Category Archives: Television

Recalls, Wildcards and celebrations

If you watch talent shows on Indian television. You will get the drift.

My Thoughts

Watching an Indian talent show is like watching a mega serial. The concept is same, if it’s doing well, stretch it as much as possible. Sometimes as fan of talent shows as me, it becomes pretty draining and boring to watch. The last show I really followed and watched to completion was Airtel Super Singer 2008. Even that one at one point got irritating but I somehow pulled myself through to watch it to completion.

The major problem with these shows is that, there are so many meaningless episodes. The countless recalls, Wildcards and celebration rounds get on your nerves sometimes. I started watching Hariyudan Naan, the other talent show on a different network and after a while when it started to follow the familiar pattern, I gave up. I had no intention to watch it till the end. It’s funny when the channel tries to justify these extra episodes…

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Satyameva Jayate has its heart in the right place

Aamir Khan’s Satyameva Jayate previewed last Sunday


Aamir Khan’s “Satyameva Jayate” has for sure been the talk of the town since the first episode aired last week. The show obviously has the heart in the right place. Aamir Khan’s show is just trying to create awareness and nothing more than that. There have been various shows in the past on the same lines but this is the first one with a premier star hosting it. Vijay TV (Star TV’s Tamil network) had a similar program with actress Lakshmi at the helm. It had the same concept but obviously not as high profile as Satyameva Jayate.

First things first we need to appreciate Aamir for taking such a show to venture into television. At least he has the intention to take the already known problems to the living rooms of the people. At least this will get the people thinking. There have been lots of articles online about the show and there have been criticisms. The criticisms are unwarranted as this is a TV show with a social message. Take what you can from the show and if possible change the way you look at the issue or else just consider it as an awareness show. Don’t expect Aamir Khan to be the messiah to save people from their troubles. No TV show or movie can accomplish that. It always lies in the hands of the individuals.

This is the problem with the Indian society, we are extremely defensive. If someone points out an issue in the society we will not believe and if someone points that out with the statistic we expect them to do more than that. It is always someone who has to change things. Life is not a movie where a hero will come in and abolish all the social evils that exist. The TV show is supposed to make people aware and since it is hosted by a celebrity it will grab the attention of the big leaders too which might actually help the people affected. The message will also reach the masses as at least they will watch this to see their star Aamir Khan hosting it.

It is a known fact that India only listens to celebrities. The two journalists who took so much risk in exposing the doctors running these centers did not receive any help from the government. This is absolute appalling and the fact that they are made to run around to different courts in Rajasthan is even more ridiculous. As soon as “Satyameva Jayate” aired on TV Rajasthan chief minister took action on the sonography clinics, shows how even the politicians listen only to movie stars. But we can be happy that something came out of the show.

The only thing I would say that female feticide is a serious issue in India and Satyameva Jayate has just brought it to light and obviously the seriousness of the issue. There are many other social issues which need to be tackled in our country and these sorts of shows are the need of the hour. Instead of criticizing the show I would be happy if the people try embracing such shows by trying to bring some change in the society. We don’t need to question the intention of the show but just look at the good things the show might do. It is like this when some celebrity or a millionaire does some charity we don’t appreciate them because we think that it is done to save on taxes, but we need to think that at least they did charity and the money went to some good cause. How many of us will even do that?

We think that life around us is rosy and nothing is wrong with the society around us. There is no need to get defensive about our country. Unless we embrace the issues we cannot eradicate them. The country grows and improves only if the issues are tackled. India as a country for ages has always ignored the serious issues and we always want to live in a fantasy land. If we see a video of child labor in India we cry and then complain why that video is even put online instead of thinking of ways to help those children in some way. We only think why someone posted that video to disrupt our great, smooth life. We don’t want to even think about issues faced by others nor do we want to help anyone. The only thing we can do is write some articles to criticize someone who is at least doing something. He might not eradicate female feticide, Child labor or various other issues in India but at least he is trying to educate people.

Satyameva Jayate is a show which is the need of the hour. Take the show for what it is. Try to think that the show is to educate people rather than a one which is started to make sweeping changes. There cannot be a Robin Hood who will come in and eradicate all the problems and especially a TV show which will never accomplish that. I like the show and I think it deserves all the accolades it is getting and definitely does not deserve the criticism. I would like to ask all the writers who have questioned the intention or the effect of the show as to what they have done to tackle the social issues in India, have they even written about it before the show was aired? Think about it and you will get the answer. As of now Aamir has done as great job with the first episode and I hope that he continues to tackle more such issues and people living in defensive mindset realize life isn’t as rosy as they think. This is not a movie, this shows real life and real people and we need to realize that these people are around us.

