Posts | India’s Millennials and What They Might Be Watching
A great piece by Snighda Poonam in the FT on a nascent renaissance of Indian television series targeting young, urban Indian audiences on the web, free of the traditional strictures of the entertainment-industrial complex of India, and reflecting an authentic voice of India’s millennials (or at least a portion of them)
It’s worth a read on many levels.
It partially demonstrates a point I’ve made in other venues, including at the Emirates Festival of Literature, that local content in entertainment in emerging countries is alive and well, and that some of the local content has the potential for export to fellow emerging markets with similar societal structures. A Gangnam Style hit that goes global is actually rare, but South Korean pop music and Turkish soap operas that go “regional” or even global across “the global South” are more common.
A couple of paras from the fine piece:
What makes these shows different from “real” or mainstream television — which continues to be produced by giant studios with safe tastes — is their grasp of the cultural idiom defining the experience of young Indians, who are constantly matching their rhythm to that of the ever-changing world around them. You see it in the language characters use to communicate with each other — English when they are having “the talk” with their partner, an Indian language when they have had too much to drink, and a jumble of the two in most other situations. That’s actually an acknowledgment of the fact that a large proportion of young professionals in every major Indian city come from vernacular-speaking small towns and villages.
The lack of censorship on the internet allows the characters to do things people would do in their place in real life, whether it’s kissing, swearing, drinking or having sex — but unlike in Bollywood films, they are not doing so only in order to establish themselves to the audience as “westernised”. It is, in fact, in their enactment of supposedly un-Indian behaviour that we see the force of their Indian-ness, from their way of kissing, to their choice of expletives, to their go-to beer.
Here’s the link to the piece. I highly recommend it