Banzilla Returns!

If you live on the West Coast of India you would have heard by now. The gigantic, grotesque monster – Banzilla has reared its ugly head once again. Stomping through India’s cable TV landscape making people run helter-skelter in panic.

Growling “No Adult Content” and “Movie Channel Ban” he is once again here to remind us all that the “explosive” growth in the entertainment industry we all talk about is built on shaky foundations. He is chasing down Cable Operators and shutting down Movie channels, till they get Indian Censor Board Certification for their content. The cable operators are crying foul and say that it’s the Broadcasters who are to be penalized as they are at fault.

Strange things have happened to tell of Banzilla’s coming, our colas became brackish and the seawater turned sweet. Various holy statues across the country started drinking milk. All omens that give us a little insight into what our great nation is all about in one word – PARADOX.

We pass the RTI (Right To Information) Act only to change it later so that it loses its potency. We privatize TV and radio only to bring in a Broadcast Bill that could scuttle at any time the very freedoms our media has come to enjoy and flourish in. As Banzilla roams around sending shockwaves across the land people are wondering whether this newfound prosperity/freedom is real or a fantasy. In a true democracy the power lies with the people and after 60 years of Independence India is finally getting there.

We have to fight Banzilla and send him back into his deep watery home for he is threatening our very future as a society and as a nation. Some months ago the Government asked all Music Television Channels to run rolling text on-air, apologizing for showing lewd programming. It was akin to asking a rogue student to write, “I will not cheat in exam” 500 times on a blackboard. Come on, can we not have a better policy in place to control what is shown at what time of the day on which channels. It is not rocket science. It happens all over the world and it can happen here too.

We hear time and time again that our reforms are irreversible. Which means that there is no going back. Nevertheless Banzilla will try to take us back every now and then and we must prove time after time that he won’t defeat us. He needs to be told that we are reasonable people who are mature enough to decide what we want to watch, when we want to watch and where we want to watch it. If the two hundred foot creature needs to sit down over a meal and discuss it, no problem. May we suggest the spanking new eatery Hitler’s Cross in Mumbai as a place we could meet and sort this mess out?

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