Saturday, April 21, 2007

Punjabi Antenna

No freshness in soaps
Randeep Wadehra

ON HIGH NOTE: Sagarika Runjhun was adjudged the best debut vocalist at the recent etc Music Awards function in Jalandhar
ON HIGH NOTE: Sagarika Runjhun was adjudged the best debut vocalist at the recent etc Music Awards function in Jalandhar

Sagarika Runjhun is the latest vocalist to twinkle on the horizon of Punjabi music world. In the recent ETC Music Awards functionó- fourth so faró-held in Jalandhar she was noticed shaking her leg with aplomb to the Punjabi number mainu toon disda, which was also sung by her. In the same function she was adjudged as the best debut vocalist and sensational pop singer. This PU graduate (with honours in music) as well as a trained classical singer and instrumentalist has already got an album Nigght Birds to her credit, apart from singing remix numbers for the albums of the likes of Rakhi Sawant. She has also featured in various radio shows. Next stop: Bollywood, as playback singer.

If one takes even a cursory look at show-biz success stories one learns that fresh idea-driven productions have a greater chance to succeed than the clich`E9d ones. This holds true even in the world of Punjabi cinema and television. Ideas count in showbiz as much as they do in any other form of human endeavour. Either the storyline should be new or an old subject may be given a fresh, original and interesting treatment. But path-breaking creativity demands a lot of honest effort. And if imitations fail to stir up the TRPs our channels prefer to shun that genre altogether. This is precisely what has happened to sitcoms, soaps and teleflms. Talk shows, however, have managed to survive so far. Whenever quizzed about the absence of serials and sitcoms, Punjabi channel honchos claim that audiences no longer want these. True, viewers had got tired of unimaginatively contrived productions or poor copies of Hindi originals. The powers that be ignored the simple fact that original ideas do attract popular as well as critical acclaim even as the hackneyed ones fall by the wayside. Although Zee Punjabi and ETC Punjabi do have a sprinkling of interesting shows, vanity music products predominate. However, the fare offered by the Mohali headquartered Channel Punjab has more variety and substance. For example Tadkey, Tadkey features interviews with film and TV personalities while Punjabi Talkies features the regionís achievers from different walks of life. Then there are cultural shows like Waris Punjab De, Dhad Sarangi, Channan Munare as well as Surjit Pattarís Adabi Darwaza. And the channelís serials and sitcoms, too, have become popular, viz., Mahendro Mohalla Aalna, Nun Nahin Hundi Mandi, Swad Aa Gaya, Kada Peeta Barbaad Keeta, Saude Dilaan De etc. While all these are immensely popular among Punjabis abroad, even in such remote countries as Norway,unfortunately, the regionís audience is being deprived of such rich entertainment, thanks to the governmentís telecast related policies.