I have personally always found Vasantham Central programmes a pain to watch. I do believe that there is a lot of talent and Indians have a great deal of potential. Yet, I have never understood the need for long dreary serials, talkshows that do not provide proper discourse or ideas, poorly structured shows and shallow and superficial programmes. I would much rather spend my time on an online portal watching my favorite seasons of Will and Grace or Army Wives rather than click “05”. This is not, my dear readers, because I dislike Tamil. I love my mother tongue and am incredibly proud of it.
I also would love to support an Indian channel because if we don’t then who will? But its so terribly painful to sit through any of their programmes except maybe the variety shows which are packed with songs and dances which require little intellectual processing.
There is this one particular show that has gotten on my nerves more than anything else has in quite awhile. This show called, “Aanaa, Penaa?”. This literally translated means, “Male or Female?”. The main idea of the show is to get 3 male celebrities and 3 female celebrities and put them through a round of challenges which some unifying theme each week. This could be to either figure out if women are better singers or if men lie more than women. This and a few jing jang songs and medley items and voila! A show!
Now why does this seemingly harmless show irritate me? Because my friends, I feel that at this day and at this age, the male and female divide is no longer as distinct as we once considered it to be. The show as my sister would say seems to be so regressive in nature. I once did a Gender Studies module and I felt many of the stereotypes and assumptions I have made about gender get thrown out of the window during the course of that module. Men and women are not as different as we make them out to be. In fact, although we can attribute some small differences such as upper body strength and genitals, most of these distinctions we have between men and women are largely SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS.
We are in fact a lot more alike than different. The categories of male and female are as arbitrary as organising us ourselves according to racial groups, hair colour, blood types, handedness and even heights. These categorisations are here to organise society, not for us to base our distinctions and differences and determine who is superior or inferior.
As such, I feel that the person/s behind this show are either very very unaware of the fact that men and women are essentially not very different or are just have a very flippant attitude towards what goes on our televisions. This is what irritates me the most. We, the audience are not stupid people. There are so many things to talk about, so many ways to structure programmes. Yet, time and time again our intelligence is undermined with shows that do nothing to enhance our way of thought or for that matter even to provide us with something bearable and at the very least humorous to watch.
Another thing that irks me about this show is the immense amount of stereotypes the celebrities featured, lean on to “support” their sex. Such as the age-old joke about the Indian girl who lies to her mum about group study and goes clubbing, who changes her clothes from a long sleeved shirt to a tube. OR the jokes about Indian men and their numerous girlfriends. And other rubbish like this. I am not saying that these things don’t happen in society, but they are just getting very very stale and incredibly tiring to watch. Enough of assumptions and stereotypes, they are so stupid and make you sound stupid and make us the audience stupid for tuning into your channel when we could have easily rented a DVD or something.
Dear Vasantham Central and Production companies,
If any one of you, just one of you ever does read this blog, please.. I beg of you. Do something about this atrocity and joke we call a channel. There are so many issues to talk about, so many programs to feature. There are many themes for variety shows yet you choose to base your shows on the dumbest of them all. Please do the rest of us, your audience a favour and either stop shooting and wasting your money on such rubbish and just import programs or start looking carefully at your society and mirror what they want to hear and see. Reflect us, the people you represent. The people who have stories to tell. Not stories like those that appear in your dramas such as abusive husbands and long lost siblings who fall in love with each other, but REAL stories of REAL Indians. I appreciate that you have a vast amount of production and media experience. I on the other hand am a humble blogger who knows zilch about producing a show. But there is so much to be said and so much to be heard. You have great actors and actresses. Your child stars never fail to amaze me with their prowess in acting. But why aren’t their potentials being unleashed? Why is it that the kind of straightforwardness and amazing conceptualisation we see at dramas put up by our own Indian groups hardly show in televisions?
Give us a reason to support you. Start hiring people who realise that society is not a given but in fact just a template for understanding the world. People who choose to investigate society and not take everything at surface level. People who produce and want to make a difference. People who aren’t afraid of controversy. People who actually represent us, your people.
The television is an incredibly powerful medium to connect with your people. If there is anyone at all who can change and reform this society, it is you. Please do something!