What does Indian Audience want

by Sunita

 Posted on 19-Sep-2015 10:52 AM

It is hard to understand the Indian psyche which seems to be as fickle as a superstar’s moods. We are at once, progressive and regressive, emancipated and backward. Nothing can best reflect this as the duality in our expectation from and approval for two forms of entertainment – Films and Television.

On one hand, Bollywood has been trying hard to glorify new perceptions and interpersonal relationships, liberalization of culture, changed socio-cultural dynamics and a drastically transformed nation altogether. On the other hand, the Indian TV scene seems to be pushing the audience back to an era where conservatism ruled the roost and old social mores and regressive norms were still being followed.

No wonder, while Hindi cinema is experimenting with concepts that were untouched earlier by our film-makers, the Indian TV industry has been churning out the same mindless, run-of-the mill stuff on a daily basis. It is very intriguing that an audience that has no qualms accepting a non-virgin ‘Piku’ or a wayward ‘Tanu’ on the big-screen, refuses to accept a female protagonist who speaks her mind out in a TV serial.

What could be the cause of such a varied mindset of more or less the same set of people who might have watched ‘Piku’ or ‘Tanu weds Manu Returns’ –after all, the huge success of these movies has been attributed to their ‘unusual mass appeal’ by some sections of the media. The latter was also packed with small-town flavour. If masses can appreciate the 'unusual’ factors dominating these movies, why are they so averse to such unusualness on the small screen. On-screen intimacy, while a regular feature in Hindi cinema has still not found enough acceptability in TV serials.

‘Bajrangi Bhaijan’ and ‘PK’ rule the roost in Bollywood, whereas an iconic ‘Ashoka’ staggers behind a perpetually teary-eyed ‘Simar’ and her ‘sasural’ on the Almighty TRP charts. Why this duality? Why do we relish our male heroes on big screen only? Why can't we allow our male protagonists on TV to bring more to the plate than just accessorize it?

Has the Indian audience really evolved? We are still on the fence about embracing our new-found openness completely. Based on this fact, we are not in a position to approve or reprove a content creator for giving or not giving us what we want. We, ourselves, as an audience are not clear about our preferences in films and television. Simply grazing off what is being fed to us and then throwing it all up will not cut it. We as an audience need to be equivocal about our opinions to all sections of the media.

Entertainment is a two-way street. As it is said, we get what we want – and if this is any indication, we are a split generation. We want to be 'with the times’ and embrace modernity but at our core we haven’t really come far. How else could one explain the success of 'Saas Bhi Kabhie Bahu Thi' and countless Ekta Kapoor soaps on TV while the same person also gives us 'Love, Sex aur Dhokha' and 'The Dirty Picture' for the silver screen.

TAGS : indian film television audience Piku Tanu weds Manu Bollywood Love Sex aur Dhoka Dirty Pictur

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