Dry TV, wet Dostana

There is no television these days, since there is a strike. I am a dinnertime couch potato, so I am doing what everyone is – surfing channels. Yesterday I sat through some college romance. The same old stuff is still going on – woman dropping papers, guy picking it up, eyes meeting and then there is love.

I saw a re-run of some mythological serial and wondered if god was all about flying objects then UFOs make a lot of sense.

The news channels are by far worse than I thought. The Hindi shows are called Khabardar and such…then all debates have the same people saying the same things, dressing the way they always do.

They are truly more entertaining than the soaps. There is drama – the narco tests are major; religion – the sadhus, sadhvi, mullahs all talking about nothing; emotion – anger, tears, laughter, greed, you got it all; human interest – here is the journo who holds the mike like a lollipop, and seems to have that mental age, taking you to a poor man’s house. Camera pans to utensils, and grimy walls which are mostly blue. I have no clue why. Then poor man says something about poverty; poor woman uses saree pallu and sniffs and says the same thing. This is gender equality. Back to Ms/Mr. Lollipop (gender equality, yoo-hoo) who says we just saw how poor they are.

They take us back to the chaka-chak chamakta studio where someone will show us graphs about poverty and there may be a panel discussion – one suited man, one in khadi kurta, one woman in slightly stylish clothes, who will be a psychologist, and the other in a saree or salwaar kameez with long earrings, most likely an academician, who will disagree with the psychologist, the suit and the khadi kurta because she does not like all these.

There will be some jerky images of more rooms with utensils and suddenly you will see them being scrubbed and come out looking shiny. Turns out this is an ad for a dishwashing soap bar.

I can’t tell the difference most times.

Now news channels have a last segment which promotes a film. The current favourite is Dostana. Presenting to you a review without seeing the film

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Dostana is based on two guys looking for accommodation in Miami; they decide to portray themselves as gay because of some stupid reason. The landlady is a chic woman and they both fall in love with her…blah-blah…

I believe it is an entertaining film. It has many laughs. Good.

From what I read the gay jokes are being given a thumbs up because mainstream Bollywood has done it. So what? Mainstream Bollywood shows all kinds of relationships.

What concerns me is that it had to be a pretence; it wasn’t a serious relationship. They may not poke fun at gays (and hello, isn’t it time the gay community began to take a bit of humour?) but they do not have the courage to be gay, really gay.

And what about the woman? She has a pad in Miami that she is letting out, so she has made some decisions on her own. Why is it that for one who is quite hip she seems comfortable only around gay men? This is the same old cliché.

I am stuck with male homosexuality because, unfortunately, women are not really sought to be a force even here. Don’t throw Fire at me. This was frustration with the spouses that drove the women to do a bit of massaging. Why must it always be a reaction to patriarchy?

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Time for my dose of suit-kurta-earrings and barf. Wait…I shall watch a film only for one song. Safar for:

Jeevan se bhari teri aankhein
Majboor kare jeene ke liye


  1. Thanks to the Strike by TV Crew Union , FV will have more time to write about Vanilla Issues of Life ....so the world in recession tends to benefit .....
    TV remote is a very risky piece of equipment, you tend to feel like GOD, feel the Power to Change .....other than Channels what can we change in life , Traffic, friends, roads, workplace even our own mood ...but yes Channels ....that's like Eureka, You don’t like a Candy Romance, Watch street Chases in Chicago or see a pin strip Politician give you a motivating pitch ....You are missing the variety you see....God is not being God any more .....

    Our TV has always been very straight jacketed, it reflects how stereotyped we are , this morning I went to my son's school today wearing a kurta and jeans with chappal , I usually wear clothes to reflect my mood ...Saturday morning , I want to be myself ....this lady at the school reception gave me a Lalita Pawar look and the principal was trying to tell me I didn’t look my profile , I didn’t speak "kurta" like ....... On TV , everyone will be dressed to look the way they have been classified, BJP Politicians in "Big Fight" will always look like their party manifesto , worst is Communist Party , why do they try to look poor by wearing "Trade Union" clothes....Our movies are so stereotyped as well. OK I have this hypothesis, that all directors tend to get more autobiographical as they spend time, the best story they find is about themselves or a part of their life. From Guru Dutt to Gulzar and to Mahesh Bhatt ...isnt there a trend , only one who has resisted this temptation is Mani Ratnam .....Karan Johar is upto same tricks .....

