How hard is it to entertain?

Tough question, I know. But as a viewer or consumer of entertainment, I have to say, it’s not that hard to entertain me. I don’t demand complicated stories or over-the-top, unbelievable settings. In fact, I want quite the opposite. Something I can relate to. Something I can believe. Something I can smile with or occasionally, feel sad with. Unfortunately, no Hindi TV channel can offer me this.

When I ask for the above, I know I’m in the minority. But this is a sizeable minority, I would like to believe. Pundits would have other opinions supported by floors of papers and polls and research. But hey, no one asked me. Or anyone I know! And all of us want something simple.

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KwK: Yawn

Koffee with Karan (KwK) was an entertaining show. His inside knowledge of Bollywood made him the best suited interviewer in a long time. He didn’t have the finesse of Simi Garewal and thankfully, he didn’t have her stuck-up-ness either. What the show offered was pure fun. Friends chatting over coffee (or koffee).

Now, it’s back for a third run, and it’s boring. For one, most of the guests have been repeats. The combinations of guests will change and the whole show may make you feel like you are an unwelcome guest intruding on a private conversation, but it’s all still fun. If your idea of fun is watching paint dry, that is!

You know, it’s all well and good to show off that you know the guests intimately, but hey, we’re not getting anything new. One has to ask if the show is intended to give the viewer an insider’s look into the lives of these celebrities or if it’s a feel-good exercise for the guests on the show. In the second season, it was great to watch what the general public felt about the stars being interviewed. To achieve this, the KwK team visited popular destinations in Mumbai (read Fun Republic, Link Road, Andheri West). And in Season 3, they do the same. That tells me that the definitive public voice emanates from there and that the rest of us don’t matter. Not that K-Jo cares. He’s happy in his little world.

So please tell us… are we part of this conversation or are we eavesdropping? We won’t be rude, Karan… we’ll move away.

Specialist Commentators, maybe?

T20 has us captivated, agitated, enthralled, angry but hooked. And much has been said about what players are right for the format and what aren’t. Rightly so, too. Horses for courses is very much prevalent in ODI and Test cricket and it’s only natural if this is extended to T20 — the future of cricket.

TV coverage of cricket is pretty standardized. Apart from the cheerleaders, there isn’t much innovation. If you think showing more stats or graphics is innovation, then no. We have had the same stumpcam, same overhead cameras and angles for years now. The picture quality has improved, but that’s about all. The IPL had one innovation with a moving camera over the pitch, but that wasn’t too popular with the players (and also raised some valid questions). So what we are basically left with for additional entertainment are the commentators. And they — at their best — are staid to put it mildly.

If players are chosen for a particular format of the game, why can’t the same apply to commentators? That would rule out such orators as Sunil Gavaskar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Anil Kumble, Nasser Hussain and more who haven’t even ever played T20 (except Kumble). So to be fair, their understanding of the format is as good or poor as the layman. Okay, so they’ve played international cricket, but then, horses for courses, no?

Imagine if some colorful commentators (like Danny Morrison who does talk a bit through his head, but it’s fun) were to take over commentary for T20… that would add to the frenetic pace of the game and make it enjoyable to watch on TV. What we have right now are former players going through a book (perhaps) that has cricketing cliches and reading them out as required.

Just a thought… can’t we have someone who can talk like he is alive (Hussain and Kumble together is a snoozefest at it most exciting moments!) and maybe have some fun too?

Honey, let’s skip the ad

Watching TV is no longer a simple activity as it was about 15 years ago. Some may argue this is good, others may want the idiot box out of the house. Nonetheless, everyone’s hooked. With the IPL taking shape, domestic fights abound. One of Indian television’s holy trinity: the K serials (aka Saas-Bahu serial killers) have been challenged by none other than cricket; perhaps the more powerful of the trinity (the third would be a toss up between reality shows and movies). And cricket is winning. But that hasn’t brought back peace on the home front. Continue reading “Honey, let’s skip the ad”

What’s up with Tata Sky?

When the whole DTH thing got underway, one thought things were supposed to get easier. The power of choice for the consumer was the biggest bonus for consumers. Alas and alak, that seems like a smokescreen. I know that I, for one, was keen on moving on to the Tata-Sky platform asap and did fight a fair bit for it too! But now, I am having second thoughts.

Initially, it was all clear. I chose a package I wanted and all was well. Regular subscription was paid and I didn’t have to face my cable operator and fight about missing channels every month. But now, Tata-Sky has suddenly decided that I would be better off subscribing to sports channel as a separate package. Er… ok, if you say so.

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