Since 1991, India has grown by leaps and bounds when it comes to technology. From a time when two or three channels dominated television, we now have hundreds all over. We also have cable. There is satellite. And who can forget the Internet that can now be accessed at your fingertips? But while all these developments have dramatically increased reach, there is one inescapable truth. And that is that content is still king. Whether it is the silver screen or television or the Internet, people only flock over to that which can hold their interest. In fact, paucity of great content is something that has been plaguing the Indian entertainment landscape for years now. To set up a channel in today’s times, while still expensive, is relatively much easier than from the pre-liberalization days. But as has been seen, there are so many channels, but not many air great content. Bollywood is another example where the definition of originality is being able to copy without getting caught. In fact, the trend now is to make remakes of hits or even go in for foreign imports and then dub. And when anyone claims to have created something different, most often it is simply a rehash of old concepts with fresh faces and different dialogues. The concept of soap operas came from the West, but it is being beaten to death in India. While there is some great content that is also being created here, the output that comes from the West is undoubtedly superior, not only in terms of originality but also in terms of execution. That is not to say that the West is not guilty of copying. But I feel that it is imperative that we don’t adopt a myopic approach and rely on outside concepts when we have so much home grown talent and a rich legacy to fall back upon. But that is only half the story. The other half is in ensuring that this talent gets the right avenues to showcase their creativity in an industry which is otherwise plagued by mediocrity and favouritism.
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