Different kind of pressure on kids

This weekend we have yet another movie releasing on the kind of pressure the kids go through in our education system. We had “Nanban” already this year, Amir Khan’s “Tare Zameen par” couple of years back and now it is Prakash Raj’s second directorial venture “Dhoni”. While all these three movies tackle different issues as its premise, the message is the same.

But I am not going to talk about the school system but a different kind of pressures the kids face these days. I was watching the auditions for “Airtel Super Singer junior” couple of months back and the organizers (Someone absolutely brilliant) has decided to include 5-6 year old kid in the competition. It is unbelievable as these small kids will compete against 13-15 year old kids. No matter how talented you are it is almost impossible to compete and win in a competition with older kids over a period of a long season.

But again I am not going to talk about the competition format either. This is about a single audition when a 6-7 year old kid came in and sang a song and the judges put him on waiting list. The kid suddenly stopped on his tracks and asked the judges “Appo enakku Veedu kadaikatha?” (Which translates to “Does that mean I will not get the house?) It was extremely funny and showed the innocence of the child. The competition offers the winner a flat worth 40 lakhs (roughly $80000) for kids. Isn’t that ridiculous? Obviously however smart a kid might be you wouldn’t expect a 5-7 year old kid telling their parents that there is a house on offer so I want to take part in the competition.

The fact that the kid mentioned that means that how much the parents have drilled that thought into the kids mind. This also shows the pressure the kid was facing when put on wait list. Was he nervous what his parents would say if he does not get selected? No one knows. I never followed the show after that and don’t know if the kid was ever selected. I can’t believe that the parents would want the kids to go through such rigorous competition at a very young age even though they know that the chances of winning are miniscule to impossible. The channel is at fault here too why you would invite such young kids to compete, knowing pretty well that an offer of house will make the parents to get the kids to compete at all costs.

Now with these reality television kids are facing different kinds of pressure from the parents. Not only they need to be brilliant and get rank 1 in the class but they need to compete in reality competitions and earn the parents a home? Let the kids be kids and have a nice childhood. They are going to be at the loggerheads throughout their life in the rat race of a schooling system we already have. We don’t want them to undergo the stress of competing in a reality show (A concept which even the adults have failed to master) at the age of 6. Parent’s ticket to stardom should not be through their young kids who hardly know what they are doing there and what the competition is meant to be. Apart from all this they are to compete with 14 year olds? Well I am not sure what Vijay TV is thinking. I will be surprised if a 6 year old would make it to the end of the show (Which roughly runs for 1 year) and win the competition beating a bunch of 13-14 year olds. Anyways that concludes my rant. Parents in India seems like they will never stop pressurizing their kids more and more.

Renu follows Ajeesh’s footsteps

Ajeesh’s “Idhuvarai” from Goa was a chartbuster and he even got an award for best young singer. Now it is the time for Renu to shine. Her song “Pappara paa…” from Vettai is a huge hit and hopefully will give her the necessary boost in her singing career. Everyone who followed the 2008 super singer would know that Renu always used to stick to melody most of the times and never attempted anything different throughout the season.For her to pull off a mass song in Vettai with considerable ease was a revelation. Kudos to her for the same and congratulations to her for getting her first hit. Nice to see the Super singer 2008 candidates succeed in the music world. Hope to see more success stories.

Ajeesh wins “Upcoming” singer of 2010 award

Airtel Super Singer 2008 winner Ajeesh won “Upcoming Singer” award in the Mirchi music awards. Ajeesh who sang the song “Iduvarai” from Goa along with Andrea won this award last week. The pair had also won the best duet award for the same song earlier and this is for sure a proud moment for Ajeesh. Ajeesh won the last serious competition I watched on television so it was great to see him win an award on his very first song.

Ajeesh is an extremely talented singer and I hope that he sings more hit songs in the future and wins many more awards.

Recalls, Wildcards and celebrations

Watching an Indian talent show is like watching a mega serial. The concept is same, if it’s doing well, stretch it as much as possible. Sometimes as fan of talent shows as me, it becomes pretty draining and boring to watch. The last show I really followed and watched to completion was Airtel Super Singer 2008. Even that one at one point got irritating but I somehow pulled myself through to watch it to completion.

The major problem with these shows is that, there are so many meaningless episodes. The countless recalls, Wildcards and celebration rounds get on your nerves sometimes. I started watching Hariyudan Naan, the other talent show on a different network and after a while when it started to follow the familiar pattern, I gave up. I had no intention to watch it till the end. It’s funny when the channel tries to justify these extra episodes with some weird logic. When I switch on to watch a competition, I would be happy if there is one. Like for example Airtel Super Singer comes 4 days a week, and if there is a festival on that week they go into a celebration round. Celebration round means, there is no competition, no eliminations but just some time for the network to stretch the show.

