I was just talking to a friend today and somehow the conversation turned towards old TV shows. I was reminded of this old TV serial called "Hum Log".
The facts about it can be found at its wikipedia page I will only talk about what it meant to us.
It began telecast soon after we bought a TV set. The program aired in the evening prime time and the whole family gathered in front of the black and white TV to watch it from beginning to end with rapt attention.
In the week between the two episodes we talked about it sometimes. It was the first soap opera on the Indian television. The beauty of this show was that the show was about a family and the whole family could watch it together. It was a show based on real life and meant for real people. There was no vulgarity, no awkward scenes, and yet it managed to keep our attention all the way through. The story was usually very simple, the incidents so simple that they could really happen to you. Just a small, middle-class family trying to make ends meet, and every member of the family trying to survive while still struggling to make their dreams come true.
I know I shouldn't but I can't help but think about today's soaps in comparison. The family hierarchies are so complex you need a guide map to know who's married to whom (as I understand it, it depends on the time also, these things change), there's a huge amount of drama, and all kinds of weird things going on. I don't know who these families are supposed to be because they are not from the real world, and who are these intended for. What do you learn from a character who dies 7 times and comes out alive out of some hole in the ground every time? How is it supposed to enrich your mind by watching 2 women act like bitches to each other?
Once or twice I have been trapped in a situation where somebody turned on the TV on one of these trashy shows and I could not walk out because it was raining or too cold outside. And I have to admit, I had a severe problem not puking all over the carpet. Not just the story but the whole treatment of the thing is such that it's disrespectful to the viewer to serve them this crap.
How is it that we have advanced so much in our technology, our economy is so great, we have evolved as human beings but our tastes in programming have become so abysmal?
We had more and better entertainment when we had 2 government channels and a limited menu of programs through the week. Now we have channels in 100s but the entertainment value of the television has reduced to the point where I prefer to keep mine off most of the time. Even if I find a movie that I like and could watch, I have to turn if off because, there are so many ads and so many ad breaks that it makes me more angry than entertained.
And hence my question - "Kahan aa gaye hum log?"