Wednesday, 27 January 2010

TV India style

The couple of times I’ve had TV in my room I’ve had a good look and I’ve decided that Indian TV is truly fascinating. Bar the news channels and the Discovery channel (which became my TV saviour), the majority of Indian TV takes the form of loud musical romance films with flamboyant, overweight, mustachioed male leads who sporadically burst into song and dance routines mid-conversation surrounded by beautiful women in glitzy saris. There is usually a couple of arguments to be had, some making up to do and then, inevitably, part way through the film, someone dies, resulting in copious melodramatic crying and wailing before balance is restored and everyone sings and dances once more.

The advertising – something I check out wherever I go – is also interesting. In the UK the likes of Dove and Garnier sell fake tan; in India, they sell skin lightening products. Every other ad on TV is focused on skin lightening – pale skin being a status symbol over here. The premise is that the lighter your skin, the less likely it is that you work out in the fields in the blazing sun thus you must be relatively wealthy either not needing to work at all or working in a higher-paid office environment.

Private medical insurance also makes up a large proportion of ads. Either there is no public health system or the ads reflect the inadequacies in such a system. Those who can afford it obviously opt to go private, thus private medical insurance becomes a heavily marketed product with companies competing hard for business. On a single channel (Discovery Channel!), I must have seen at least 10 different companies touting their medical insurance policies.

Other than that, it’s hair oil or shampoo containing hair oil and paint containing Teflon. :).

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