Saturday, October 14, 2006

Punjabi antenna

Hype and hyperbole
Randeep Wadehra

The promotion of Mannat was on predictable lines
The promotion of Mannat was on predictable lines

Participants hold centrestage in televised competitions. Anchors make their presence felt either by making an utter nuisance of themselves or through sensible hosting. However, it is the judges who make a tangible qualitative difference to a show. They can turn it into a tepid affair by restricting themselves to asking perfunctory questions and mouthing an occasional shabash as they did on Miss Zee Punjabi 2006. Listless performances and enigmatic judgments hardly add to the value of proceedings. In contrast, if they give sound and learned reasons for arriving at their verdicts in clear-cut terms they can pep up the participants as depicted on Aawaz Punjab Dee-2 (MH1). Viewers benefit too as they get entertainment as well as knowledge of the finer points of music.

Promoting movies on television is in vogue. Along with short promo clips, full- fledged shows have become the norm but styles vary. Ik Tara Bole on MH1 serialised the promotion of Waris Shah, a movie that has Pakistani participation too. Instead of the song and dance routine, informal chats among unit members were preferred. These enmeshed interesting anecdotes with the flick’s salient points. The banter was enjoyable even as one learnt that its sets are more lavish than those of Bhansali’s Devdas. In comparison, the promotion of Mannat on the twin ETC-Zee Punjabi channels was on predictable lines. It offered live telecast of song and dance numbers interspersed with eulogies showered on producers, directors, actors and other assorted persons.

Nonetheless one wonders when would the Punjabi television, nay the entertainment industry, come of age. Hype and hyperbole is common. The makers of Warish Shah, not content with claiming to meet the Bollywood production standards, went on to say that the movie could match the best that Hollywood had to offer. The producer bragged that he had invested his all in the movie, "Ghar phook tamasha dekhda haan".

Another factor that jars is juvenile jingoism. In Aawaz Punjab Dee there was repeated reference to the oorja in the land’s water and soil. Moreover in the two movie promoting shows there was repeated exhortation to promote ma boli. While listening to these culture advertisers one felt that lungpower was not really required. A quiet dignified and determined effort to usher in renaissance in Punjabi arts would be far more effective. What sez you – balle balle or hai o’ rabba?