Idiots Killed the TV Star

Every generation grows up with a defining image; one that stays etched in its collective memory long after the generation itself has gone senile and joined the BJP. For example, people in the ’70s grew up with ‘free love’, believing that the key to world peace lay in unshaven female armpits and – OHMYGOD I’M RIDING A GIANT UNICORN! WHEEEEE!!!

Of course, the psychedelics wore off at some point in the ‘80s, but it was too late – 80s fashion had already been created. While women walked around sporting huge plastic earrings that men were trained to jump through, my ‘90s generation was shedding its diapers and becoming aware of the phenomenon that would shape its world for a long, long time. I’m talking about paradigm shifts in the erstwhile neo-socialist Indian economy.

OK no, I’m talking about TV.

The ’90s were a simple, yet glorious time for Indian TV, because Ekta Kapoor was still in school, giving English teachers a stroke with her kkkspelllinggg. As a result, people on TV did not look as if a jewellery store had thrown up on them, and cameras were not operated by epileptic monkeys.

But modern TV raises a lot of questions. For example, why has law been outsourced to Rakhi Sawant’s bosom? Who pissed in the gene pool that Raja Chaudhary crawled out of? And most importantly, what is a Dolly Bindra and why is it stomping across my TV screen?

Things were better in the ’90s. With fiction programming that included Circus, Fauji and Byomkesh Bakshi, it was clear that the TV industry could produce quality content that, unlike today, was not about some underage bride getting married to a Thakur, who also had a half-brother married to two women, one fair and one dark, both of whom were having an affair with the midget woman next door, who also happened to be a manglik, thus causing their ‘Baa’ (Gujarati for ‘old women who look like sheep’) to die and be reincarnated as Pamela’s implants.

Even Mandira Bedi – a woman who thinks ‘leg slip’ is some kind of lingerie – managed to appear normal back then with the critically-acclaimed Shanti (which I would’ve watched if they had incorporated ninja turtles into the story)

Then there was Sea Hawks, Surabhi, Malgudi Days – shows that, if you were to try and pitch to a channel head today, would result in him rolling up your script and using it to do blow off a sponsor’s arsecrack.

Remember, all these shows aired on just two DD channels (which, today, are the TV equivalent of a Chilean mine.) And now, with 100+ channels, there’s no room for fresh ideas, thanks to “market research”, which is a technical way of saying that a watchman sitting in Gorakhpur will not like them.

It’s scary that kids today will grow up and nostalgize about present TV shows. They’ll talk about the good ol’ days, when an ‘undercover agent’ seduced a guy, then had a sex-change and seduced his girlfriend, or about how Arnab Goswami created history by sitting silent for thirty seconds.

I, on the other hand, will be the incontinent geezer at the retirement home, harping on about DuckTales and Talespin, until somebody shuts me up, or better yet, gives me a BJP ticket.

(Note: This is my HT column, dated 21st November 2010.)


16 responses to “Idiots Killed the TV Star

  1. Most of the shows u talk about was eighties. But otherwise I love your blog:)

  2. The one thing that stands out in the 90s,when it came to TV, was this:No squabbles over the remote. Actually, there was no remote to squabble over. We watched everything as one big, happy family – at least until the news came on.

  3. tailspin and duck tales!u forget weirdness like chandrakanta and the beginnings of the mythological serial craze… thats when women laden with more jewellery than sense started showing up on tv.. loved the post though..

  4. funny…yet true also…:)

  5. Reincarnation of Women Looking like Sheep as Implants… thought provoking 😀

  6. HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! This is hilarious!I was going to pick and quote my favourite lines but I realised I'd probabl end up copy pasting the whole post. Really really funny stuff! 🙂

  7. Omg, you had me cracking up, as always! Seahawks-my absolute favv! and ooh, you forgot Alif laila, that was the mother of high-tech visual effects back then! not to mention guys with dreadlocks and purple eye shadow!

  8. too much nostalgia for even a 21yr old like me. needs moar alif laila and adhikari bros. showsgreat blog, btw

  9. "or about how Arnab Goswami created history by sitting silent for thirty seconds." – Lol

  10. How can you forget tuesday afternoon movies in 95?BTW ever though of writing a post on Mithun

  11. yeah…and you left out Sam D'silva!TV was good back then, now its more of a noise making contraption in the house…

  12. Rofling and loling at “Baa”- gujarati for old women who look like sheep
    Hilarious! This has to qualify as one of the funniest things I’ve ever read!
    Can’t stop laughing!!

  13. Sea Hawks was so filled with all the hot and cute guys of that era! Sigh, you make me nostalgic now.

  14. I loved all those shows and it’s odd but even my brother who was an early 90s baby, did not have the privilege of growing up with those shows. And you’re right, it’s definitely scary to think of what their nostalgia will comprise of. I think I’m going to refrain from having kids till the good TV comes back.

  15. Epileptic monkeys, Arnab Goswami and Dolly Bindra- God, @Ashish Shakya, how on earth do you write these totally side-splitting, hilarious lines??!! I am hooked on to your blog.
    P.S.- thanks for making my days bearable. Your articles lift my mood like nothing else!

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