The shocking and bizarre crime of passion that has come to light in Nagarkurnool appears to be straight out of a Hollywood thriller or to bring the analogy closer home, a particularly vindictive Telugu TV soap opera.
The prime accused Swathi (27) and her paramour Rajesh (30) who killed and charred Swathi’s husband Sudhakar Reddy (32) beyond recognition and later tried to pass of a disfigured Rajesh as Reddy were reportedly inspired by the plots of TV soap operas. According to sources, Swathi was an avid watcher of serials on Telugu channels.
The rarest of rare nature of crime committed by Swathi and Rajesh is a fact stranger than fiction but recent trends in regional TV show that as facts become strange, fiction has become unpalatable.
Far from providing respite from the monotony and ordeal of everyday lives, Telugu TV soap operas across channels treat their viewers to a series of outlandish and frankly random episodes.
Abnormal plotlines, exaggerated characters, baffling settings, ludicrous screenplay and direction portray people plotting characters’ death and downfall on an everyday basis. These soap operas are often far from the reality of normal existence and devoid from any human sensitivity.
It would not be far-fetched to assume that outrageous incidents shown on TV act on the minds of unscrupulous audience, sometimes even leading them to committing extreme acts.
The makers of these soap operas presume adding over the top episodes will boost the much needed TRP ratings. The TV domain has become exceedingly competitive over the years with tens of channels and hundreds of shows being launched at regular intervals, writes and makers are forced to resort to inflate and dramatize story plots.
The question of ethics, especially with regard to entertainment focused content is a hazy arena. Unlike News channels, amusement channels are not governed by a code of standards. There is no governing or monitoring body as there is for journalism. Not many intellectuals foresaw the disruptive potential of entertainment TV at its advent, it is perhaps time to rethink the supposition.