Whenever you see a queue, join it — maybe there’ll be money at the end of the trail. And then again, there might not be any notes left by the time your turn comes. In which case, turn to the nearest TV news channel reporter — plentiful out there — and describe your ordeal.
TV news across the country has stood vigil outside banks, trying to capture the cashless society we suddenly live in. Besides reflecting the evident pain and distress of countless citizens who had stood and stared, and stood and stared, at the bleak prospect of leaving the bank empty-handed, what has stood out in the coverage over the last week is how orderly the crowds and queues have been, in general. People have been woebegone but no maar-peet so far.
Are Indians more civilised and respectful of the rules and of each other? Despite all the inconvenience and hardships, do they believe demonetisation is a good step? Or is there a silent protest in those serpentine lines we see each day on TV waiting to explode?
The media seems divided in its coverage: Its evening debates have applauded Modi’s money move while its daytime reporting dwells on the queues. We need to be very careful and dig deep to separate fact from fiction and feelings here: The mainstream American media missed the woods for the trees in the US presidential election, allowing its own self-fulfilling prophesies to cloud journalistic judgement. Hope we avoid a similar fate when the spectre of kala dhan faces off against public distress.
Public sentiment has been running high on nationalism and pride in the armed forces after the Pathankot terrorist attack. So how will viewers react to POW Bandhi Yudh Ke (Star Plus)? A new series based on the Israeli show Hatufim which also inspired the hit American series, Homeland, it is directed by Nikkhil Advani (Kal Ho Na Ho, Airlift, etc).
It tells the story of two Indian prisoners of war — Imaan and Sartaj — who return to India after 17 years in Pakistan captivity. Fleeting flashbacks show their torture, fairly typical for a serial of this nature; a subplot has a government agent out to discover if their return is more than a fortuitous escape. Unlike Homeland, the focus thus far is on how the families of the two men react to their return after they have rebuilt their lives, especially their wives Nazneen and Harleen.
Amrita Puri is powerful and sensitive as the wife separated from Sartaj at her wedding but who has never given up hope of his return. Sandhya Mridul is a little more wooden — the tears just don’t weep — as Imaan’s guilt-ridden wife, now in love with Salim but struggling to hold her family together. Satyadeep Mishra and Purab Kohli as the POWs and Manish Chaudhary as Vikram Singh, the government agent, give straightforward performances. The momentum is slow, the suspense still to build up but it looks very promising. Are the patriotic soldiers actually spies? And how will the series depict Pakistanis, if it does? A lot to look forward to — except the timing, 10.30 pm (yawn).
Karan Johar seems in good humour in a new season of Koffee with Karan (Star World) where the jokes are getting more risqué with each episode. Almost every line is a double entendre — balls, crotches, sex, same sex. It’s all out there in the open as Shah Rukh Khan, Alia Bhatt and then Twinkle Khanna are totally uninhibited. Is this how they speak to each other in Bollywood — off camera? If so it suggests that this alt-liberal world of Indian cinema may inhabit a different planet from most of current India.
Lastly, a complaint: It is very sad besides being discriminatory that international soccer events like the English Premier League are available on only Star Sports Select HD 1 and 2 and not Star Sports 1,2, 3, and 4 which will show the Indian Soccer League until the middle of December. Encourage Indian sports by all means but don’t deprive viewers without HD services of their favourite ball game.