Watching hotel TV sucks. If you really want to watch Indian, you need cable.
I was staying in Bombay, now renamed Mumbai, and watching my 70-80 channels of television. It seems many American cable stations have an Indian equivalent. Discovery Channel, ESPN, Disney, Cartoon Network, and so forth.
I want to start with Cartoon Network, more specifically, Builder Bob. I was treated to this show when I visited Lance a while back when his wife and other daughter were out of town. To keep his elder daughter occupied, he played a Tivo'ed Builder Bob.
Builder Bob seems like a mild mannered guy a la Mr. Rogers. It seems he talks to his various pieces of equipment. (No, not that kind of equipment). Hoes, shovels, or some such. He has a handy wife. But make no mistake. It's his show. He's the mild mannered star of his mild mannered show.
So, I saw this show, among other "cartoons" on CN (Cartoon Network) in Hindi. Or at least, I think it's Hindi. India is a country with many languages. The official one is Hindi, but some people don't like it. Still, if you have to guess a language in India that you don't know, Hindi's your best bet.
I figured why not? Why not translate western cartoons to Hindi.
But, then I saw Builder Bob two more times. In one version, they spoke English. But Indian English. I'm not kidding. English as Indians (or some Indians) would speak it. Then, again, I heard it in English, but this time British English.
And it made me wonder.
Does Builder Bob actually have any plot? Maybe it's like those Jackie Chan movies where they tell everyone to speak in their native tongue, and it will be dubbed later (I suspect this also happened in all those Sergio Leone spaghetti Westerns). I was even doubting whether Builder Bob was even an American show!
But it gets better.
I'm watching Power Rangers.
Now this is my knowledge of the history of Power Rangers. Some Americans were visiting Japan, and watching the original Japanese version. They reached something of an epiphany. ("Light has reached me brain"). These guys wear masks! You can't tell they're Japanese!
What we'll do is to hire some actors, make it all multicultural and sh*t, and when they were masks and fight monsters (a recurring theme in children's shows), we use the original footage. When they are without their masks, we use the actors we hired. Brilliant!
So you might think the Indians would say "Why, we'll do the same thing!" and hire Indian actors to play the roles.
Except that would require money, wouldn't it? And hiring actors? And maybe they'd want to dance and sing.
Instead, they just dubbed it into Hindi. And of course, you can watch Scooby Doo in Hindi too. One cartoon that requires no translation (except occasional text)? Road Runner.
I would have been far more amused had they hired Indian actors.
I'll continue with more Indian television in the next post.
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