Doordharshan under him very boring!

Private channels do much public service
They have citizen journalists, expose corruption, injustices etc
Tehelka is the high-watermark of private service capabilities that serve the larger public interest.

What public service broadcasting DD  does?
DD is supposed to be a public service broadcasting organisation. What public service it renders, now?

Public good and public wellbeing calls for a vision. A well-thought out cultural policy and a strategy, an independent service, very much like the BBC.
Our DD is not at all what it ought to be. The subject is complex and much debated.

The minimum the government can do is to introduce some quality, some independent working norms and let the teams perform with a clear mandate. Make news worth viewing. Make our classical cultures, at least music and dances, broadcast and use the very many established music seasons get an opportunity to reach the people in all geographies.

Priya Ranjan Das Munshi is one of the talented ministers in Delhi, among the crowd of very poor talent in the Cabinet!

But his achievements in the job are not very exciting to write home about.
Why?
See the daily DD is various channels. The national DD channels are the most repulsive, if we can so term it. All programmers are third-rate and when ever we view it we used to wonder: he the the minister would be watching these channels! Such trash is being dished out.

How boring these channels are and yet no one seems to have done anything about it.

In a very simple way, the minister can help to make the DD channels very relevant, very creative and very high culture-oriented. Now it is neither, the DD channels are neither high culture nor low-brow, it is plain third rate and plainly unwatchable!

The other day there was a wonderful many-days film festival in Bangalore, it was almost a mini-international and inter-state film festival. There were film kaers like Adoor Goplakrishnan, Girish Kasaravalli, foreign films and film makers as well, from Italy, in particular.

Adoors spoke about the crass commercial films that could damage so much of the reality and corrupt the many established norms like a legal system. He pointed out how film heroes harangue in the open court while no courts in reality would allow such dialogues!

There were the Kannada film makers, Ramdas Naidu who spoke about the mindless commercialisation and mindless entertainment, verging on sheer vulgarity and the name of popular cinema is equated with these vulgarities. The more successful the films, be it Tamil or Kannad or Hindi, the more likely the films are to be sheer vulgarity!

Ramadas Naidu who directed the critically acclaimed, Moggina Jade, said that it was his fascination for quality cinema and commitment to causes that drew him into making serious films and yet, he lamented that after making three films and losing heavily financially because it is thought for serious film makers to get theatres to screen the films and even the rentals of the theatres are prohibitive.
This particular film, in particular, had the current themes of discomfort with the way our society (read Bangalore society) is undergoing transformation by the corporate culture that is becoming dominant and also upsetting the balance in the living standards to most people.

What more a relevant theme a creative mind can explore?
We think this is just the sort of emerging themes and the emerging hopes and dreams and disappointments and despair that can be an artistic subject for study and create and interpret.

Not just the one film there were several dissenting voices in the film festival discussions about how it is nearly impossible these days to get the serious and even fairly entertaining films getting released in the theatres. Such films are not even releasing in the State, Naidu said.

We thought? What our minister in Delhi is doing?
He should realise that the public confidence in the government is less than what we expect from an open democracy. There are so many distortions in our election to public offices, there is so much blatant corruption and the public would only want more of Thekelka-like exposes in the absence of any other means to improve our democracy, right?

He should have been present on such an important occasion. The minister’s primary job is to encourage such films getting released and give a subsidy to theatres to release such films and also get such films shown on the DD channels? Right? But the minister was nowhere!

Nor the minister seems to have given any thought to the months-long music festivals in Chennai neither for Carnatic music and Bharata Natyam nor to the various such high class classical music festivals all across the country.
When you last heard such music concerts featured on the DD channels?
For what else we run the DD channels?

What use we make of the great artistic and cultural human resources?
Our artistic film makers must be give lots of incentives, they must first be enabled to make film, create more number of mini-Satyajit Rays! Then, enable their films screened in state subsidised theatres. Or, even give grants to construct theatres exclusively for parallel cinemas. As when we built Tagore auditoriums on Tagore’s centenary, let us build some Satyajit Ray theatres for screening artistic and classy films in major cities.

The point is that precious talents, precious musical, film and artistic resources are not being tapped to reach the vast audience that is crying for some quality leisure entertainments.

This the DD can provide usefully and very easily.
Also, there remains much to be done to upgrade the quality of news broadcasting. That is for another day!

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