Friday, August 08, 2008

God Save Me From the Olaampik

Hurray! The Olympics have started. The ultimate sporting extravaganza; the greatest test for any athlete around the world, and a period of frustration and disappointment for any sports lover trying to get a peek at all this through Doordarshan's exclusive coverage in India.

Some dumb bimbette, whose greatest accomplishment till date has been flawless skin and above average bust size kept smiling through the mandatory DD studio act before any sporting event - a hangover from its 6th umpire programmes during breaks in cricket matches. If they meant it to be an introduction to the greatest sporting event in the world it was a miserable failure.

When DD's live telecast started, a military band was playing and our very own Hindi commentator was practicing his opening lines live on TV, completely oblivious to the fact that his voice was being heard on national TV. He said something along the lines of "it's sunset time in India, lekin China ke is mahanagari Beijing mein raat prajjwalit hain" not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times - each time messing up his line and floundering somewhere among those esoteric Hindi words.

But most obnoxious was his pronunciation of 'Olympics' - he insisted on calling it the 'Olaampik'. I can understand his reluctance to use the plural, by why, oh why does he have to say 'Olaa' instead of 'Oly'? The least I'd have expected from DD is to send a guy who knows how to pronounce 'Olympics' to do the commentary. My mistake. After so many years, I've still not leant that DD is not just any other TV broadcaster.

This commentator also insisted on using the words sabhyata and sanskriti every time they showed something multi-coloured on the screen (which was all the time). When they showed Chinese introduction of paper making, he reminded us that like India, China too has contributed a lot to the world and also has a 5000 year old sabhyata and sanskriti. When they showed the contribution of Chinese to gunpowder, the dude again reminded us that China had prachin sabhyata aur sanskriti going back 5000 years, like India. When they showed the Chinese invention of the kite, this guy had the following enlightening comment to make : "In India too, we fly kites." I swear he said that.

If he had just stuck to sabhyata and sanskriti, it would have been bearable. But he insisted on giving us profound insights into geopolitics in Asia. As the Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong contingents marched by, he observed that these two countries are to China what Pakistan and Bhutan are to India. Hmm...that must be news for our folks at the Ministry of External Affairs.

When the Commonwealth Games come to India in 2010, DD will have the same crack team of commentators ready to assault us with erudite and scholarly insights. I just hope that in the 2 years they have, they work on memorising their lines better. Also, a little bit of imagination and some knowledge of sports would do wonders. Am I expecting too much?

15 comments:

Ms Cris said...

LOL I think this will work on promoting more viewers. Seems too much fun to miss.

>>I can understand his reluctance to use the plural, by why, oh why does he have to say 'Olaa' instead of 'Oly'?<<
LOL!!!

jj said...

You said it! I heard the kite-flying part too. He even mentioned the name of some festival..thank god the coverage was exclusive for the Indian audience.
The story was the same with other coverages too. NDTV had this really annoying discussion, on India's medal hopes (or hopelessness) couldn't keep their mouths shut for god's sake.
Let's keep our fingers crossed for the C-a-m-m-a-n wealth games.

silverine said...

I am still fuming, so this post is adding fuel to the fire! grrr Our Desi Debacle a.k.a DD lived up to its name. Man...nothing has changed!!! Everything the same! The same ol sanskriti and sabhyatha bullshit!! I am so mad!! They botched up an otherwise perfect performance with their Hindi crap! Wish they would just SHUT UP, the commentators i.e. The ceremony dint need any commenting, really! And the ads coming on just when the count down reached zero...! *fume*

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

I don't know why DD invests so much on hiring programme hosts. It seems to me all they had to do was invest on a mic and camera and then walk out on to the street and hold the mic to the first person they see and let him/her speak extempore.

Neena Padayatty said...

Wonderfully put!...the old DD team made it sound like we were watching the RD parade or one-day cricket with a lot of "kafi","dheemi gati","sabse behtarein khiladi"...Somehow listening to it once in a while makes one feel like those picture perfect Indian families of the 80s with "sanskriti" and "sabhyatha"(whatever that means ;-D).However,the video quality was better than expected.

mathew said...

I dont whether to laugh after reading this post..coz its frustrating at the same time..Though I was not the victim of the DD coverage, I truly can picturise what was coming because of their chequered history!!

silverine said...

Now that I have stopped fuming, LOL post I must say! :))

Philip said...

ms cris: It is. Believe me :)

jj: He might have mentioned makar sankranti...but i don't remember hearing it because I was rolling on the floor laughing hysterically. Yeah..fingers crossed for Cammanwalth Games :D

silverine: My thoughts too during the entire event - why didn't they just shut up!

Thank you :)

karthik: Your explanation makes a lot of sense. At least it explains the quality (or lack of it).

neena: The reason the video quality was good was that DD didn't have anything to do with it :)

mathew: Lucky you! I'm telling you, it was a torture.

Anonymous said...

True, they spoilt the events. What the other so called 24X7 news channels did was even atrocious, the mixed audio of Doordarsan's killing Hindi and their own panel discussion was killing. None of the so called sports channles spared their valuable air time to broadcast the wonderful event. Shame on them. Niether DD Nor their competetors fared better. Height of ignorance when he claimed that Kites originated in Gujarat in India as well or some thing similar.
Ramesh.

Sud said...

Man, do I miss DD.

What would we laugh at if they weren't there?!

hammy said...

Am I expecting too much?

Of course you are, Philip.

DD is not meant to be a news channel. The commentators are not meant to be sports announcers... or sports fans...

It's not like they recruit ardent scholars for their announcements. The policy is that if you're not drunk, you can comment. Sometimes, they even overlook that.

Of course, I am assuming most of these things... I haven't seen DD in years, except for 0.12 seconds at a time that I take to flip channels...

:D

Santosh said...

LOL. Nice one Philip.

George said...

DD is not just any other TV channel , that makes all the difference here. There are few other guys like DD in India
1)Department of Telecom (remember the waiting period for phone connections)
2)Air India
I guess the list is pretty huge.

Vikas SN said...

Hehe. Ya even I remember those blunders done by DD people. But the interesting point is that they outdo themselves almost daily :)

When the person is about to win a match they change the sport it self leaving its avid viewers in a lurch

Anupama Kondayya said...

A hilarious post that reiterates the sad truth about DD. DD can be so much more than what it is given its reach...it truly can be a vehicle of social change and a centre of excellence if it puts itself to it...but that may not be for a while and we will have to put up with these jokes in the name of commentators...

will think of 'sanskriti' and 'sabhyata' everytime I see some colour now :) ...nice post...