Next week, we’re finally going on our annual summer holiday. Not an action-packed, three-month, round-the-world trip like we did last year. Not Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, or the Spanish swathe from Girona to Costa Brava or any other European country like we were originally planning. Just Goa, just six days.
Second home: Goa’s calling.
We were too exhausted to collect the paperwork required for Schengen visas, brave alien airports and translate musical languages. So we’re off to Goa—a staycation with a twist.
TripAdvisor India managing director Sharat Dhall confirms that many Indians have spent this year rediscovering their country. Dhall himself followed the same mantra. Last year his family travelled to the south of France, this year they opted to see the sights in McLeodganj.
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So next week, if you happen to be at the Park Hyatt in south Goa, look out for a couple sipping wine by the poolside, their noses buried firmly in crime thrillers (me) and non-fiction (him). Who knows, you might even spot us frolicking on the water slide.
Of course the husband, who used to turn a lovely ripe shade of purple every time he saw me watching Rakhi ka Swayamvar (and who only grasped the extent of the show’s magnetic, B-grade appeal when a “serious-type” male colleague told him he was hooked too), will ban all Hindi GEC (general entertainment channel) viewing during our holiday.
Honestly though, I’m not watching the GECs these days. Even the appeal of Sach ka Saamna is wearing off. The ratings indicate that I’m not the only one who’s feeling this way. The show, which was recently bumped up to the 11pm slot, has seen a steady decline in week-on-week average TVRs (4.25, 4.07, 3.03, 2.6 and 2.7).
Of course every new and successful serial that airs on television anywhere in the world must battle the troughs that usually follow the initial peaks. That aside, episodes where the channel put well-known names Urvashi Dholakia and Vinod Kambli in the hot seat have proved to be the most popular. So does that mean that Indian viewers are happy to tune in to celebrity dirt, but that they feel uncomfortable when real people just like themselves spill their sordid secrets?
After all, that guy who’s sharing could be you. And perhaps those families in the spotlight are beginning to sound just like yours. Because themes such as incest, rape, violence, betrayal, lies and jealousy are firmly locked in every Indian’s family chest. Might as well watch the “serious” child bride serial then. At least that’s an Indian reality your urban family is unlikely to experience. Bottom line: Not all truths prevail on Indian television.
One programme I’m definitely not going to miss before I zip off to Goa is tonight’s finale of India’s Got Talent. I wonder who the winner will be. The teenage malakhamb performers from Ujjain? Dancers Sneha and Richard (Sneha has a metal rod in her leg), who usually spend their time spreading salsa fever in small towns such as Indore and Jamshedpur? The Prince dance group—all labourers—from Orissa? Or eight-year-old classical dancer Vaishnavi Patil, who wants to be Madhuri Dixit? I can’t say who will win but I’m placing my bets on the fact that emotional judge Shekhar Kapur will cry.
And for those of you who are fed up of the B-list celebrities that go on all the reality shows just to make a few lakhs and ensure that more people will recognize them (Akashdeep Saigal on Iss Jungle se Mujhe Bachao has got to be the most irritating of them all), Doordarshan recently announced a brilliant new reality show with A.R. Rahman.
At a surprise Rahman concert in Delhi a couple of weeks ago, Doordarshan officials reminded us that Rahman’s connection with the channel goes back to the 1990s when he composed the title track for the channel’s Madras Telugu Academy show (you can still hear it on YouTube). On The Big Band, a musical talent hunt, Rahman will scour the country for local bands that play regional and/or contemporary music. Musicians Hariharan, Kailash Kher and Sivamani will also be part of the show. Now all they have to do is get the show off the ground.
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