Then comes the wildcard rounds, no idea what that means. Suddenly when they have a top 10 or 15 identified, they pop this in. No idea why, suddenly they have 2 weeks of getting the eliminated singers to comeback and compete and 2 or 3 of them are called back. So 15 becomes 18 after couple of weeks and then you are back to eliminating those 3 in another 6-8 weeks before we get to 15 again. Amidst all these we suddenly have the episodes where the judges become incredibly generous and after rigorous competition and judging they say that there will be no eliminations this round. This last minute revelation keeps the audience engaged till the fourth day, because they will have no clue that the judges are going to drop this bomb on them at the end of it.

The funniest of all is the recall round, not sure what’s the difference between a recall and wildcard. Different networks use different terminologies but all these exist on almost every talent show. I did not watch Hariyudan Naan completely but I remember Airtel Super singer when they had top 7 contestants and just when we were hoping to get to the finals soon, they pulled out this recall/wild card out of the hat and had two separate rounds of that too. First the contestants who were left judged and then the judges themselves did later. Well what a great trick to extend the show.

When these shows begin the producers probably wait for the TRP and once they know that it is a hit, they just try to prolong it as much as possible. Some people enjoy it but some get terribly frustrated. It’s fine with me if they have one recall/wildcard in the entire length of the show but having multiple of them and also having these celebration rounds gets on my nerves. I just hope that we get a show which after getting to the serious competition works towards completion rather than finding ways to stretch it as much as possible. In the day and age of mega serials, it will be great to have a decent and up to the point talent show. We don’t want a “Mega” talent show too as we have enough of the mind numbing TV serials already.

Music has no language

Recently I heard a Kannada song and got instantly hooked on to the same. Even though I did not understand much in terms of lyrics, the song was so addictive. This brings me to the question that why people put so much emphasis on language. I remember few years back when I was in college here in the US, I happened to go out with a bunch of other south Indian friends. I had just landed in the US, so I happened to have some movie audio cassettes in my mother tongue with me at that time. I took those with me during that trip and since no one had any other options, offered to play them. These were songs from a movie which was popular in all the languages but the guys were completely opposed to playing that cassette. They were ready to listen to the radio but not that song in any other language. The reason given was that they were not able to understand the lyrics and this was a song which was there in their language already. This is just an example and there are people from various languages who despise listening to any song which he/she does not understand.

That was very strange to me. The reason I am calling that strange is that, we hear so many international songs which we don’t understand. Take for example, Ricky Martin’s 1998 world cup soccer song or the “Livin’ la Vida Loca” song after that. Everybody was crazy about those songs at that time but very few actually understood what those songs meant. They enjoyed it because of the rhythm and the music in those songs. I have seen people listening to Spanish songs, how many of us understand or speak Spanish? We are ready to listen to Korean, Arabic, Spanish, German etc but not songs from other Indian languages. Is our so called diversity coming into play here too?

I feel that music is something which is beyond boundaries. I can hear to any song in any language and just appreciate the music and forget about the rest. I know there are lots of them like myself in that regard. India is varied and has different languages. Each language has their own style of music which is enjoyable in terms of their uniqueness. I listen and enjoy any song to which I am exposed to. It can be any language, any meaning I don’t care, if the music is good I will listen. Music has such a quality which brings down the barriers. How do you explain a Hindi song winning the “Best Original Song” at the Oscars? I am sure neither the international audience nor the jury had a clue what the song meant. That’s the power of music, it’s a universal language.

I currently have a CD with me which has Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada songs in them. I have an entire CD with just Hindi songs. Except Hindi the other languages I can understand a little bit when spoken but have no clue what any of those songs mean in the entirety. If I like a song from a language which I don’t understand I make a conscious effort to find out the meaning. In this day and age, technology also helps in bridging the gap as anything and everything is available over the internet. I always appreciate people who post comments on internet such as“The song is beautiful, can someone explain the lyrics please?” That shows that the person is a music lover and is making an effort to try and put meaning to what he is listening.

People in Indian speak about national integration and keep fighting over languages all the time but at least they can keep music out of it. I hope that this does not come out as preaching as it is not meant to be that way. I was just trying to make a simple point about how music can bring people together and we should not block ourselves out of that unity. If we do allow ourselves to enjoy and appreciate music from other Indian languages, we might actually grow to appreciate the varying cultures within our country. We might even see that our country might actually be able to give a meaning to the phrase “Unity in Diversity”, which I feel still exists only in books.

Please leave your thoughts and tell me what you feel about the topic.