Jan 312006

Roxy #lO# Norma Shearer
Brodway #lO kaancana maala#

Let me assure you those were good choices. If I switch on my TV, I am not as lucky. I get to choose between horror and horreur!

Ok, I am in Banagalore now. I come back to guest house at odd hours and catch some TV before going to bed. The trouble is that I have not yet figured out how to know what channels we get. Looks like there is no preview channel.

Anyway, I quickly settle on the channels I am interested. All Telugu ones — ETV, Teja, MAA TV, and Gemini, and handful of English ones — HBO, Star movies, Star something. Hindi is not for me — if I feel nostalgic, I turn to Telugu and if I miss home, I turn to English! Ah, blasphemy! Ahh, the life of an expat! Hate mails welcome.

I flip through all channels looking for something worth watching. There seem to be a mega function for mega star Chiranjeevi. I remember him being youthful. Now, off screen, he looks bloated and unattractive. (I am not saying that he looks different onscreen. I have not seen him onscreen for a long time — so I cannot say how he looks there. He did good at one point. How people change!) Movie people, one after another, come and sing praises of him. It appears he won Padma Bhushan award this year. People speculate why he won openly on the TV. Nothing snarky, let me assure you. It is all perfectly adulatory. Chiru naturally dedicates his award to his fans.

On another channel, there is an oscar-wanna-be function. Several old time heroines come and hand over awards. I saw people I did not even think for so many years — Kanchana, Latha, and a few others. There were several inside jokes, and paying "we-are-not-worthy" at each others’ lotus feet.

On English channels the preoccupation is with Martial art movies. At any given time, there seem to be one playing. The other channel plays the horror kind: Bride of chucky and the like. There are occasional gems (I did not expect to find "The good girl" on TV here), but perhaps I keep missing them.

When I drive, I listen to some radio station. Cute. Imagine a typical US station. Make the voices more Indian. Increase the RPM by a factor of 1.417. Throw in a sprinkle of Hindi words through out — do not even put the "’s around them. Let them flow as naturally as Anglo-Saxon words. You get the idea.

I have seen the multilingual (or is it monolingual) city and Bangalore is it. It is profitable to have a single language for commerce. The TV is working to that reality. We see these faces with no hint of their nationality. They seem to come in every ad. They all speak Hinglish, a variant that seems to be popular these days.

My NRI status naturally excuses me from knowing Hindi. Otherwise, things Indian are discussed in words Hindi. In all educated circles in Bangalore, even if people speak in English, they use Hindi culture (concepts, writers, Indian expressions, movies and the like) in their conversations.

If TV shows the way, in a few years, India will speaking Hinglish (at least the educated classes).

Ramarao Kanneganti
Jan 31, 2006

 Posted by at 12:05 pm

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