Blatant vulgarity or conservative ?

Shiva   He tilts his head while asking those superficially embarrassing personal questions to celebrities and gives that I-could-beat-a-toothpaste-ad smile when they answer coyly. Be it that or cozying up with them on television, Karan can do it in style. And he is back on primetime television, to ensure that his guests are ready to spill the beans for him and for the TRPs.

Honest or otherwise, the Koffee with Karan show is successful at fuelling and feeding our interest in knowing the celebrities up close and personal. The chat show is chatty at best and although well scripted, gives the viewer a feeling that the celebrities are being spontaneous in front of the television cameras (few of them genuinely are).

But the question is; how much of bean-spilling is healthy for viewers, Karan and the celebrities? Apparently not so much! Karan was recently reprimanded by Rishi Kapoor publicly for having let Sonam and Deepika poke fun at Ranbir on the show. The girls, who were earlier Ranbir’s dates, revealed few dirty little secrets, including Ranbir needing a pack of condoms, probably as a forewarning to Ranbir’s next date.
Although most of these minute details were rendered inaudible in the giggles of the three of them (Karan, Deepika and Sonam), Ranbir’s papa Rishi did pick those up and issued a statement at how much he was disgusted having to hear his son being spoken ill about.

The issue did not stir up anymore storms after Karan tweeted saying he had talked to Ranbir about it and the latter was cool on the whole issue. Fair enough. But in the first place, how minute the details needed to be revealed on the show? Where would one draw a line to not intrude into other’s private space?

Why did not Karan ask such questions to Ranbir when he earlier appeared on his show? Even if he did, would Ranbir have been asinine enough to wreck his ex-girlfriends’ modesty? We will never know. But the bullying trend continued in the subsequent episodes of the show (featuring Farah and Imtiaz) when the fun was made at RGV’s expense.

While Karan is getting his high profile contacts to spill the beans, Rakhi is more on the ferocious side. The item dancer turned reality TV star turned reality TV host is doling out justice in Poolan Devi style in her Raakhi Ka Insaaf. She is calling people names, once forcing a poor soul to end his life after one such name calling episode of him was telecast on national television, reproaching many of them and generally hurling abuses at the participants who are brought to her court seeking Raakhi Ka Insaaf.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry took note and issued directives to NDTV Imagine for pushing the show to late night (in the 11.00 p.m. – 5.00 a.m. slot). She also quickly earned the ire of the National Commission for Women (NCW). Girija Vyaas, chairperson of NCW came down heavily on the show and Raakhi for “blatant vulgarity” and using “foul language”. Vyaas is also urging the government to speed up the process of bringing the amended Prohibition of Indecent Representation of Women and Children Bill, 2008, in parliament to ensure monitoring of content on the electronic media.

But these are times when the inevitability of movie censorship is even being questioned. The act of pushing the slot to 11 would not necessarily make it inaccessible to children. They are exposed to more such obscenities, thanks to the internet that is exploding with Raakhis of different dimensions. It’s still best left at the viewers’ discretion to keep these shows safely away from the reach of children if they think it’s not safe for them.Unlike the national television which has managed to attract almost all the frontline celebrities like a moth to an electric bulb, television scene down south is still sober to some extent. Barring a few talk shows and game shows (Coffee with Anu, Jackpot and so on) or critique shows like Haasini Pesum Padam, not many shows have been conceptualized by channels.

The regional television is still best left for the bored housewives and the film-focused content. And an occasional award night. Variety is still not the spice of life here.

In that context, it’s also safe to say that we are still far from the madding crowd. Sometimes, it’s good to be upright – at least in the pretext of being conservative.

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