What’s up with Indian men?

Every Indian woman, on seeing a traffic policeman enthusiastically scratching his goolies or every time a stray hand in the crowd cops a feel, asks what the f*$** is up with Indian men. OK, so I bet Egyptian women say the same about their men and Italian and Spanish women too. It’s a fair enough question, usually more of a rhetorical one. But two women have put themselves (and supposedly this question) at the centre of a new television show on Fox’s new avatar Fox History and Travel Channel. I urge you to watch this show, not for its brilliant insights or hilarious commentary but to squirm in shame at these two annoying moronic women.

This could have been a great show but instead they’ve taken a completely good concept and they got no where with it. It’s hard to say whether this is a travel show, in which case they do it in halves or whether it’s a serious (and fun, of course) anthropological mission that they are on with the Indian city in question at the heart of it. If it’s the latter, the show bombs.

 Egged on by my Sociological leanings I eagerly tuned in to their first show which asks why Delhi men are so aggressive. Having been a resident of Delhi myself for about 5 years in the late nineties there was added personal interest. I got 5 minutes in to the show at which point the pain inflicted by the two hosts made me go scrambling for the remote, incensed that someone had allowed these losers in to my home. But out of sociological interest and lets face it a good reason for a rant, I caught a re-run which was not hard to do as these women have taken over said channel.

It turned out that the hosts make a fatal error of turning the focus on themselves rather than the people or the city or indeed their question, ‘What’s up with Indian men?’. They seem so delighted with themselves, like they’ve struck upon the question of the century, the great mystery, the answer to which is going to solve all our social ills. They take you on a tour of Delhi’s famous side streets and markets going in to the depths of Chandni Chowk, exploring a ghaghra shop, talking to a woman about what she wore at her wedding, trying on the outfits and then eating jelebes. I have no idea what Delhi male aggression had to do with any of this but I held  on for good measure. At one point through what can now only be described as an ordeal I thought they’d changed the format to a travel show without telling me.

 Just in time they round up a middle class young man with rather unfortunate hair asking him what makes Delhi men so aggressive. The chap, apparently a comedian ineptly tries to blame it on the punishing summer heat, the migrants, even the butter chicken. They even ask him why all the “local” a.k.a poor people are staring at them. Errr…cos you got cameras following you, you are attractive women wearing shorts in a very crowded sweaty market, you are clearly talking about them, should I go on? They spend the next 5 minutes on the great jelebees they are scoffing. They take this young man through the crowded market, wall to wall bodies, in an attempt to show him the groping they encounter or for him to encounter it for himself. But in true fashion the burly guy pushes through the crowd, leaving his two charges behind and emerges on the other side of the throng waiting for the girls to appear. No groping, no bodies pressed up against you, just floating through the crowd.

It’s night time now, there’s bound to be male aggression round the corner so the girls head for a popular bar coercing a few more young men in to answering their burning question. There’s a smattering of suggestions, the most prominent being the Delhi male’s propensity to show off who his daddy is. Of course, he has no credentials of his own and has to rely on his father’s achievements ‘cos his own would amount to squat. I wonder whether the poor migrant labourer from UP says the same thing to his Bihari counterpart as they argue for a warm spot on the pavement. Anyway, it was all the woes of an upper middle class. They didn’t mention Delhi’s superficiality probably because they are swimming in it, they are it. The “discussion” is then peppered with some comments on the bar they are in and the food served. There’s even some maladroit dancing. That’s what makes Delhi men aggressive – their inability to move and be sexual attractive at the same time.

