Do we need to watch surreal shows like 'Big Boss'?
Lenin famously said, “art is not for art’s sake, but for the people.”
Lenin famously said, "art is not for art's sake, but for the people." Arts and literature that are devoid of social reality will retard people's consciousness and keep them in perpetual ignorance. Art that is devoid of social responsibility is no better than black magic.
Any art form should be designed to evoke social consciousness and awareness of the ills being faced by the society. Ignoring this will only serve to perpetuate injustice and apathy towards the suffering masses. Some of the shows on TV such as Big Boss, Adirindi, Jabardast etc., are degrading the consciousness of youth to total apathy and inaction. In the previous generations, art played a key role in enlightening and encouraging youth to come forward to fight for independence, cultural renaissance and modern Telugu movement.
Art organisations such as IPTA (Praja Natya Mandali in Andhra Pradesh) have done yeomen service in educating and arming youth to fight for social and economic justice. Dramas such as 'Maa Bhumi' roused people to fight against the tyranny of the Nizam in the erstwhile Hyderabad State. Films also played a key role in making people grasp social realities and injustice. As a result of these historic efforts, Telugu culture had scaled new heights and acquired a special place in the cultural rainbow of the country.
But it is a tragedy that today, our films, TV shows and other popular media reflect - not people's issues, but crass humour, cultural insensitivity and dangerous apathy to others. And the 'Big Boss' show tops them all! The producers and presenters of such shows should feel a sense of shame for the damage they are inflicting on the minds of our youth.
We are presented a super luxury villa, fit for Indra in his heavenly abode, or one that suits people like Vijay Mallya. And famous film star, Nagarjuna is the compère for the show. One young man enters the scene and Nagarjuna asks him, "What do you desire to do with these stars?", displaying three glamourous actresses (it is not proper to discuss their identities here).
The youth replies that he wants to date one, kiss another and marry the third. And Maa TV has provided the unique opportunity for viewers to be witness to such crass nonsense. Among a number of young participants in the show, for some mysterious reason, a poor old woman was also invited. All of them will be confined to that building or film set for a hundred days. No contact with their families, no mobiles and nothing else to do.
Suddaala Hanumanthu, Gaddar, Vangapandu and now Venkanna in Telangana have played a key role in bringing about revolutionary consciousness among the peasants and rural poor. The crass synthetic art manufactured by capitalist media houses are simply interested in promoting the business interests of the financial sponsors and they pay no heed to social responsibility or cultural values of a nation. And we are sad witness to this cultural bulldozing.
These media moguls are intent up on destroying our great cultural heritage. And in the process, they distort or ignore peoples' art built up with enormous sacrifices by progressive artists and writers. Do any of these synthetic entertainments and false facades reflects the problems and aspirations of the masses? Why don't we realise that people face real problems and art has to provide real solutions. If art serves that useful purpose, there is no need to talk about these surreal synthetic spectacles.
By ignoring our culture, traditions and past, will force us to relive the past. And when we continue to live in the past, our present and future also get distorted. Why do Telugus with such a rich cultural heritage tolerate such crass synthetic cultural façade masquerading as entertainment? Big money changes hands in the process and businesses make indecent wealth.
Why do the parents allow their children to be sacrificed at the altar of capitalist greed? Why so much irresponsibility on the part of the multi-splendoured MAA TV? Are our souls already dead?
(The writer is national secretary, the Communist Party of India. Views expressed are personal)