Why our music channels need to die
Omar Bilal Akhtar
Watching our local music channels on TV makes me want to find a blunt object and pay someone to slowly beat me to death with it. First of all, you can’t call them music channels at all — at best their shows can be described as ‘time spent between advertisements’. Now, for everyone whoÂ’s going to parrot back at me and say “they have to make money somehow yaar”, that is no excuse for the mind numbingly stupid programming they have. Just because advertisements are a revenue stream, it doesnÂ’t mean you can’t manage them within quality content.
Nobody else in the world is sticking with the VJ format. It’s a stale and uninspired format of the past. The typical formula here seems to be to pair a pretty, 20-something girl with some obnoxious guy who is supposed to be streetwise and uses the word “tight” to describe something he finds appealing. I really feel for these kids. Most of them are nice people, smart and intelligent and they have a lot to offer. But they usually find directors barking orders at them telling them how to act so that the ‘masses’ will appreciate them. Consequently the girls become stupider and the guys become more obnoxious. There is a strong sense of resentment against anything considered Â“western”, intellectual or foreign, mostly because of the complexes of the directors working there. Eventually any sort of creativity or individuality that these kids would bring to a TV show is wiped clean and what we have is a parade of zombies who desperately pinball between different TV channels in the hopes that things will be different, but they never are.
A lot of apologists are going to come back at me saying music channels don’t have budgets. If you don’t have a budget, then please leave the market. Please close up shop. But the black cynicism prevailing through every single one of these channels is, ‘we’ll just put Bollywood songs on television. The ‘masses’ love the jhankaar beats! Oh and we get to show Indian actresses half-naked and defying gravity. They’ll love it.’ What you’re seeing is an insult to your intelligence. What music channel producers are saying is that you are too stupid and too horny to deserve any better.
Our ‘masses’ deserve better. They deserve intelligent, smart programming. They deserve to know about upcoming bands. They deserve to see live concerts with great sound recording, shot by professional directors rather than three dudes with cameras. They deserve to see profiles, reports and news about our mainstream artists. They deserve to see hot girls doing something more than taking calls from semi-retarded people and simply telling you when they’re going to break for ads. They deserve to see something special on Eid rather the hellish “Eid Lounges” year after year. More than anything our public deserves to watch and listen to Pakistani music videos and judge for themselves, develop their own taste and have a clue about the music scene today. Don’t for one bit buy the myth that TV channels are simply giving people what they want. People want to hear music, and they want to hear good Pakistani music, so blaming Bollywood for being so darn sexy that you can’t play anything else is insulting to everyone involved.
Source: The Express Tribune