    We have unnecessarily created an issue on Homosexuality in india, why is one human being's choice of partner an issue with another human being ......that like trying to make trends out of your personal life Say for an example that is like me trying to list down partners of a woman between the age of 18 and 36 and create an article ....one smoker, one businessman, one Jew , One Konkanstha Brahmin, One driver and one neighbor ....man ...that’s threat to the world integration no ..........

    Here is how I read Times of India Ads on Matrimony ....enjoy this ....32, Fair , Slim, Gori, Hindu, Brahmin, Govt Employee, Innocent Divorcee looking for well settled Match , Delhite ....so here is the inside story of the ad .....
    32, Fair (12 years of Fair and Lovely usage, still upset with Unilever), Hindu (still not sure which god to follow but doesn’t eat eggs on Tuesday, makes her hindu enough), Slim ( Courtesy VLCC and Diets, No guarantee on waist and bum sizes , may increase after use ) Govt Employee ( we paid 3 lakhs to get her a job) Issueless Divorcee ( She fell for a guy in the bus , got married realized he had stinking feet and bad breath in 15 days and sex wasn’t too great too, so she dumped, has learnt her lesson now )....and well settled ( guy should have money, simple ...better car than what she can afford in EMIs..........If you throw Peanuts , you get monkeys ........

    Have a Great weekend ...

  2. FV:

    That is why they call the TV an Idiot Box. It is sad what the Indian TV scene has come down to -- dumbed down, sexist, regressive and signalling all the wrong values very subtly.

    Oh the song from Safar is amazing. It has a couple of other very good one. But this one is truly outstanding. Thanks for reminding of it.

  3. Manish:

    Thanks for the laughs :)

    Btw, it is 'innocent divorcee' in the ads...

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    Also called chewing gum for the eyes...but it gives me many moments of irritation and anger to let it all out...

    Re. Safar: Yes, great songs. Kalyanji-Anandji at their best.

  4. Yeah...agree with you about "Fire". The reviews called it "revolutionary", "daring" and "ground-breaking", (which should have been warning enough that it would be anything but)...the movies wasn't all that bad, it was just given the wrong spin; it really had nothing to do with homosexuality. Wasted ma money...which reminds me, would you believe it was selling at a store for 800 rupees? Bought a pirated version for 100 :)

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  6. 'The electronic media is going hyper. News channels are really pushing it. I won’t be surprised if today or tomorrow there will be a discussion on the subject of ‘Homosexuality Coming Out of the Closet at Last’.

    There has been a discussion on that already. :) there was this one on ndtv where mr. johar spoke on a news show about homosexuality and then apparently a demo by an LGBT group too. Too bad all that buzz has been taken to heart by a petitioner in pakistan, where the court has issued a notice to Pakistan censor board asking them about supposedly objectionable content. Not that I am championing karan's cause, but what a shame really.

    I was dragged to a screening of the film in ny by some karan loyalists and the gay bit is slapstick to say the least. It is not derogatory though, in my opinion. It is tough to sit through this kind of candy floss. I am baffled that anupama chopra (ndtv) and masand (ibn) gave it a good rating.

    On another note, I saw this wonderful film at a south asian film festival called 'The president is coming' have heard that it is releasing in india by the end of the month. I thought it was intelligent and hilarious and whats more it stars Konkona sen!

  7. Ya it is Innocent divorce....the only issue is I am yet to see one in real life ...all divorcees I know are not as nice as summed up in one word ...teh heartbreak and pain has too much hangover to be summed up as Inncocent ....u agree ?

  8. Mask:

    'Fire' got into the wrong groove and then the makers played it up.

    You buy pirated versions? In Sadar? I had to shell out full amount for the Pak serials because of some law, they said.

    I ran short of money (yes, I bought 40-50!) and had the guy comes along to pick it up. Turned out to be great because I spoke at length..and he features in the book...so paisa vasool:)
    - - -

    Oh, I missed it...the discussion. There have been a few earlier too, but they had to do with the real issues. This time I meant the 'at last' bit when it has been done.

    I will watch it when it has it 'world premiere' on some Indian TV channel!

    Shall look out for the other film.
    - - -

    They use 'innocent', as in not tainted...we still live in that world.

    And whether one is a divorcee or not (I am), the baggage all have. Don't see how that makes anyone innocent or not.

  9. Nah, not Sadar. Fortress and a couple of other places, in Lahore. Never heard of such a law, though there probably is one...


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