Recently though, I realised that a news channel has taken that extremely seriously. They seem to be literally running around finding men who can be coaxed to bite dogs just to get some news material. They happened to cover a story about a prostitution racket that was exposed and how a woman who was infected with HIV was given 'justice'. It angered the journalist/moralist/feminist part of me to no end. And this is how it was shown:
News Reader: (In loud, pseudo-Amitabh Bachchan baritone) " this is the story of a poor woman named D. Her dreams and her hopes have been shattered!!!! She is now living the life of misery!!! Only a womaan can understand another womaaan's heart, but in this a womaaan has poisoned a womaan's heart! She has been doomed to a lifelong battle!!!! We bring you exclusive report of......." and so it went.
The baritone was being supplemented by images of an activist aunty openly slapping another woman. Not just slapping, but basically thrashing whichever body part she could find. The camera man was clearly psyched and hence was shaking (of mirth or horror, I cant say) and the images were blurring but even that could not prevent a couple of dragonflies (or rain poochis) to wave at their mums into the camera. The images were played over and over again (and once, even backwards!)
So the story was about a girl who was duped into flesh trade by a landlady of some sort. This girl was rescued by a samaritan, who became samaritin-er by marrying her and 'making her dreams come true'. He was aghast to find out that she had been infected by HIV and regretted (this was on record, by the way) 'Having married her and not taken her for an AIDS test'. He decided the best way to give her justice would be to take a couple of activist aunties and thrash the living daylights out of the landlady, which was caught on camera.
What exactly bugged me in this?
1) The background music. They were alternating the music of Black (when Deaf-Blind-Mute-Rani is at her lowest possible level of melancholy) and the music of some B grade action flick when the ladies were displaying their brawn.
2) A re-enactment of the entire story was a roughly put together collage of movies where horrible, paunchy men have locked up petite damsels and are waving whiskey bottles around like showering holy water. One scene was so obscene, I'm sure it was ripped right off some blue film.
3) The translators who re-told the story in English. While the people in the story spoke kannada, their speeches were being translated with emotional overtones garnished generously with hyperboles.
4) Expressions such as 'D's dreams came true when he married her' 'Her life was given the sparkling new light of love from a husband' 'One woman's love became conditional and made the other woman miserable' 'Life has now become a bleak beacon'...or somewhat similar.
Why do I point this all out? Because at the end of the show, I was laughing so much, I literally fell off the chair. Bad effect, since I should have been symapthizing with the girl and understanding the deeper meaning of problems such as prostitution and AIDS. But it ended up having a completely opposite effect on me. For the first few minutes, I sat mesmerized as every technical/journalistic blunder was commited. After that, this just turned into a farce.
What saddens me now is that many people who have watched this news will only remember it for it's blatant effusion of emotional melodrama and not the hard, harsh facts. The activist aunties will only pride upon the fact that they were shown on TV slapping the villians, but not that they rescued girls from the throes of prostitution. The girl, who will probably be grateful for having been rescued, will continue to make her dreams 'come true' by living with the samaritan. And I really hope the samaritan doesnt drop her like a hot potato once the show is off air. The underlying message of AIDS awareness (which by the way, was the 'theme' of the programme) was lost completely and the cameramen and the crew just blessed the man benevolently for having taken the poor, desolate, HIV woman into his household despite her 'history'.
Man has really bitten the dog and how! News is now meant to Amuse, apparently.