Commercial break, I remember was not despised so much in those early days of Indian TV. Advertisers then were few and far in-between and the scheduled commercials brought in welcome break for the viewers to run out and complete some chores. This used to mimic the intervals we experienced while watching a movie in the theatre. However, what irritated the viewers were the unscheduled breaks the results of technical glitches. The most hated screen shot of the television that I can still vividly remember is “rukawat ke liye khed hai” or its English translation, “sorry for the interruption”.
When I walked into the TV room of our hostel during college days, I discovered another facet of life with realization that people could actually cheer a commercial in the TV. Some of the ads were always welcome and Cadbury perks by Priety was one such good example which the boarders were ready to embrace kabhi bhi aur kahin bhi. Chitrahaar was immensely popular then and the lyril soap advertisement surpassed it in popularity and not surprisingly some students even contemplated request Doordarshan to play the advertisement after each song.
Things have changed since then and excessive commercialization has taken over the media with advertisement taking precedence over the program they sponsor. The most effective way of tease a viewer is to deny them when they want it the most and our TV bosses has mastered this art. This philosophy could be seen in action during the cricket matches with commercials kicking in every time something exciting happens in field.
The companies appear to have made it their mission to make us learn their ads by heart. I wish one of these days they take it on themselves to make our kids learn some of their school lessons.
Imagine in place of commercials, multiplication tables keeps repeating for umpteen numbers of times with a small logo of the sponsoring company in a corner. In no time the entire nation will learn their tables by heart. Alternatively they could start repeating some formulas from physics or organic chemistry test books in-between a Salman khan thriller. At the end of the movie students across the country will master classroom chemistry alongside the on-screen chemistry of the artists.
What a noble cause that would serve!