 But I think what really gets to me is the jerky camera movement, the fast forward, speeded up shots and split screens. All this rolling and pitching is making me want to puke. I guess this is supposed to be “edgy”. Frankly, it’s pretentious, unnecessary. It only works on NYPD Blue. Did they not have enough footage, enough substance that they had scramble my mind in order to make this seem like a well spent half hour? I understand they wanted to make a fun show and the catchy theme song is the most fun thing they’ve got; played to the death of course in parts during the show. But they could have interviewed some of the best sociologists/anthropologists India has to offer who are all perched in DU and South Campus. They could have made that fun too. There’s no hidden camera work actually showing Delhi men in their element. You can’t just go out and ask the question, you have to ask around the question, explore all it’s tributaries, looking at the culture around you. They’ve not even spoken to regular people on the street. It’s just the two hosts talking, reading the script.

 One of the two women, the shorter plumper one has a natural flair for the camera and a spontaneous humour, even though scripted, she pulls it off well. The leggy one thinks she’s so hot. She’s not. This show should have been called, ‘What’s up with these two annoying stupid women who have ruined my scarce relaxation time?’. Instead they lose the plot and the perfectly good concept for the show leads no where. They even end the show saying they have no idea why Delhi men are aggressive and will have to come back here to find out. Please no! I can’t spend another half hour on this. Give me my life back.

 Brace yourself for next week. I caught a glimpse of Goa and an interview with that washed up crooner from the 80s Remo Fernandes. Where are my pills. Someone help.

About nonsense girl

Galley slave, qualitative researcher working in development, married my best friend, writing about my life, my family, my dog, TV, Indian culture, astronomy and my garden. www.nonsensegirl.wordpress.com
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6 Responses to What’s up with Indian men?

  1. shaggy says:

    Looking forward to the rants 🙂 Regarding the post you mentioned, maybe it’s my inept navigation, but am unable to find it either under the categories above or checking older posts on the main page. Kindly adjust and send link if possible

  2. gkorula says:

    The channels don’t really care about our views on their shows because they already made the show, signed up the advertisers and been paid ten times over. They don’t care that no one watches these shows or watches and likes them. Harsha Bogle is bearable, the others are not worth mentioning but definitely worth ranting about! Which I shall do with pleasure… Please read my post on “Desi Cool” – about how we have shifted from revering mother India as sacred and can poke fun at ourselves. The “we are like this only” proud apology

  3. shaggy says:

    Thanks for the condolences. I’m a sucker for travel shows about India so have learnt to take the drivel with the occasional jewel.. starting with the Lonely Planet series (90’s Discovery) through the British comedian-hosted sagas (Michael Palin, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Paul Merton etc.) to this “Indians in India” trend. The two red-tinted channels, Fox and TLC, are probably most guilty of spamming us with gimmicky shows. Some examples off the top of my head: “Twist of Taste” (bland and underwhelming or maybe it’s not for non-cooks), “It Happens only in India” (better researched than others but annoying host-centrism), “Indian Rendezvous” (a paint-by-numbers celebrity tour of city spots), Travel India with Harsha Bhogle (tourism infomercial feel but occasionally funny). What did you think of these? Maybe another post(s) is in order 🙂
    This recent deluge seems like an attempt to prop Fox as Traveller before donning the new avatar. They would do well to have a show webpage inviting viewer comments. What’s the harm, they’ve already made their profits, customer feedback would only be free thoughtfood for future projects. Might also make some of us watch-and-rant netizens feel productive 🙂

  4. gkorula says:

    A very far cry from the likes of Desmond Morris… I’m really sorry you went through the pain. But have you noticed the large number of young Indians making travel shows about India, being aired on Fox Traveller (who have yet again changed their avatar from Fox History and Traveller to just Traveller). Noxious drivel indeed.

  5. shaggy says:

    Hahaha… really funny and well written review! Googled this today after catching the outtake-montaged closing credits – somehow the nauseatingly self-indulgent and directionless show wasn’t bad enough that the makers thought to leave us with fond memories of things even they had left out.
    As a guy reading Desmond Morris and Mary Roach to figure “why we think how we think” I was immediately interested in the show’s premise expecting it to bring a woman’s perspective in an Indian context. Needless to say haven’t seen so much drivel in one place. Your frank (and hilarious) analysis has made the painful viewing worth it 🙂

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