Remember those days, when the term “Bold and Beautiful” could only be attributed to the Liril girl, or Jackie Shroff looked decent, or when the new couple in Bollywood was Hair-nil Kapoor and Sridevi and Mogambo was still happy?
Remember then, that there was only one channel on television, and it came on only for a few hours everyday? When bedtime arrived, the channel would not be compelled to keep on airing lurid programmes, interspersed with lurider advertisements. For that matter, it would never be compelled to run the ghastly stuff that they do run today; television was only reserved for the best: best actors, directors, stories, production and the rest.
You got a balanced diet in TV programmes, and the television was not yet called the “idiot box”. There would be something for children in the evening just before they stepped out to play, then something for grandparents when the children went out to play. There was a family soap at dinnertime, followed by the news which would be the time for mothers to send the children to bed, so that after the kids went to sleep, the rest of the family could watch the Hindi movie, that followed the news, in peace.
Speaking of news, it was just one person, speaking out from a few sheets of paper, with the occassional video, of a minister saying something. You didn’t need tickers for stock prices, SMS polls, scrolling advertisements, SMS to loved ones, live weather etc. (Incidentally, you should read this post on SMS polls.)
Whatever you needed to know, was in those sheets of paper, which were read out to you, and you were content with that. If you needed a politician to be exposed, you had newspapers to do the job. If you needed psychedelic advertisements, you had film magazines to do the job. If there was breaking news, I mean real stuff, like when Rajiv Gandhi got assassinated, the headline would be printed above the masthead of the newspaper, and the news programme would still be only half-an-hour. Breaking news was still unknown then.
Best of all, parents were never on tenterhooks when their kids were watching television, nor were the kids tense about getting embarassed 🙂 if a “dirty” scene came up without warning. The worst I remember, was Jaspal Bhatti, entreating the public to use condoms.*
*There was a funny incident regarding this series of advertisements in one of my friends’ homes. The campaign changed sometime from celebrities advising using contraceptives, to common people coming on the screen saying that they have AIDS and they would not have been in this situation, if they had taken the necessary precautions. My friends’ family was watching TV during dinner when this ad suddenly came up during one of the commercial breaks, and there was this doleful chap saying that he was going to die in a few months, when the littlest member of the family turns to his grandma and asks “Toh kya hua, daadi? Condom kha lega, theek ho jayegaa na? (So what, grandma? He will be alright if he eats one condom, no?)”
Needless to say, the children weren’t allowed to see TV from the next day.
I don’t remember much of all this. (In fact, there is a distinct possibility, that this system existed before my time. It was also hazy then; you are not really bothered about television, when you are trying to feel a little less disgusted about the food tube being the same as the crap tube, in your mother’s womb.)
But just imagine, if there was a channel like this. You could recoup your losses with subscription fees, and since you don’t have to keep airing programmes 24 hours a day, you don’t have to operate 2 shifts, which means you have to cover lesser expenses as compared to a regular 24×7 channel. What’s better, there is already a ready-made market for this channel.
What’s best though is that this channel would be the first step to bring back sanity to television.