TV and social obligations
Talking of Television in the Indian context there are clearly two divisions. On one side there is the state-owned Doordarshan (DD) and on the other lies the herd of satellite TV channels. The distinction off course is in the very way they function. DD has been, traditionally, the mouth-piece of the ruling party, serving its filthy purposes. But if you could digest ignoring this motive you can clearly say that there still is a lot of programming that DD does which satellite channels cannot even think of foraying into. Can you expect, for instance, watching a programme for framers like “Krishi Darshan”, or the “National Program of Dance” or documentaries made by lesser known film-makers on Zee TV or Star-plus. I am talking about the social obligations of mass-media.
For satellite channels the compulsions are obvious. In the race for TRP and revenues you have no other option but to run-rerun saas-bahu tear jerkers and those raunchy remix videos. Doordarshan on the other hand has had the luxury of grants and subsidies and what not. Still after the advent of Prasaar Bharti even DD had to earn its bread and you can clearly see the shift in focus as your favorite vrind-gaan and teleplays bite the dust. Thank goodness though, some goodness may still be left in DD.
One of the recent programmes that I liked, and which has been immensely popular, is the award winning thriller Jasoos Vijay that is aimed at creating AIDS awareness and conectrates on issues related to gender-discrimination. Funded by the BBC and NACO, the producers have roped in Om Puri as the anchor. The format is very interactive, targeted at the rural audience and the viewers can even win pries by guessing the criminal. What I like about the serial is the right-mix of entertainment and education. In the backdrop of the adventure and masala the message is conveyed in a candid-local lingo. An interesting aspect of the serial is the central detective character, played by the pockmarked Adil Khandakar Hussain, who has been depicted as being HIV+ himself. As the story progresses with his love for Gauri the serial will deal with a touchy issue on the subject, should an HIV+ person given the right to marry. The serial has been dubbed in various regional languages and the recent buzz says that the series would now be shown in Thailand and Cambodia too.
If you like such serials there is another AIDS awareness program called Haath se haath mila, that takes young people on board two special buses that travels to cities, towns and villages. Their primary aim is to persuade people to use condoms. My Kudos to the producers!
Hindi version of this post is available here.