And another week in Tellyland comes to an end. What have you been doing?
Been feeling envious of the kind of people who get to make/watch shows like Game of Thrones, Sherlock, Big Bang Theory, Episodes etc?
Been wailing on FB about your favourite shows that have been pulled off?
Been depressed about your no longer on screen, favourite couple that you’re dying to see again but nobody’s listening?
Maybe you’ve done one of these. Maybe you’ve done all. Either way it doesn’t matter. Cause the cruel truth is that channels decisions aren’t decided by audiences. At least not by audiences like us – from the big cities, metros, with definitely more than 32 rupees a day to spend but definitely very few TV rating meters in our homes.
As far as the channel head honchos are concerned the mass audiences are where the moolah is. Which is why in any channel meeting you will hear words like Sahranpur, Baroda, Kota but you’re more likely to hear about the Nehru family abdicating power and moving off to San Marino than any mention of TV watching people in Cuffe Parade or Juhu or Lokhandwala.
Therefore if you’ve been biting your nails to a fine point, waiting for Khotey Sikkey part 2, Return of Sarabhai2, Phir Miley Jab Hum Tum, Dhrashti and Gurmeet coming together in a new show – FORGET IT. You can shed balti loads of tears, drown channels with protest mails, spearhead seventy seven signature campaigns on FB – it’ll still amount to NOTHING.
Cause fact is the channels’ money doesn’t come from you. Subscription revenues aren’t what run a channel. Advertising paisa, decided on the basis of 6000 odd households spread across the country - that’s what fills their bank accounts. Now if you’re not one of those TRP homes and the odds are 1 in 24,000 that you’re not, then why should anyone give a damn what you like or don’t?
Sure the system is not representative, of course it doesn’t make sense, but it’s convenient, no one needs to think too much or get off their comfy, well paying kursi - so why bother? Mehnat kaun karega – chal raha hai toh chalne de na… Sure there are people in channels who may want to change things, may want to do more out of the box programming but even they have bosses or shareholders or people who hold the purse strings who care more about bottom lines then breaking new ground. So their adventurous instincts are curtailed even before they can be expressed. Net result – propagation of the status quo.
So then what do we do?
Just give up?
Curse, abuse, bitch on chat sites, social media?
Isn’t that what we’ve already been doing and where’s it got us? Fact is if we want our kind of TV and movies then we can’t be sitting here praying and pleading and begging for someone to give it to us,
We’re going to have to create it ourselves
So what am I suggesting? That we start a channel? And fund the 300 odd crores needed how - by robbing Sharad Pawar/the Nehru family/ Mayawati? Well no matter how tempting and exciting that particular adventure sounds truth is we don’t need that money cause we don’t need a channel.
The solution is to forget the conventional way of watching and making TV shows, in fact even discard the word TV. Cause what we’re talking about is just entertainment – only our kind. Basically stories that we wanna see and hear – visually, aurally maybe even sometimes just read…
Now the distribution systems for it already exist – via the internet.
So my proposition is -
Instead of bitching about what’s not happening on TV, let’s create it and put it on the web for all of us and a zillion equally frustrated others to watch.
In fact Rangmunch can be one such channel for people to create and watch the kind of ENTERTAINMENT they want.
I know you’re reaching for the cellphone to call the guys in the strait jackets to cart me off for spewing utter madness. And you perhaps have a point. After all who the f&^% is going to pay to make these shows?
Answer is Nobody. Not at first. And we don’t need them.
Madness again? Maybe, maybe not…
In the early days let’s not even think of making Game of Thrones or 24 or even a Geet, the way we know it. This is going to have to start small – perhaps to start with there won’t even be videos – just fan fiction – text based entertainment.
YUCK!!! Who wants to read?
Well here’s the choice - read the stories you want, with the characters you want or watch what new tortures psycho hubby has for doormat wife, relish the newest ways of making kheer and keeping hubby, MIL, pet cat happy, see heroes/heroines/villains, die, come back with new face, die again, come back with newer face, die, come back with original face and so on ad infinitum.
Kya karna chahenge aap?
And I’m not saying your entertainment for the next twenty years is just going to be reading and imagining. In the next few months I see us starting with short films, web series – sure they won’t have the production value associated with an Ekta show or Bhansali film but if that’s what you want, it’s already out there. But if you want stories about people like you and me, issues that we can relate to, that touch our hearts then this is where you’re going to find them. And since it’s all about the stories and no stars, no sets, no channel – any of us can make them – it’s just about good tales. So even a basic video camera shoot, cut on a home PC and uploaded can work.
I know it sounds far-fetched, impossible, raving ramblings of a frustrated mind. But this is the future. And I’m going to put my money where my mouth is. Starting next week I’m starting a web series – text first. And before summer is here, I will follow it up with videos – maybe 2-3 mins length but shot, edited stuff with actors in locations that we can swing free of cost.
I understand that not everyone can go out and write or make stuff. Maybe most of us don’t want to. But we do want to watch our kind of stuff. If so and you want this revolution to happen then the onus lies with you.
To break the stranglehold of channels, to get advertising money to start coming to people like you and me to make our kind of entertainment, we need to get numbers – thousands, then lakhs and finally crores of people watching this kind of stuff on the web on places like Rangmunch.
So once this starts, do watch, read, whatever. If you hate it, say so, so we can make it better – unlike channels we will be listening. If you like it then find ten, twenty more people you know who are dying to watch stuff like this and get them to watch. Before you know it this will be a movement, a revolution…
In the words of Howard Beale (Network) – WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!
And my humble addenda – WE’RE GONNA CHANGE IT!!!