The other day, Samadooram, a talk show on Mazhavil Manorama featured Revathy, in the context of Revathy’s own show Kanamarayathu on the same channel, that deals with children who have run away from home. I’m not a viewer of that show, and cannot really comment on the content, but… (Opinion - on related things – follows. )
One of the things that piqued my interest was something that Revathy said during the show – that she was disappointed by the attitude of a well educated person who asked her whether they created so much melodrama on the show to attract more viewers. (that the Malayali audience is addicted to glycerin is well established by the success of the daily soaps on various channels) That reminded me of the twitter reaction to Day 1 of Satyamev Jayate and the posts that followed in the next few days – swinging from abject cynicism to equating it to the second coming.
(Generalising) In India, there is obviously a huge difference between the perspectives of the low single digit percentage of people on twitter who are rarely directly affected by issues (barring #firstworldproblems) and the billions who are not on twitter but who are directly affected. However, the polarising of opinions is something I’ve seen outside of twitter too, increasingly these days. In that sense, twitter does act as a microcosm of the world outside. Which brings me to the other related point that Revathy made – sensitising people to the things that happen around them, not directly affecting them, but could later, or which they could influence in a positive way if they acted on it. Not to blame anyone, but I am aware that today’s society is becoming increasingly selfish and living in self made bubbles. Existential pragmatism perhaps.
But what I’d like to think about here is media’s role – the question that was asked to Revathy. Media, and I’m talking of the institution here and not any one specific, could play a great role in sensitising, mostly thanks to its reach and the varied perspectives it can capture. However, such is the competition for eyeballs and money, that ‘any means necessary’ is the accepted credo. Such is the onslaught on the remaining senses that I wonder if collectively, media has forced its audience to move directly to a desensitised state without pausing at ‘sensitise’. Whose responsibility is it finally to filter – the sender (media) or the receiver? (audience) I am really not sure. On my part, I don’t watch news channels, and I can’t say it has damaged me permanently. What do you think? (No, not about the damage it has/not caused me, but the roles)
until next time, know your role
Postscript: While on the subject, a small bit on celebrity anchors. They have enormous personal clout, and (this is an example) this can do + and – for their shows – bring and take away focus. I don’t grudge Aamir making 3 crores out of a Satyamev Jayate episode. He is a professional actor and it so happens that this is a project that (seems as per propaganda) is close to his heart. He does not need to part with his remuneration to show his commitment to the cause. That’s like forcing an employee to spend x% of his salary to buy his company’s product/service every month on salary day, since he’s supposedly – in pop lingo – ‘passionate’ about his job. On the flip side, Aamir is not doing the world a favour by being the face of the show either. What he could do to help though, is to write a small note that clarifies his role for the audience. It’s not an obligation, but whether it’s a job as a professional or his own personal affection for a show – if he were true to it – he would want the conversation around the topic of the show – the issue at hand.