Saturday, August 25, 2007

Of the Birth and Death of Indian TV

Japan may be the second biggest economy in the world, but the jingle industry here is stuck in a time-warp and they refuse to stop using high pitched juvenile voices to scream their punclines. The same "Sugooieee ......%*%^&*^&(^(^....aeeeee" is used to sell every product from toothpaste to Automobiles. There are a few ads which tickle the senses but most of it cacophonous non sense.
The talk show hosts are so goddamn over-the-top with the canned laughter and the exaggerated laughathons that even if I undertood the language any better, it still wouldnt make any sense.Check out Lost in translation for a better idea of what I'm saying.

I am actually missing the early Indian Television scene , which I grew up with when I was a kid. I remember, when we first bought a TV in 1986. Those days were extra special with the whole household's routine planned around Chitrahaar,Ramayan, Mahabharat,Samachar,Fauji, Buniyaad and Circus. My fav spot used to be the Sunday evening 5PM with Giant Robot .. Then, ads were never considered the nuisance that they are now, cos most of them made sense and most of the everyday average-Pandus could understand and relate to em. Anyway since DD was the only one channel around, there was not much scope for channel hopping during the ad-sequences. If DD decided to air only ads on Saturday evening, we would have uncomplaininingly watched em:)
We knew the names of every single newsreader ...Minu, Rini Khanna who later became Rini Simon or the other way around, Tejeshwar Singh, Neeti Ravindran,Gitanjali Aiyar,Komal GB Singh,Sunit Tandon. TV has lost that personal small town feeling it had when it first hit India.
The color stripes with that annoying shrill background sound giving way to the DD opening song in the afternoon was the thrill of the day..The DD emblem slowly materialising outta a circular orb, with the shehnai Taa na nana naa in the background.

The oldest ad that I remember is the one with Javed Jaffrey in Cinkara. "Bechara kaam ke boj kaa maara" and then a spoon of Cinkara and he flying thru the glass door. Fascinated me endlessly to see all the glass flying around :)
Then there was the Goodwards gripewater ad. The one featuring the three generations. Very touchy feely ad.
I still like the freshness in the Torino jingles set to that very catchy tune.
-Its a great great feeling,
the taste sends u reeling ..Aah..Torino Orange
and the
Its a new new sensation,
Orange fascination .Aaah..Torino Orange

Then there was the ubiquitous Nirma Ad..
Doodh si safedi, Nirma se aaye..Rangeen kapde bhi khil khil jaaye..Sabki pasand Nirma.

The Maggi tomato ketchup sequences with JJ and Pankaj Kapoor..mouthing inanities like 'Lily, Dont be silly' and 'It's Different' :)

NECC: Sunday Ho Ya Monday, Roz kaye ande.....

ECE: Jyada de ujala, hyaada din chalne waala ECE Bulb aur ECE tube :)

No new fangled "Isme me hain Ultra phenicol penta sodium meta isosilicate zinc chlorate micro granules jo Dandruff ko jad se nikaale " [Shudder], just old fashioned Pappu-Kamala stuff.

Sue me for being an emotional cliche, but I'd rate Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, Baje Sargam, Ek Chidiya Anek Chidiya,Purab se soorya uga as the best ever social messages that have been conveyed via the visual media in the history of Indian Television... Simple, subtle , classy...

Anyways, while the Cable TV revolution was a breath of fresh air for the Indian TV scene when it came in, all they seem to air off late is the mind numbing Saas-bahu crap.

Sigh.
Ting Tin Ti Ting.

1 comment:

Sudhir pai said...

retrospective introspections indeed!
i loved each of these ads you've mentioned. there are those that have probably slipped your introspection but i'm sure you loved those ads too...
remember the initial britania ads...
tin tin ti ding!
and fevicol ka jod!
actually there have been some really incredible ads that have come in the 90's, but they've been lost in the middle of a lot of ads that just failed to create an impression...
i thought the mummy ! do minute ads were pretty cool too... and sunflower ads in the 80's...
hey and there was this one ad which i really loved...
remember "with a cigarette in my hand, i felt like a man" ad?
thats the last of the classy social msg ads that i remember...and this was a msg that was exclusively aired for zee in 1992.i still love the concept of mile sur mera tumhara, i think its still very fresh, and more relevant today than ever before in its own subtle way.