In Front Of The Truth

36 Comments

You cannot handle the truth.

–A Few Good Men

Yes we cannot. I agree with the honorable MPs from Samajwadi Party and the BJP and the MLAs from Madhya Pradesh that “truth” is against Indian culture.

Indeed the very concept should be banned.

And so should “Sach Ka Samna” since it claims to be based on the truth.

This is why I so much love our politicians.  At a time when the nation is under attack from multiple agents ranging from Pakistan to Rakhi Sawant, they still remember to use their time in Parliament to do things that truly matter, insulating us  from influences that seek to corrupt and defile us.

Because “Sach Ka Samna” is an abomination. Khulbushan Kharbanda’s character in Gupt said “Kuch baatein gupt raheni chahiye”.  Some things are best kept secret. For instance, I think the nation needed to be protected from recurring mental images of Vinod Kambli running naked for 100 metres  on a dare from Sachin,  of Urvashi Dholakia, famous for her role in the “sleeper” (literally) international hit , the innovately titled “Chumban the Kiss”  doing soo-soo in swimming pool and of a desperately old cad confessing to stealing bedsheets from a hotel.

Another thing that I personally need to be protected from is the realization that we as a nation are as bad as the worst of them when it comes to totally debasing ourselves for a few seconds in the limelight. In 1999, when I came to the US one of the things I truly enjoyed, before going for my 9:30 morning class on Formal Languages and Automata Theory was to watch “Jerry Springer” over a bowl of Raisin Bran. For those of you who have not yet had the delight of experiencing “Jerry Springer” it is a “reality talk” show where guests come on and reveal their most intimate secrets to their loved ones. Secrets like a woman confessing to her husband of five years that she really is a man (don’t ask) or a man telling his wife on the show that he has been sleeping not only with the wife’s sister but with also her brother. The audience of course was most sympathetic, usually goading the participants to throw chairs at each other or shouting in unison “take it off” if any of the woman guests caught their fancy (there were even two stripper poles kept next to the stage just in case). And yes the guests usually obliged the audience chants.

“Jerry Springer” was a guilty pleasure. For one, it was good to know that there existed a group of people whose life was even more screwed up than mine was. Second it gave me a fuzzy “feel-good”  that publicity-seeking mad-men who would bring out their worst secrets on national TV for the 15 seconds of fame it afforded them could only be found in the  “West” and that in India no one would be as crazy as to voluntarily come on TV to discover things like who his real father on live TV or who actually impregnated his wife or to find out his grandpa’s darkest secret (namely that he does midget adult movies)

Well not any more.

Now thanks to reality TV like “Sach Ka Samna” we are forced to accept as fact what we have slowly come to suspect over the past few years— that average Indian is as much taken with the idea of infamy as their brethren across the ocean, as willing to besmirch their names in front of the world as anyone else (Remember that “truth” is often not owned by just the person revealing it—there may be other people associated with the shocking truth whose reputations are also being ripped on TV without them having any say in the matter)

This is why, in order to keep up appearances of decency and to suppress the truth about ourselves, that I demand (like our most wise politicians) that  “Sach Ka Samna”  be banned.

Till that happens though, I will keep tuning in. Cause it’s jolly good fun.

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36 thoughts on “In Front Of The Truth

  1. These Star Plus guys have copied the whole “Moment of Truth” crap …even the set,music,lighting….

    But tell me GB…do you really think that for 15 seconds of fame,the contestants rip apart their family lives?

    Why I ask is that, in one episode of “Moment of Truth”, an alcoholic father, who won nothing, did say that he felt that one question that he had answered truthfully had bettered his relationship with his son….

    I havent yet seen a complete episode of “Sach Ka Saamna” but the reason I would watch it is that a lot of Hypocrisy about our culture really valuing love and not the corporeal attributes would be out in the open…

    Do give your thoghts on the matter….

  2. “Now thanks to reality TV like “Sach Ka Samna” we definitely what we have come to accept as fact what we have slowly come to suspect over the past few years—” something’s wrong with the sentence construction…nice post otherwise…how can the same politicians who pay lip service to Gandhi’s (Mahatma not Sonia) ideals say that ‘truth’ is against Indian culture…

  3. Thanks Sudipta. Corrected. An editing feature present in WP 2.8 that was not in WP 2.3 (I am yet to totally get used to 2.8) is responsible for this snafu thus leading to the saving of an earlier version of the post. Thanks.

    Martin, I find it tough to reconcile myself to the fact that accepting the truth on national TV should truly be cathartic. Accepting the truth is something that sets you free. Definitely. In the privacy of your home. In front of loved and *trusted* ones, specially the ones you feel you have hurt by your lies. Surely. But not in front of millions of people who are otherwise totally disinterested in you emotionally and who have no personal stake in your story (except of course in the vicarious pleasure they derive of watching a train-wreck).

