sports Awards 2009, noted Badminton player Prakash Padukone, gave an advice to the players in his speech after receiving the Legend Honour award. Here's an advice not just for the players, but for everybody who will go to any lengths to be remembered. He said, “Keep away from controversies." The 2 idiots had toed the same line, until recently.

Why then are the King and the Perfectionist honoring us with a dogfight on National Television? Why did the Perfectionist have to start it and the King follow? Aamir had said, talking about his forthcoming movie, "An idiot is someone who makes a mistake once and repeats it." So all hope is lost.

"Bow wow", Sharukh, the forgotten dog protests.
“Who decides what is entertainment?”, he barks out.
He has got Aamir's intelligence.

Fools rush in
A recent article threw some light on how the Age of Greats is gone. We will now have 5 minutes of claim-to-fame stars. Public memory is short and there's a media explosion. Nobody has the time to celebrate someone else's life for too long. You have to be in the public eye, somehow, anyhow. So be in the music albums, movies, ads, photo shoots, publicity gimmicks, reality shows, and page 3 parties. Be on the ramp. Be in the news - a deal brokered between the entertainers and the businessmen, for the audience.

Times are changing, always. Greats of any time were the ones who did things differently. If today is the age of maximum-publicity, then it's time to go down under. If at 45 a star wishes to remain one at 60, he can follow the script. But if at 45, he/she dreams of being great at 60, then it should shine bright, and show less often.

Most favorite movie
Imagine a world where you have only black or white to choose from, always. This is the world where you can’t play games. Only truth was heard, which left a lot many hurt. But then it also made them brave. For then they became sure.

The need to be known, and remembered, amongst the people is more than before. For others, it’s the need to feel connected. It’s a good demand-and-supply situation for the market, so the businessmen are at work. It’s the audience and artists-turned-entertainers who can leave with this thought -

We are brands anyway, we are brands too.
So let us be ourselves, and let us be good.

No need to be quizzing with an Idiot Box.

No comments: