Now that the great Indian election tamasha is over, the decibel levels on TV sets have subsided. I for one am happy to return to watching TV without my eardrums being assailed by shrieking panelists at each flip of the remote. But is everyone happy at the winding down of idiot-box excitement? Or perhaps – dare I say it – they miss the high-pitched drama and intrigue that is Indian politics?
Nisha Millet Chatterjee, swimming champ and supermom, tells me she’s watching what she calls ‘happy stuff’ now. She and husband Bikranjit are both self-confessed TV buffs, and it is not cricket for them, but basketball. “We watch every NBA game right up to the finals. I cheer for the champions,” says the Miami Heat fan, who is rooting for LeBron James to score big. With two small babies, her days are full, so she and her husband try and schedule time in the evenings for their favourite shows: crime serials like Criminal Minds and Elementary and, of course, the new attention-grabber, Game of Thrones. Being a foodie, she also enjoys Cake Boss on TLC. “We both love baking, and the show is light hearted.”
I’m totally with Nisha. I prefer non-stressful TV viewing myself. Luckily there’s always some excitement on: Criminal Minds adds chills to drama, and I loved House of Cards, though it seems tame compared to our desi political shenanigans. But my favourite is Sherlock: I confess to being a fan of Benedict ‘Cheekbones’ Cumberbatch and his crackling-paced modern rendition of Holmes. I have also taken to watching Jonny Lee Miller’s eccentric, vulnerable Holmes in Elementary. He has grown on me.
Food blogger Ruth D’Souza Prabhu is another crime show buff. She “couldn’t get into Elementary, but is a hard core fan of CSI.” With food her thing, she loves MasterChef Australia (the US version is too contrived, she says) along with Man vs. Food, Jamie Oliver and Nigella’s food shows (“She cooks the way we do, using her hands, licking her fingers”, she exclaims.) She enjoys shows with high production values where ‘you can hear the sizzle and pop of the food as it cooks’.
Then there are the reality show fans. American Idol and The Voice have their own following (depending on if you prefer JLo to Shakira and Keith Urban to Usher). MasterChef Australia creates a megabuzz in food-driven Bangalore. I will testify to the fact that judges George and Gary are more loved possibly than Brad Pitt, judging by the mobs of frantic fans in pursuit during their visit to Bangalore some time ago.
So who is excited about IPL? Everybody! With the elections over, full attention is back on the matches. Biere Club director, Vishal Nagpal, a Royal Challengers Bangalore fan, doesn’t miss a game, even though he’s ‘disappointed’ in his team’s showing this time. The IPL, with its colour and noise, makes for a quick, fun watch, the hard-fought matches adding to the thrill. “The heavy hitting, innovative strokes are fun to watch – anyone can win, any time,” he says. Nagpal will also watch the FIFA World Cup. “Players play their best for their country; there’s something extra-special about it,” he says.
Right now, I’m waiting for the Champions League final, which should be heart-stoppingly thrilling, and the perfect kick-off to the FIFA World Cup. Ruth agrees, “I love football. It’s 90 minutes of non-stop action and I love the victory dances!” Now that the politicos have finished their victory jigs, it’s time for the sportsmen. Bring on the celebratory backflips, guys!
-Ruma Singh (She is a Bangalore-based lifestyle writer and wine blogger, presents an (independent) column on observations, insights and what’s buzzing in the city) firstname.lastname@example.org