June 5, 2018
In tune with the changing times and needs, television has begun to highlight issues and subjects that were taboo not so long ago. But, the manner in which Tamil television channels have of late been handling the topic of sex, a super taboo subject in the Indian society even today, that leaves a lot to be desired.
Though the idea behind these programmes revolving around sex and related issues like teenage pregnancy, sexual abuse, safe sex and handling sex related problems is welcome, but the way the channels go about discussing them is causing a lot of concern among the viewers, especially the elders who belong to a different generation.
Take for example a regional channel like Captain TV that has been hosting sexual health shows since 2012. “Samayal Manthiram”, a talk show featuring a lady anchor and a doctor are in conversation over sex related problems and viewers phone in for advice that the good doctor readily offers. But this show has had its fair share of controversies. Its anchor is often attired in ‘bold’ clothing and uses a language with lines that have “double meanings” – aimed at titillating the viewer rather than engaging the viewer. TRPs, said anyone?
In one particular episode, the Doctor cracked a joke on the anchor’s breast size. This was scrutinised by many media houses like the Quint and the News Minute that castigated the channel for objectifying the anchor.
In yet another video clip of the channel, the anchor can be seen engaging with the caller asking about how many times a day he ‘unlocks the lock’ (a double meaning for intercourse).
Many other shows with similar content are also aired by other channels like I TV, which once had Shakeela, famously infamous for her bold roles in the Adult film industry, as the host.
Viewers find the objectionable fare, dished out by different channels, on sex and related topics, very dangerous as they mislead the people instead of guiding them in the right direction. Said Rukmini Ranganathan, a 68-year-old housewife in Mylapore, Chennai, “sex is a delicate topic, it needs to be handled properly.”
As an example, the good old Doordarshan stands out. It had aired a serial called ‘Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon’ (I, a woman, can do anything) that found positive resonance with the viewers who applauded the makers for the careful handling of sex related issues. Even on TRPs, the show proved that content remains the king.