Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Entertain Us (Part II)

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Fast forward to the present day and one can clearly see that in 2017 there are a host of channels, platforms, events and merchandise to be had, where families, children and young adults can choose from a wide entertainment menu and select what interests and amuses them.  The luxury of choice, as Pritish Nandy recently wrote in one his opinion columns, is what has made living in India so much more interesting and enjoyable.  Whether it is mobile and network games, summer camps, international musical events and online streaming, the avenues available for today’s younger generation is in a way - infinite.  That in fact stirs a slight bit of jealousy from deep within me to be honest.  But more than the choice of options is the opportunity to customize and set in place the content and live experiences, which truly resonate with oneself.  Case in point being the variety of international serials and movies available to people thanks to Netflix and Amazon Prime have switched large groups from traditional programming to more tailored made ones. 

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Of course, taking it one step further is that one can now become an entertainer in their own right.  For instance, the viability of online platforms like YouTube, has led many young adults to become overnight celebrities through areas that include technology reviews, original visual material screening or even cooking.  More specifically due to online platforms, stand-up comedy, a fairly new genre of entertainment in the country, has grown by leaps and bounds and allowed fellow comedians to carve a niche for themselves and grow a sizable audience.  This has led to organizers beating a path to their doorways to invite them to participate in shows, host brand endorsement campaigns or even be a part of television programming.  In relation to the latter, the fanfare around reality shows is unprecedented and has seen various communities from across the country become highly engaged and loyal to corporates who host them.  The resultant effect being a deeper level of satisfaction and lively discussions being witnessed in millions of living rooms, office spaces and restaurants.   

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Other technologies such as Augmented and Virtual Reality (AVR) now have the potential to offer Indian consumers another way to experience holidays before they happen, be more engaged with gaming experiences and be a part of global events without having to travel to those locations.  Even within the traditional space of movies, audiences can now become more enthralled than ever before.  Take for instance the new Alien: Covenant movie.  While introduced in other markets, plans are afoot that with the next installment in the Alien franchise, viewers wearing headsets can not only feel that they are a part of the movie, they could actually see the whole movie take place around them.  Though I am not sure how comfortable I would feel seeing the frightening creature in the film – The Xenomorph come lunging at me.  Might not be my cup of tea!

In other words, the possibilities are limitless and across the country, observers can see more collaboration between domestic entertainment companies and foreign ones working to deliver more regional specific content.  But through it all the easing of entertainment rules, powered by vast advances in technology has made these changes possible.  It has in fact reached a point, where one can see that many domestic artists and film makers are now looking more inwards to India’s own native stories, mythology and classic literature of the past as well as more recent works and giving them a new spin.  In some cases, there is a lot of inspiration being drawn from various sources to create new pieces of entertainment such as the well-received two part movie saga of Bahubali

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The view now is that as the nation progresses towards the pivotal year of 2020 and beyond, entertainment is going to become more democratic and less hierarchical.  The power to dictate what could viewed or heard, which were for decades reserved with only a few film and television companies, music labels and events firms has now spread outward.  The wider public need not follow nor accept anymore what some have labelled as the “master slave” relationship.  For from a time where there were virtually no choices to one where there are many, Indians have a wide ocean of visual and written treats, which they can dive into. Dare I say, I now get to have the latest Batman and Spiderman graphic novels delivered to my door thanks to the likes of  Yeah! Happy me!  Today’s India is setting a new precedence around how we have access and how we may ourselves participate in creating new genres relevant to audiences that wish to hear or see them.  A brave new world of imagination, creation and engagement has opened and the best part of it is that everyone is invited to join in and enjoy it whatever they wish to.  So for the once grand master of the past, The Big D and all that it represented, the time has come for it to either change rapidly or host an entertaining discussion with the Grim Reaper explaining why it should still be allowed to remain alive in an India that has for many years considered it to be extinct.  Next Take please! 

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