Human beings are always fond of stories, be it real or reel. Maybe that is the reason cinema and plays are still in business. Storytelling is an art in itself. Many people, usually grandparents, are brilliant storytellers. People sit engrossed listening, reading or seeing a story unfold. Centuries ago, stories were narrated. Then came the books. Next were the films and then for the past quarter of a century, especially the last decade, serials have become the in thing. And it has caught the imagination of everyone in the family. And every few weeks, a new serial keeps getting added to the list of existing serials on most channels.
Olave Namma Baduku, Geethanjali, Gupthagamini, Punyakoti, Silli Lalli, Papa Pandu, Preethi Illada Mele, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Tu Tu Mein Mein, Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin, Rishtey,… the list goes on. And there are trailers being aired about new serials like Minchu and others that are about to start.
That brings me to the subject of this post. How about introducing a subject called ‘Serial Watching’ (SW) in schools and colleges? Parents and teachers will no longer have reason to scold kids or adults who watch serials. In fact, they can all enjoy the same. The SW course will be introduced in keeping with the rising popularity of serials as a career option among students.
In schools, the students will have to watch serials between 7 pm and 8 pm from Monday to Friday. Before the start of each SW class, the title song of a serial will be sung by the students. Each week will have a different song. This way, justice will be done to all title songs. Just like other subjects, questions will be asked with reference to these serials at the end of the term. There will be assignments and projects to be submitted too. At the end of the year, there will be exams (both oral and written) relating to the serials. Textbooks, Guides and Model question papers will be available shortly at all book stores. Till then, students are requested to visit blogs of their favourite serials. If a blog is not available, they are free to start one.
For college students, it is slightly different. They will have it as a specialised subject. They need to choose any two serials and watch them throughout their course. (In case a serial gets over midway through the course, the student is free to choose any other serial for the study.) They will be required to write thesis and make presentations. If the thesis has autographs/ photographs of the lead actors taken by the student, extra marks will be given. If the student does a review of each episode for a blog, then he/ she will be exempted from writing the assignment. For this, he/ she will need to write a review of minimum 50 episodes out of which 25 needs to be consecutive reviews.
For the college syllabus, the course would cover various aspects of the serial industry such as technical and acting medium as well as advertising and public relations. It would also include the theory and practice of acting in serials and the techniques of production to prepare students well. As far as serial management is concerned, students will be given academic orientation and practical training in the subject, with the curriculum being designed to include basic modules like time management in serials, sponsorship, TRP planning, grabbing audience attention and so on.
From applied ethics for those with an interest in philosophy and survey research that will give students hands-on knowledge from psephology to heritage appreciation and management and a course in acting for those bit by the showbiz bug, the college can offer a range of choices. The college can also offer a course in Serial Foundation and Serial language too. Interested students can enrol at the certificate, diploma and advanced diploma levels.
Teachers interested in this new subject can send an application to the Principal of their respective schools and colleges. They need to give a letter saying that they are obsessed to watching serials. Top priority will be given to those teachers who watch serials during school/ college hours in staff rooms. TV will be provided by the school or college.
Teachers need to organise special group discussions among students and mock plays related to the serials. Students must participate in the essay writing, painting, debate, cartooning and story telling competitions relating to each serial. Teachers, students and parents need to encourage this new subject in whichever way. On one side, this will help serials get more TRP ratings and on the other, help get more hits to the blogs relating to serials.
Principal’s note to students: Stern action will be taken against those who express negative opinions about SW. A watchful eye will be kept on all students who comment in blogs. Those who write positive things about SW will be given scholarships every year based on the comments. Those who voice negative opinion will not be permitted to write exams for any subject. If a student publishes blogpost writing negatively about any serial, he/ she will be detained.