In addition to the round-the-clock news coverage, they also offer a quasi-Entertainment Tonight show six days a week, every Sunday morning Barkha Dutt takes on some current topic of controversy and referees a panel and audience discussion of the same, on Friday morning Anupama Chopra’s Picture This gives reviews of the day’s releases, followed by segments on films of particular subject and actors interviews, and then there’s Srinivasan Jain’s Bombay Talkies, and Shekhar Gupta’s Walk the Talk. So much to love, na?
But an additional sweet element in the mix was the TV ads from India: the stewardess schools, the stirring Amitabh Bachchan UP ad, Kajol flogging mobile phones, Irrfan doing likewise, the AMEX ad with AB 2.0 calling Bachchan pÃ¨re about being mistaken in a restaurant somewhere in East Asia as “The Big B”, and on and on and on. It was a fascinating not-so-little pop culture window into contemporary Indian consumer society, and what people were buying and selling.
And then something happened.
First, I started to notice the same old ads for NDTV’s own shows running more frequently, soon, so frequently that I could recite the snippets of them in my sleep: Saif saying “It doesn’t really matter to me if people think I’m cool”, Vasu saying “This is the true story of a fake encounter”, Vikram Seth: “If I’m gay, or at least partly gay, then it would be very cowardly of me…”, Sanya Mirza: “The dresses I wear are not exactly right”…
And then it hit me: Where were the goofy Javed Jaffrey ads for Maggi sauces? The Om Puri voiceovers for that paint company? SRK’s Compaq spots? Saif and Rani racing their cars? Saif selling Taj teas? The housewife beaming because her hubby and kids were loving that Maggi soup she had made?
They were all gone.
It’s definitely affected my viewing. Before, if I were home on the weekend having a coffee and reading the paper, or tidying up around the house, I’d have the channel on, and if something caught my attention, I’d stop to watch. Now, I Tivo the shows I like and I fastforward through the ads.
Like everything else, I’m sure there’s money behind this. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they’re on in Europe now too.
Whatever the reason, if you get NDTV 24/7 overseas and you miss the ads too, you can write to complain at firstname.lastname@example.org