    By making a public spectacle of yourself what you are doing is potentially embarassing those you have already hurt at least once before (many of whom arent there to even press the white button). I think this so-called public process of catharsis just betrays at best a further level of insensitivity on the part of the “truth-teller” and at worst a desire to cash in on his/her scandalous past (either in terms of money or infamy or both).

    As I pointed out, it is not even an issue of “It’s my truth. And I shall say it. Tera baap ka kya?” Secrets, especially the deep ones we carry, usually involve other people, people who do not have any say in your decision to blurt out their secrets and whose lives may consequently also be adversely affected by your unilateral decision to get it “off your chest”.

  4. Nice blog!
    I have been watching it for the past few weeks and I find it a tad boring! I mean, why would I be bothered if someone beds a lady younger than his daughter – it’s his personal life after all.
    At the same time, I must agree that India likes to talk about sex as much as other nations do and this provides the food for all our voyeuristic minds. Tasteless & Shocking – but then, that is what attacts the most!

    And Parliament is for anything and everything that India has a concern with; be it Sach ka Samnaa or Madame Mamata’s whimsicalities. I would not mind if they debate on this; but at the same time they should acknowledge the requirement of adult entertainment.

    I wish Rakhi Sawant comes to this show!

    Regards,
    Sowmik

  5. I personally am looking forward to the Desi version of Temptation Island…. but with an American Gladiators climax where the female finalists bikini wrestle in a jello filled tub….

    PS: Jerry Springer was an anchor in serious television programs before he went over to the dark side. I expect Rajeev Khandelwal, who gave decent TV soap performances and did an excellent job in Aamir, to take the same road. 🙂

  6. While most of the ‘foreign’ tv shows were getting Indianised, I never expected a show like ‘Moment of Truth’ to be. I had thought that the channel which would even think about airing it would get threat calls and what not. So when it was aired, I was pleasantly surprised.
    But now when the ‘threat’ has come from the Parliament itself, my instinct has prevailed and again we are back to square one.
    We Indians are truly hypocrites. While many of us would gleefully watch ‘Moment of Truth’, we would get alarmed with the screening of ‘Sach Ka Saamna’. Why? Its because the Indian show exposes exactly what the ‘Guardians of Indian Culture’ want to hide from the televisions.

  7. i came across a debate on a TV channel. People like smriti irani objecting to the show because it can corrupt people. this is so hypocritical at so many levels. there are some TV serials that are so regressive in their portrayal of women (some of which this woman acted in). There was another guy called Farooki.. probably a commie.. but was more like the taliban as he wants others to live by his ideas of right and wrong. The only sensible comment was from this other lady who said it is a GAME SHOW and “truth” is just incidental. So treat it like a game show.

  8. The Polygraph test they use is not 100% accurate and they can manipulate to make the program interesting!

    btw anyone uses Trust or Kish Kish on their computers ?!

    Scientists are working towards many ways to catch lies and in near future it might be difficult to tell lies !

  9. Hi GB.
    Nice write up!

    I hebb a query.
    I use google reader.As soon as I see your new blog in it , I open it.But always I find many comments already posted.

    Can you tell me…how can one post the 1st comment?( unless I am hooked to the site 24/7 and keep refreshing it each minute!)

    Is it so that it appears on net in USA earlier than here in India ??

    Pls reply.

  10. “Two and two equals four. The trouble is, in that world of shadows and distorting mirrors what may or may not appear to be two, when multiplied by a factor that may or may not be two, could possibly come out at four but probably will not.”Frederick Forsyth – The Fist of God

    Many of them are so wayward and wonky pervs that they would even lie on TV to get all those raised eyebrows and eyes rolled up to the ceiling and of course a very fat share of (in)fam(y).

  11. Hi greatbong, nice article, may i suggest that it is “You can’t handle the truth” and not “..cannot handle”

  12. Yeah, keep tuning in as long as it lasts… You never know, after banning Savita Bhabhi, they could do anything…

    Truth is against our culture – exactly what I said on my post 🙂

  13. I did find Moment of Truth a little fun when i first saw it. however, it got boring as the questions got repetitive and after a while it really doesn’t interest to listen to others’ dark secrets. the same is true for sach ka saamna – its just not fun to listen to people confessing their didoes…

    some questions also seem weird – have you ever thought of cheating your spouse (or something like that)? … as human beings we can have hundreds of thoughts- right, wrong, dirty, horny… if the show asks people to confess about their fantasies, does that mean its wrong to have them? i can wish to sleep with a celebrity (ohh i am sure billions of people have this dream), does that mean i am cheating on my partner? in a way yes, but then, i certainly do not need to come clean in front of the whole country and people who dont give a rat’s @$$ about me or my life…and what truth is the show talking about? kambli ‘FELT’ sachin could have done more… sachin might have done enough already, just that kambli didnt feel it… the show is playing too much on perceptions and thoughts i would say…

    i do agree that we Indians are hypocrites… but a child doesnt need to know about rapist fathers just to adore the normal one that she has… one can be made aware of such brute reality in other ways; a tv show is not one of them…the whole drama is based on the premise that reality is very different from the sweet dreams that we usually live in. We do not acknowledge the truth, doesnt mean its not there… but then, acknowledging the truth also doesnt make my life any better… probably,thats why i prefer to keep my eyes and Tv shut to refrain from witnessing the reality…

