Tuesday, July 12, 2005

TV Therapists?!

Happened to catch an ad for the magazine Kungumam on Sun TV and learned that Devayani, in her Kolangal Abhi persona, is going to answer questions from readers about issues they are facing. And before I could get over the shock of that piece of information, another ad, this time for the respected and venerable Ananda Vikatan, said Selvi Radhika would be answering similar questions from readers of that magazine.

When did TV stars become experienced enough to turn into therapists and psychiatrists? Radhika and Devayani are simply rich actresses who endure, and even then not always very practically, a series of scripted issues for half-hour a day, five days a week. And this qualifies them to advise people who are truly suffering and might require serious help and attention?! This gives the term 'couch potato' a whole new meaning!

I can think of two ways this thing is going to be carried out...

One, the two actresses are infact, really going to suggest solutions to the readers' issues. It would be the height of egotism for these two actresses if they believe that dealing with issues in a serial equips them with whats needed to tackle the problems of real people in the real world. And would reflect real badly on the magazines who are essentially preying on people's obsession with megaserials at the risk of harming them(with bad advice from two ill-equipped actresses) in the race to increase circulation.

Two, the questions are going to be answered by certified psychiatrists and the actresses' faces and TV characters are being used purely for marketing purposes. This is definitely the lesser of the two evils but still raises disturbing questions. Are we so movie- and TV-obsessed that we are now seeking answers to our problems from stars? Have the lines between real life and reel life blurred so much that people actually think the issues these stars go through are real and they are therefore well-equipped to lecture them on similar issues?

While I haven't seen Selvi, I have seen enough episodes of Kolangal to venture a guess on how Kungumam's 'Ask Abhi' column is going to look like...

Reader: Dear Abhi, my mother-in-law is illtreating me. What should I do?
Abhi: Cry

Reader: Dear Abhi, my in-laws are very rude to my parents? What should they do?
Abhi: They should keep going back to your in-laws to be repeatedly insulted. And cry.

Reader: My in-laws are torturing me. What should I do?
Abhi: You could ask your parents to come home regularly so that they can be insulted and take some of the load off you. Never go to the police. And don't forget to cry.

Reader: Dear Abhi, I have discovered that my husband is infact Satan. What should I do?
Abhi: Nothing. Remember "Kanavane Kannkanda Dheivam!". Don't keep complaining or he may divorce you and marry someone else. Just keep crying.

Reader: Dear Abhi, I recently divorced my lowlife husband.
Abhi: Obviously you are a new reader. Otherwise I wouldn've have let you divorce him.
Reader: What do I do now?
Abhi: Find another lowlife who has also divorced his wife. Show off your wealth until he and his family will want you atleast for your money.

Devuda Devuda...


At 1:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BB that was HILARIOUS..made me rofl!!
how about a sequel:
Reader: Dear Selvi,i am an innocent divorcee who got married again recently and find that i cannot stay faithful to him ...
Selvi:If robert bruce learnt his lesson looking at a spider how abt taking a page fm my book?:)
what says u BB?:))))))))))))

At 1:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good one!
But i guess you reversed. Selvi in kungumam and abhi in anandha vikatan

Kashtam da saami. Tamilians maanam kappa yeri poyaachu. First khushboo kku kovil. Ippo indha maadhiri velainga ellam. Cha!!

Tamizhan endru sollada thalai nimirndhu nillada becomes

Tamizhan endru sollada mega serial paathu azhudaa X(

At 1:30 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hey I wanted to blog this too...but u beat me to it!! :)

Naan konja naal kazhichu pannaraen idha :)

At 1:49 AM, Blogger NS said...

This was a shocker for me in this week's Ananda Vikatan! ROTFL @ ur Q&A!

I never expected such stuff from Anandha Vikatan! While Kunguman is a Ko.Pa.Se to Sun TV, I expected AV to have a little more dignity.. ellam neram! Thalai ezhuthu!

At 1:55 AM, Blogger Prabha said...

:))ha ha!nicely written..
we shudve a censor board for these things and ban crying scenes from serials

At 2:18 AM, Blogger Kaps said...

I think we are giving too much importance to these mega serials. One more inference could be that the target audience for the mega serials (middle aged women?) and the target audience for these weekly magazines could be overlapping.

At 4:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Mom and I were discussing these SunTV ads Sunday evening. Both of them have a lot of experience with a film career: managing their finances, dealing with egos and stuff. So at the professional level, there is a chance that both of them can provide some good advice for aspiring career women (and men?). At the social level, Radhika might just be better at giving the "what not to do" advice rather than the "what to do" advice. I am not sure about Devayani though. Well, we will find out.

At 7:16 AM, Blogger Ganesh said...

Hilarious, its also sad how our soceity is in awe of this pathetic serials
None of these show women in a strong charachter who can face life as it is, standing up on her own, jeez
I dont watch any of these serials and I dont want to. Only decent one I have watched ever is SUhasinis Penn

At 7:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji, I dont know whether to laugh or cry.. but ur 'model' Q&A made me laugh for sure..

Well.. in Indian TV, this is not the first time.. Cyrus Broacha and Mallika Arora-Khan, in MTV, used to have such psychotherapy programs.. how exp. are they? But, of course their target audience were youngsters..

