Spit take Opinion

OTTs wrong with you?

An up and coming leader spoke for 1.3 billion — give or take a few hundred million — Indians when he said, “Who abuses this much in real life, #*&%?” (I added the ‘#*&%’ for dramatic impact.) He was referring, of course, to the linguistic excesses of a show currently being aired on an OTT platform.

I have to agree with him. Some of these shows are so full of profanity that they have altered our viewing experience completely and irreparably. While TV-watching used to be a wholesome joint-family event in Vedic times, with everyone from Dadaji to little Chintu sitting on the living room floor, eating khakhra and sipping chilled thandai, it has now turned into a fragmented affair with family members slinking off one by one to watch the content in bathrooms on their mobile phones on the sly.

Rumour has it that, thanks to this development, families are being forced to build extra bathrooms in their havelis. And that Akshay Kumar’s next Independence Day release, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha – Part 2, could well deal with this burning issue.

What’s the matter with us? When Barack Obama — a great role model, not to mention, dear, dear friend of our leader’s — himself has openly admitted to watching Ramayana and Mahabharata on DD in his formative years, why should we, proud citizens of the land of ancient plastic surgery, watch such corrupting fare?

How can our future generations aspire to be President of the United States if they continue watching Mirzapur 1 and 2?

It is such a relief that the all-knowing authorities are considering putting a stop to the rampant nonsense on these channels. A timely move considering we are on the threshold of greatness. The bullet train, Ayurvedic surgery, bulloctricity, and big, big statues of our valorous kings are in the offing, and we just can’t afford to lose our way in this manner.

As a patriotic, god-fearing Indian who constantly worries about the way things could go, I humbly submit a few suggestions to the regulatory authorities.

Alternative words and phrases

If characters must use strong language, let it not be vulgar. For instance, if a character uses the ‘f’ word followed by the word ‘off’ or its Hindi equivalent, the more acceptable phrase ‘go to Pakistan’ could be dubbed over. Similarly, if cuss words that no cultured Indian would be caught dead uttering are used by a character, we could dub over them with, say, ‘urban naxal’, ‘libtard’, ‘Italian’, ‘Mughal’, etc, depending on the intent, intensity and gender of the original word.


When we watch cricket matches with running commentary, why not make that a regular feature for shows, too? Imagine there is a show with questionable content. We could introduce an inset featuring a role model like, say, Kangana Ranaut, popping up and explaining (in her soothing voice) what is wrong with what the characters are saying, and how they would be punished if they did it in real life.

Intimate scenes

We are a land so cultured that kissing scenes are done using SFX. If you don’t believe me, check out the YouTube clip of Kajal Aggarwal kissing a balloon against a green screen. Why not go back to the old way of flowers caressing each other in a gentle breeze to denote kissing? And, when characters... er... take it further, it could be a soda bottle being opened or steam engine tooting. At which point, an animated version of Kangana Ranaut could pop up and beat the errant couple with a comic sledgehammer.

Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is a satirist. He has written four books and edited an anthology.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 3:09:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/otts-wrong-with-you/article33191921.ece

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