  14. We will cry ourselves hoarse over the show, burn it’s posters, stage dharnas, interrupt the governance of the country, to protest it. We will also watch it obsessively, all the while snarling with disgust. But one thing we will never do is turn it off. Or stop talking about it, asking others to watch it and agree with us how disgusting it is.
    Which means the show will never die because of low ratings. If it gets pulled off forcibly, a hundred ‘inspirations’ will pop up to replace it. Because the real truth is – we love to hate. Give us enough to hate, and we will love you forever. We want the drama. We love the drama. We live for the drama.

  15. Everybody has got an evil side. You cannot change a man’s thinking. People do think of killing someone to get their job done. Guys and Gals do have fantasies about their friends, teachers, colleagues and other random people. Sometimes we say that whatever we have done in our past we should forget it and look at our future dats one promise people do make to their spouse.

    Sach ka Saamna is one hyped show which creates dramatic situation where questions are made up to create a mess on TV and in life of people there. There can never be a positive outcome of such a show. Sach ka saamna is one pathetic act of exaggeration which shouldn’t be entertained.
    So I am wid GB to get this show banned.

  16. And you had to mention ‘Jerry Springer’ show!! With ‘Rakhi hi Swayam Var’ I really thought that a desi JS show was next in the line. We aped Tila Tequilla with our own Rakhi Tharra, and now it was time for the JS show.

    But seems our culture cops won’t let that happen anytime soon. We solve our problems in panchayats, not on TV shows.

    May be some day, some day Rakhi maiya will herself ‘haust’ a Rakhi Springer’s show, in the name of Marathi pride, like when she did that one item number to replace Tanushree Dutta in name of helping a Maratha producer.

  17. Speaking of Rakhi Sawant … Is it just me or do I see only two “great” celebrities being featured prominently in the Indian media these days – Rakhi Sawant and Michael Jackson?

    I am beginning to think Rakhi (Rocky) Sawant and Michael Jackson could be long-lost siblings, who got separated at the Kumbha Mela. 😉

    Their facial similarities are startling – especially the shape of the nose.

    Plus, I am not sure who is more talented and beautiful? Rocky or Michael?

  18. I hope I did not make libellous comments about Rocky or Michael. 😉

    Speaking of Rockies, did you guys know that Assam’s Home Minister is a gentlemen whose real name is Rocky-Bull Hussain. If you don’t believe me, feel free to check it out !!!

  19. Jerry Springer? What about the Maury Show? That’s way too whacko. One woman has been sleeping with 5 men and does a paternity test for her child. Its turns out that none of the 5 men are her child’s father. The 5 “innocent” men give each other “high-fives”. The woman bursts out crying and wonders who else she slept with. 😉

    Even a journalist like Geraldo Rivera got his nose broken by a chair and knuckle-punches thrown (live on the show) by his guests. That’s why he’s got a funny, bulbous nose. See this video of the fistfight here:

  20. For once I am with the Sushma Swaraj brigade on this one (can’t believe I am actually writing this!!)
    Perversion, if repeatedly displayed again and again, becomes gradually accepted and normalised in the psyche of the people as they lose their shock value. In a few generations we might come to a stage where the stuff shown on these freak shows will actually be considered normal because people will believe that everybody does it. Remember, even slavery was considered normal till a few centuries ago because it was so widespread.
    I find it very distressing that Indians seem so susceptible to such white trash reality shows.

  21. I also want to come on Sach Ka Samna …Mai sari politicians ki pole khol dungi..Mera bhai kehta hai ki uske pass sara data hai kon kon register kiya tha mere shosan karne ko…

  22. I agree more to your comment that you have posted GB though I am not sure I caught the tone of your original post.
    On a personal note, I am not quite sure that the producers of ” Sach ka Saamna” should be at all blamed or made to pay for the this concept by scrapping the serial. The participants should be blamed for being ready to share their darkest secrets on national television for however big a monetary consideration.If the programme is so much against national sentiments and should be banned, let the audience react by not turning up for the show.Why have the parliament debate on this? I am sure we have other pressing issues in India currently. Remember we are a democracy and there is something known as a right to freedom of expression.
    Most of the celebs who are turning up are bad sorts who are struggling in their respective fields, and for them it is indeed a publicity stint.Their presence or absence I dont think counts.
    Blame the people who are going to the show, not the people who made the show.