All these are crap.. Makes me rethink about reconsidering my decision to return to India soon..

At 8:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji, just like everybody else, I found the Q&A hilarious.

I think this is a stupid idea, but it doesn't bother me too much. Some marketing whiz thought this was a great idea. I'd be really appalled and shocked if this actually became popular, or lasted more than a few weeks.

But then again, I thought the cry-a-thon craze would wane. So what do I know?!

At 9:08 AM, Blogger pk said...

Q&A was totally hilarious. ROTFL. Am sure they will have assitance who will actually be answer the Qs, mmmm that will be even worst unless they hire qualitfied people.

At 9:55 AM, Blogger Vee Cee said...

Dear Abby in the U.S.
Dear Abhi in T.N.....to cater to the current crop of maamis who visit the U.S. off and on :)

At 10:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

en pondaati un serial paathu paathu unna madhiri azhara, elaathukkum...enna seyya?
"Eee Oattra" Rajkumar from Meikaarampattee

Response (in Dhevyani Tamizh):
Aiyyo Rajaa, younga Producer kitte solidaathaynge...glycerine saluvu mitcham-nu ena thookiduvaaru...yenku unga yallaar saportum mookyam...azha sollathaynga...Avange Paer Poattu Karcheef Vaangi kudunge...problem solved.

At 1:35 PM, Blogger Chitra said...

ROTFL @ your Q&A!!!

At 3:17 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

rekhs, thanx!

ferrari, saw both ads one after the other. so quite possible i mixed them up!

praveen, appo will wait for your funny take on this :)

nithya, my sentiments exactly. wouldn't have been surprised if kungumam or even kumudham did it. but AV... how the mighty have fallen!

prabha, thanx for dropping by. but crying scenes ban pannitta each episode will last only 1 minute! hey thats probably for the best!!

At 6:26 PM, Blogger Orange Fronkey said...

Selvi would have told everyone to "be patient, keep quiet and bare it all"


I'm peeved! here I am tryna get an year work experience just so that I could get accepted to masters of socialwork/counseling and these visars think they can advice ppl... UGHHHHHH

Grrrrrrrrr!!! Grrrrrrrrrrr!!!

Nalla colorful words words-a varuthu

At 6:27 PM, Blogger Orange Fronkey said...

Oh by the way... Devayani aint a tamil native. how's she gonna understand what the ppl write? oh never mind... there are translaters i know...

you cant see it right now, but i got steam coming out of my ears... grrrrr

At 10:25 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

my 80 year old grandpa and 76 year old grandma shush me when i go spend time with them because i am interfering with their mega serial watching. i am their chella peran and i go once in two years. i cant even talk to them when their serials are on. US'la kozhandhai kitta poi "onakku therinja serial edhanum sollu ?"nnu sonna cheerios, corn flakes, captain crunchnnu sollum. india poi ketta "kolangal", "selvi"nnu dhane sollum. think of this as tom curise giving psych advice on oprah.

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Potpourri said...

:) the Q & A is hilarious..

At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just got back from having dinner at my parents' house...While there, I wanted to watch the O'Reilly Factor but my Mom insisted on Kolangal. Since she does not have any outlet here in (for her, lonely) Boston, I obliged (as I always do when it comes to TV watching at my folks'). Anyway, as usual, a crying scene outside a court by Devayani that made me realize that the basic problem with these serials is that their characters have difficulty letting go (of whatever). So I remarked to my Mom, "I really admired Suhasini's character in Sindhu Bhairavi. She knew the immediate resolution to taking control of her life is by letting go and moving on." My Mother was like, "Oh that was such an immoral character she played. That Balachander guy always makes movies like that!". Ok. I would have asked her why there would be so much distress in these serials if its characters were behaving perfectly. But I decided it wasn't worth it...lest our house turned into a serial :( Suhasini's character's affair with Sivakumar's character is deemed immoral in most societies but that was not what I had in mind when I made my comment. It is normal to give in to temptation and make "mistakes". But it takes discipline to stop doing those mistakes...which was well portrayed in KB's gem of a movie.

At 6:54 PM, Blogger Ram C said...

hi BB, this is in response to your devayani post... I read the recent AV. The presentation seemed to be like from a professional councellor. I doubt, whether she is behind the answers completely. Definitely, some body else would have given professioanl replies which is being endorsed by Devayani. That's what I think...

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Me too said...

That's really sad that Anandha vikatan has had to resort to such gimmicks. Hope Ram C. is correct! The other thing is 'seeking professional advice' is not common in our country. A few years back, one of my friend took psychiatric treatment but in secret for the fear that people would comment! Not that I welcome this. Afterall, Stars and Superstars try to guide our cinema crazy nation on whom to vote!

At 12:00 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

merino, thatll probably be the advice of all megaserial heroines!

potpourri, thanx for dropping by...

gopi, well said... supports my stand on SB in the argument with rekhs in the Happy bday KB post :)

ramc, thanx for the update. i definitely hope so. as i said, thats probably the lesser of the two evils!

me too, yeah thats true. quite a stigma associated with it i assume. so the anonymity associated with a magazine column might help.


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