Monday, January 16, 2012

Miss India SA : The Failure That Is...

I'm not a big fan of beauty pageants, but flipping through the channels on DSTV earlier this evening I came across Miss India South Africa on channel 115, an abomination so bad, I was simply mesmerized by it's cringe worthiness. It was like watching an accident happen right before my very eyes. You know you shouldn't look, but there's a certain morbid fascination, and before long you lower your hands from your eyes and stop gritting your teeth long enough to laugh until the tears flow.

Apparently when the show was first screened, there was such a huge uproar from the Indian community that some felt compelled to write to the producers. You can read one viewers honest and almost pleading letter here .

I could write an entire thesis about the negatives of the production, but I feel some of these choice quotes from the contestants and sponsors themselves will be an indication of just how low the standards were.

Dr R Singh, a sponsor : "The beauty pageant is great for our youth.... It helps these young ladies find better husbands."
Seriously Doc? So it's like a Russian Brides deal for Indians then?

Losing Contestant : " God is the only judge. I'll move on with my life. God made us all of sand and soil."
Interviewer : "Ja, what can you do hey..."
Lady, if God was judging this pageant, he'd have struck you all down by lightning!

Contestant : "It's always been my dream to enter this competition."
How sad must your life be that you aspire to enter a Miss India SA competition?

Then of course there were the Special Awards, which included 'Miss Bright Eyes', 'Miss Healthy Hair' and 'Miss Big Teeth' or happy smile. Forgive me for not remembering because by this point I wasn't really concentrating anymore.

One of the definite highlights for me was the huge "All You Can Eat Buffet for R89" poster that covered the centre of the stage. I kid you not. Some of these contestants were definitely Plus Size, and to make them stand in front of that sign was just downright degrading.

Apparently the producers had the opportunity to respond, and true to form, they blamed everyone but themselves. You can read their response here .

This is the problem I have with some of our Indian folk. This is not a generalization, merely an observation. Given the opportunity, some would rather skimp on an opportunity to provide an otherwise world-class production. My personal opinion is that it's all about saving a buck. Instead of spending a little extra and hiring professionals, they choose instead to get their cousins and nieces and nephews who would do it for no more than a plate of biryani and their name in the credits.
Professionalism goes out the window, and it starts looking like a shotgun wedding which had to be planned and put together within a week before the pregnant bride started showing a belly.

The entire production looks like it was shot on a Nokia 3210. The sound was so bad, I half suspect they only used the camera-phones mic. The lighting made everyone look orange. It was like watching a beauty pageant where everybody was related to Deborah Patta.

Just when I thought the show was thankfully over and along with it the sheer embarrassment of it all, along come the credits with such gems as "A Speacial Thanks To...." , "Soundtrak available on..." and "Exective Producer..." .
That pretty much sums up the complete lack of attention to detail.

As Indians, we need to start upping our game and aspire to be better, to do better, and to project ourselves in a more professional light. This 'I just fell off the Truro with a bottle of Cane and no tumbler ekse" routine is stale. It's washed out and it's over. Our sons and daughters are doing an amazing job out in the workplace and the media. It's time that those who claim to represent our cultural diversity on television and radio start realizing this, and raise the bar.

Miss India South Africa definitely doesn't represent me nor anybody else I associate with.
At least not in it's current form.