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A collaboration over too much coffee.
coffee and pen

02 November, 2004

Indian Idol

I sat down to see Indian Idol on television. My son tells me it is a copy of an American program of the same name called American Idol.

A pretty young thing, a participant, walks in. Agreed, she isn’t a great singer. The judges, celebrities themselves insults her and says she should give up singing. The girl is almost in tears. We are shown background material about her preparing, her expectant parents encouraging her, the jitters, and her ultimate debacle. I wonder what right the judges have to insult her like this. Just tell her she doesn’t make the grade and let her go.

“But it is like that in America,” My son says. So what? Must we ape the bad qualities of those Americans? The celebrity judges must remember they are on national television and they themselves are celebrities, and it reflects badly on their standing as celebrities.

Will every one of these participants take this lying down? No. One brash type, a participant, objects and says, “You could have put this in a better way.” The judges instead of apologizing and saying sorry, say, “You put on star airs when you walked in.” Meaning, it is star airs they were watching and not his singing style. Hello! Are you there to judge their clothes and appearance or their singing?

Another one, a scared looking man, is told, “You are a timid man. You will never make it.” He goes back crestfallen. What right do you have, celebrities, to insult a man like this. This is what I find objectionable about “Indian Idol.” But my son says, “Papa, it is like that in America.” I say “So what? If they are bad should we also be bad?”

We are obsessed by America and whatever is done in America cannot be bad. Who says so? Some of our youngsters think talking bluntly like the American working class in their slang is cool and fun. No it isn’t. It doesn’t suit our Indian sensibilities and please don’t tell me, son, “It is like that in America.”

It also raises questions about this great unchecked, un-critiqued medium of television. I think we are crossing the limits somewhere. Aren’t we? Do we have to impose the moral standards of America on our unsuspecting viewers most of whom are our youth who are in the most impressionable stages in their lives?

Raises questions, I don’t have answers. Maybe I should put that to Anu Malik, Farah Khan and Sonu Nigam.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I saw that too. I find it very crude the way they treat the participants. After all, they have mustered courage, waited in queue and ultimately what a come down!

Must we copy all that is American?

02 November, 2004 11:12  
Blogger jivay said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

02 November, 2004 14:55  
Blogger jivay said...

I can understand you are annoyed, but before you got down to venting your ire, did you check out one important fact?
i.e., That the format is based on U.K. Pop Idol created by Fremantle Media. This concept was then franchised on to 'South Africa, Poland, USA, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Pan-Arabic region, France, Canada, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Australia, Portugal, Russia, Serbia & Montenegro, Croatia, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan' and now India.

A little history on Freemantle...
FremantleMedia was previously known as Pearson Television, until the company changed its name in October 2001. Pearson Television was formerly a subsidiary of international media group Pearson plc. In 1993 Pearson plc bought Thames Television, the leading UK production company behind such long-running series as The Bill (ITV1), This Is Your Life (BBC1) and Wish You Were Here…? (ITV1).

Pearson Television was founded after the 1995 acquisition of Grundy, the Australia-based producer of daily serial dramas such as Neighbours, and many successful game shows around the world. Grundy had production capabilities across five continents. In each country in which it operated, Grundy acted as a local producer, employing local production staff and producing in the local language as part of the local culture. Pearson Television acquired All American Television in 1997. All American was also an international company, owning many classic formats like The Price Is Right and Family Feud.

The renaming of the company as FremantleMedia came as a result of Pearson Television’s merger with CLT-UFA to form the RTL Group in July 2000, following which it was no longer a subsidiary of Pearson plc. FremantleMedia is 100% owned by RTL Group. In December 2001, Pearson plc sold its 22 percent stake in RTL Group to Bertelsmann.

Of course John I admit that Uncle Sam, it's Corporations and Hollywood with the their invasive attitudes get at all our goats, but like those of the ilk of Osama Bin Laden, must we blindly put the blame for all that's wrong with our world on America?

02 November, 2004 14:58  
Blogger Geetanjali said...

I kind of agree - while it's true the most of us quite blindly ape the Americans (Actually the West) without using our own sensibilities, they can't be blamed in this case. Though I've not followed any of these innumerable "talent hunts" on the idiot box closely I noticed this trend of insulting the participants in each one of them - far from being encouraging and supportive, the judges take great pleasure in cutting the participants down! It's truly deplorable...specially when the judges themselves don't have that great a talent to start off with!

02 November, 2004 19:48  
Blogger manisha lakhe said...

you guys are way too serious! i think it's fact, rudeness is a gimmick, and works very well (translated very well in so many countries!). put yourself in the judge ka jootaas (without being judgemental about their abilities) i think they're doing a good job considering what namoonaas show up with dreams of being your idol!

imagine the blind girl winning! she can sing passably well, but would you put up her nude poster in your bedroom?

chill! if you have to be holier-than-thou, watch the godly channels!

(i auditioned for the very first v pop stars...had great fun...reached the finals even...when they discovered the husband was associated with channel dropped!)

02 November, 2004 21:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have also chance-watched one of the episodes of the show. It was simly disgusting and I am afraid it might result in a disaster in many of the paricipants' life. The way the tender souls and sweet zealots are driven in the trap of ambitions and then pronounced 'hopelessly unfit' is a frightening style of dissuading the ones who are not up to the mark. I pity the programme not because it is American or English or Indian or whatever but because what should we expect from the panel headed by Anu Malik-the master of art 'lifting' tunes.

09 November, 2004 19:32  

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