This morning, you may have woken up to watch television, as early as 6 am, for the results of the assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana.
However, since Monday’s exit polls confirmed a BJP victory (only India Today and Aaj Tak predicted a tight race in Haryana), you’re in for a boring breakfast: whatever little suspense exists will be on the margins of defeat for the opposition.
So, unless the latter has a secret genie in the ballots, news anchors will hail a “historic” BJP victory in red banner headlines, and condemn the Congress to the graveyard of history accompanied by the choicest adjectives, well before noon.
However, many of you will continue to watch ‘#24October with Arnab’ or ‘#Oct24WithTimes Now’ long after the results have been declared.
And this, for three good reasons: (a) you agree wholeheartedly with their views, (b) you disagree with them violently, or (c) you find them a whole lot more entertaining than Bigg Boss where the most pressing concern is whether or not actor Sidharth Shukla washed his own plate.
BJP always right, Congress always wrong
Arnab Goswami, Rahul Shivshankar, Navika Kumar, Sudhir Chaudhary, Anjana Om Kashyap, and Bhupendra Chaubey are the leading prime-time editors who support the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and oppose the Congress everywhere.
In their worldview, whatever Modi – and the BJP – say and do is right, and whatever Congress leader Rahul Gandhi says is wrong.
If Defence Minister Rajnath Singh performs shastra puja on the newly minted Rafale jet, then it is part of our sanskar, but if Rahul Gandhi visits a temple, then it is a political ploy.
Arnab & Co. also detest the ‘sickular’, the Leftists, the liberals – those dreaded and dreadful Khan Market species – and frequently eat them for dinner.
Viewers who believe these types represent the worst of entitled, privileged and elitist India, love to tune into shows like ‘Abhijit Banerjee EXPOSES Pseudos’ (Republic TV), or ‘Modi meets Abhijit Banerjee: ‘Did Lutyens lobby jump the gun?’ (Times Now) where, in Arnab’s words, the ‘dangerous Lutyens game’ to appropriate the Nobel Prize winner and pit him against the PM came to an end after Banerjee told “the pseudos to shut up”.
You watch such shows and feel vindicated by the anchor’s views — who among us doesn’t like to hear our opinion reinforced, reiterated, justified and amplified?
Better entertainers than Bigg Boss
Alternately, you watch these anchors in fascinated horror, appalled by what they say, wondering what they will say next, and just how far they will go. Sudhir Chaudhary and his Zee News will go far: if they had their way, the Indian flag would be already flying in Lahore. Such is the channel’s rabble rousing against Pakistan.
They rant, they rave, they snarl, they sneer, they deride and divide. They flair their nostrils, fling out their arms, and get all petulant with their guests: “You ask me to be composed?’’ yelled CNN News18’s Anand Narasimhan Tuesday. “You want me to be composed… (when) you want to be offensive… What are you talking about?”
This is entertainment, brought to you by the best sit-down comic acts in town.
Which is why you would much rather watch these anchors than Bigg Boss (Colors), where the contestants lie in bed, together, and whisper cruel nothings about other participants.
This offended at least one MLA, BJP’s Nandkishore Gurjar, from Loni in Ghaziabad, who said that the show should be taken off air because individuals from different communities are “bed partners”. This begs the question: would it be all right if they were from the same community?
Inside the BB House
Season 13 of the reality show sees a slimmer Salman Khan hosting a far sillier show. Nothing could be more absurd and objectionable than the Salman and Shehnaaz show: every weekend, Salman singles her out in the BB house. He makes a statement, asks Shehnaaz to “repeat after me”, she gets all confused and behaves like a dumb blond, the others laugh at her and she turns pink with pleasure.
Nothing could be more puerile than a ‘saand’ appearing on the show when actors Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar come to promote their latest film, Saand Ki Aankh. For their “sins”, Sidharth Shukla and Paras Chhabra are made to climb onto the rocking bull – and not fall off. Really?
What could be more childish and misogynistic than these grown-up men made to choose between dolls in a cupboard that represent the women in the house, and drown the ones they don’t particularly like?
Or spraying white foam on those they think have made ugly statements about them?
As for the conversation, well Sidharth Shukla, the villain of the Bigg Boss household – he was in rehab, on steroids and pata nahin whatnot more, says Paras who supposedly hates him – told Mahira that her shoes look better than her face.
Paras says Sidharth isn’t ready to make ‘adjustment’. Why? Because he won’t wash his dinner plate. “I have washed my plate,” claims Sidharth, looking hurt, but it isn’t his task so why should he?
Come back, Sudhir
Siddhartha Dey makes a tastelessly sexual remark – “gutter” talk, according to Shukla – that gets all the women riled. But he dances well – and how – so he will not quit the house for the time being.
Devoleena declares that the boys don’t know how to behave with the girls, Rashami Desai says that Siddhartha doesn’t know how to behave, full stop.
Meanwhile, Salman Khan notices that Asim Riaz has curled his hair, “Lhasa Apso?” he comments – careful, Salman, PETA will get after you.
As for the most awkward sight of all, actors Rajkummar Rao and Mouni Roy dance on the item number ‘Odhani’ to promote their film Made in China. Honestly, you don’t want to watch it.
At the end of Monday, Abu Malik, who behaves like a half normal human being, was evicted from the house because most of the women participants couldn’t imagine spending more than another month with him there.
Come back, Sudhir, all is (almost) forgiven…