Friday, April 20, 2007

AB Ash in News

There was a time when matters such as ‘who is having an affair with whom’, ‘who is marrying who’ and ‘who is cheating on who’ were limited to the tabloids or the gossip magazine programmes on radio and TV. No more. The Indian government’s decision to demilitarize the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the decision to put on hold the admissions to premier institutions of higher learning on the quota issue (that’s a different topic of debate altogether), the SEZ issue etc. are being sidelined now with trivial matters like Abhi-Ash wedding, Saif-Rosa break-up and yes some unknown starlet hogging limelight through an unsuccessful attempted suicide because she was allegedly ditched by Abhishek Bachchan for the most beautiful woman of the world (I might not approve his choice of bride, but I certainly don’t blame him).

Are we complaining because we actually rather see people starving in drought prone areas that are facing disaster this early in the year? Or our objection is directed towards the fact that the media has very conveniently become a mouthpiece of celebrities, people who they crown as celebrities or those who are in the business of creating celebrities? I fail to understand the main purpose of all of us who are constantly cribbing that the standard of news is deteriorating constantly. The fact is that NEWS as it was traditionally supposed to be is still written and broadcast. But the truth is that we the viewers choose not to hear the news on AIR, Doordarshan or BBC because we are so attracted to the entertainment factor now that NEWS in its primitive format is no more acceptable.

I have read a number of blogs, seen a number of news specials about how the media is hogging the Bachchans. The blogs and the dinner table discussions bring to my notice the fact that all the participants have seen the news reports of the Abhi-Ash wedding bash in great detail. They are able to cite the minutest of details from where the mehendi will be bought to who was invited and who was ignored. The thing that most amuses me is the theatrical disgust that most have mastered. They will confidently give a passionate extempore for an hour citing news pieces with precision that’ll put scientists and experts to shame. If the news was actually so repulsive how they manage to stand it and then recall the details so accurately remains a mystery. I am sure that 95% of the complaining junta will be at a loss of explanation if quizzed about the SEZ issue or for that matter even the frequency on which AIR broadcasts news or the time when DD shows news.

I am in no way am supporting the news channels and the media who have made a mockery and devalued the sanctity of news and all that it stood for once upon a time. But yes the hypocrisy of the pseudo-intellectuals has started to get me. The excuse that most offer is that “we have no option if all the channels are showing the same news where can we go?” Well if all of us answer this question truthfully are we also not at some level responsible for the yellow journalism taking the foreground replacing all that was sanctimonious. Because the media house answer back saying, “we are not a service, we are a profit making organization. We show what people will see.” But who decides what is finally on the tube? The solution is simple: if we reject something completely chances are that the next time around we will not be served the same dish. SRK has a son and Kajol a daughter. If taking a long shot at the future and wishfully thinking that when theses children grow up they will marry each other. I pray that Aryan and Nyasa will have a wedding ceremony, a happy marriage and not a media tamaasha.