  23. I am not in favor of banning anything, be it literature, cinema, tv soaps- any damn thing. The reasons are as follows–
    First: The authority that bans anything is primarily government or so called independent bodies instituted by the government or self appointed moral police. They are too powerful and shameless in using their powers. Please don’t let the tiger be habituated to blood.
    Second: As a society are we not matured enough to tackle these issues? If this program is a crap you will not watch it. Why do we need to ban it?Our Society is too diverse and multifaceted. Any individual or any group can’t claim to be the sole representative of the indian society and culture.
    Third: Banning is a colonial concept. The literary works of our freedom fighters that were banned in India were not banned in England. They never thought of Indian society as a matured one and that we have the legitimate right to be free. We are still continuously proving them right. Just think you can express whatever you find right.If you allow the government or moral police to be the authority they will allow you to express what they think right, not you.So at any cost prevent this menace.
    Last of all, I’ll urge everyone to think clearly the following: Has freedom of expression lead most of us to hurt the sentiment of others?Has/Is watching p3s(its a funny code I use for porn) lead/leading( present continuous because I am still enjoying these stuffs) you towards mental perversion or being a rapist( as many of our moral guardians think)?Has it destroyed our social fabric? If no, then why others decide what I watch or read?We Indians are absolutely normal,sensible and matured people.We are capable enough to decide what should we watch and read. Freedom of expression is too precious a gift to left it to the hands of a powerful ones. Protect this right otherwise we will be like communist china, where everybody says chairman Mao is 70% right and 30% wrong(not 65-35 or 80-20). Do you know why? Because its party line.

  24. “Citing India’s “high ethos” and “rich heritage” and quoting Mahatma Gandhi, the Delhi High Court Wednesday dismissed the plea against the controversial reality TV show Sach ka Saamna and stated that no one should have any problem if people are telling the truth in open.
    “India is a land of rich heritage and high ethos and speaking truth is not harmful at all–if someone wants to speak truth in public let him do so,” said a division bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Manmohan.”

    —- When the outcome of a polygraph test is not accepted in a court, then how can the same court say that the Polygraph (TV Show) is speaking the truth when it answers “NO” to a contestant’s answer. It’s absurd that the court has looked at only the People telling the truth and if there’s a problem with it, but not if the instrument is accurate.

  25. @Bangalilincoln:
    “We Indians are absolutely normal,sensible and matured people.We are capable enough to decide what should we watch and read.”

    What about the young minds who may watch these shows? (All Parents cannot always keep a tab on their children). Are they also matured and capable enough to decide what they should watch and read? And is it ok for you if in future they consider illegitimate affairs, pre-marital sex etc as normal Indian Culture?

  26. @Bangalilincoln:
    P3s is not shown everyday on TV and if they had done so, then definitely it would have destroyed our social fabric and everyone would have been living in a Caligula age…Hmmmm.. 🙂 😛

  27. @EMC3
    what a lame excuse? Regarding your first comment @ me : I am providing a solution –make the program late night say at 11pm or 11:30 pm. Is not that a better solution than banning it. Regarding illegitimate affair and premarital sex. There are hundreds of incidents in mythology and even in modern “culture”.I just want to remind you that Radha was maternal aunt of SriKrishna.Karna was born out of premarital sex. So please don’t say these facts are alien to Indian culture.Let’s come to modern days– Have you seen Shakti Samanta’s Aradhana. It’ll remind you of premarital sex.
    I’m not favoring Sach Ka Samna. I don’t have any high regard for that program.I am just opposing the ban on this citing it as against Indian culture. You and I represent a small fragment of Indian Society. We just can’t say its against Indian culture if we don’t like it.If the program does not have the quality people will automatically reject it. Have faith our society.
    Regarding your second comment @me. This is really a debatable issue. Because its premise is much more complicated than we think of at first. Yes I have no problem if p3s are aired in TV daily at some specified time with special attention for children not having access to it. More over it must be absolutely legal. I strongly believe that it will not destroy our social fabric. These things are easily accessible in west. I don’t find any of my American/Indian friends( those who watch these) a perverted or rapist.

  28. Hi,

    I entirely agree to what you say in this post. This is a well-written post, and please keep them coming. However, when you say- innovately titled “Chumban the Kiss”, I don’t think you mean to say ‘innovately’, do you?

    Regards,
    Joydeep

  29. schadenfreude
    thats what all shock value reality tv is really about
    thats why its so addictive.
    its the same reason why failblog and fmylife are so popular
    we delight in watching others fail.
    as far as the outrage goes
    well……. meh

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