Every time I watch television today, it is with some regret that I eventually put off the TV. That is regret about having stuffed myself with bull-shit. In fact, sometimes this regret is caused simply by hearing, from another room, the programme somebody has put on. Often, I have tinkered with the idea of completely breaking all my contacts with this idiot box, but it is too difficult to achieve this end. It can be said that not everything that one sees on TV is bull-shit; that is true, but is far too simple to be of any meaning. For it would be simple, then, to just filter out the sensible from the senseless, and watch the latter, wouldn't it? But no. The TV, if it has to run today, must embed the sensible into a lot of bull-shit, so that looking for sense becomes a matter of odds like a lunar pilgrimage on a cloudy night.
I had the sad privilege today of watching the trailer of a new movie: F.A.L.T.U. This movie, in a sense, epitomizes in one package the preoccupations of most of entertainment industry; one would find its features in television soaps, 'reality' shows, movies, discotheques, and certainly other media too. If one were to watch TV for about an hour or even a half, one would recognize this strain of entertainment quite easily: it involves loud music, unnecessary songs (the lyrics of which can be reduced, invariably, to the simple assertion "we are different, we want to/are having fun"), lot of skin-showing, consumerism, flashy technology and a surprising uniformity in appearance and physiques (at any rate to those not accustomed to imagining real life as a dance routine). Thus, restaurants, pubs, recreation centres, other media, all become, in some way or another, imitations, housed with imitators of a very small clique of professionals who keep selling a very limited dreams till they can be sold, managing to fool people into believing in its wholesomeness.
In this backdrop, I remembered Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro. It doesn't take a lot to come to the conclusion that there is nothing in the taste-buds of most consumers today (audience no longer seems like an apt term) that would entice producers to finance such a movie. The themes in this movie would now sound archaic: working class life, closure of mills, riots, social realism. Today, this is obviously not what consumers want today. They'd rather know about 'fun' and 'life' and other such catch-phrases.
Still, pessimism should not be allowed scope here. I think it is only by giving in to such fears that we shall perpetuate this trend. Probably all change comes starts that are very shaky and that even fail. But slowly, those failures come to be accepted, seep in after just being there for some time. All reasons of finance apart, it is of necessity that movies like Salim Langde.... be made again and again.