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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Saat Phere, Saloni Ka Safar - Good start, but ..

Why is that I get disappointed in serials so early. When the ads for Saat Phere, Saloni Ka Safar started coming on Zee, they seemed somewhat different from all the saas-bahu serials, maybe as a breath of fresh air. The concept of a women struggling because of her skin colour is something that is very intrinsic to Indian culture, one that we do not recognize as racism. I had some hope that this would be a more realistic story.
So, when the serial started in the third quarter of 2005, initially things were good. This had a good girl (Saloni played by Rajshree Thakur) playing the role of a dedicated daughter fighting against colour based discrimination. The initial portrayal was realistic, with family not sure about her future, and she hoping for the best. Her younger sister was also fairly realistic, having been pampered due to her good looks, and feeling the pride in it.
Then Saloni is preferred by the family of Nahar, a very eligible bachelor from a rich family. Feeling for Saloni's character, you could understand that she had been chosen because of her good values. So far so good. But things start to unravel after that. You would think that a serial should terminate after that, so that it leaves when a good feeling is still there. But no, the pressure of money will prevent soaps from ever ending.
So you have endless twists where the realism goes away, with pure evil characters such as Saloni's bhabhi (Kaveri) and then Devika / Chandni (Kirti Gaikwad). This character has an interesting story. She is married to Saloni's husband in real life; so after they terminated her character Chandi earlier, it seems that they brought her character back in the form of Devika so that the husband-wife team can continue acting together.
Some of the twists are: Earlier marriage of Nahar (Saloni's husband), Change in nature of Tara, Dispossesion of property of entire family, Samar's blindness, Neel turning evil, and so on. The other major problem that I see is that they show some characters as black or white: Saloni, Kaveri, Neena Gupta, all these are characters without any shade of grey. Either very good or very bad, and that is certainly not realistic.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I Dream Of Jeanie - an English language classic of its time!!!

"I Dream of Jeannie" was a comedy starring Barbara Eden, Larry Hagman, Bill Daily and Hayden Rorke. The show was about the adventures of an astronaut who inadvertently became the master of a genie he discovered in a bottle during one of his missions.

I still remember it used to come in the morning ( around 10-11 slot) and in the evening (5:30-6:30 slot). One of them was a repeat telecast. I used to watch the evening show as it used to be my school time in the morning.

I Dream of Jeannie was a cute television show about Anthony Nelson, his friend Roger, his Dr. Bellows... and his Jeannie, Jeannie. A very cute show even though some episodes tended to go off track (like the one where Jeannie was watching a performance by a famous singer, I forget which one, and a lot of the episode was wasted on this guy's video clip, yes- there actually was a video clip in the episode that had nothing to do with it).

But still, most episodes stay on track. I especially love when Jeannie's sister pops up, always trying to capture Major Nelson and make him her own master. Cute and witty, there's a reason why Major Nelson dreams of Jeannie.

Barbara Eden was entertaining to watch and it was just not her looks either. If the show was on now in these times, it would be based on her trying to keep her master out of her bottle. I would still love to see if it starts again.

Monday, April 23, 2007

JASSI JAISI KOI NAHI... a good start, but faded out

This show started out really GREAT!! Very different and a real self esteem booster for millions of those beautiful Indian girls who are put down--cuz they dont fit the bill. Looks aren't everything and that's exactly what this serial showed.

Basically the serial Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin was written around a plot of a ugly girl who later changed her outlook with makeup and the serial depicted what sort of changes she felt around her after her new look. Upto that point the serial was good. But the masala things that were put to carry on the serial in order to make it run and make money should be avoided. They kill user interest in a serial, and make people forget how good the serial was.

Jasmeet Walia’s daily struggle to keep Gulmohur fashion house afloat, romantic moments with her boss Armaan Suri; Chashmish Chuhiya’s confrontations with Armaan’s fiancee Mallika Seth were far more entertaining than the other saas-bahu serials.

Jassi’s attachment to bebe (her grandmom), her relationship with Nandu, the next-door neighbour and best friend, and Jassi getting bullied by Pari in office were a laugh riot besides adding the human touch to her character.

Jassi aka Mona Singh impressed all in her spectacles, she seemed pretty too in her new look, but slowly the whole story became very unrealistic. As per my point of view its wasting time seeing the serial further after Jassi changed her look. Sometimes I feel how would it had been for Mona Singh to dress up like Jassi for two years, that would have been made her very dheela (sloppy). After the new look, she had to watch her body language and be more careful about the image she depicted.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Astitva...ek prem kahani

It's off air now. It was one of my faviorte serials. When it started, I missed some earlier episodes but I soon got a hold of it. The serial has given Niki Aneja's (was initially known as Madhuri Dixit look-a-like) career a new lease of life. She acted in few films but it was ignored. I never thought highly of her but after fitting so well in the character of Dr. Simran Mathur, she has changed my opinion of her. Abhimanyu (Varun Badola) is okay, i really liked him as Neeraj in Koshish but he
was as per the role.

The story revolves around Dr Simran who is a well established doctor but unmarried and daughter of an IAS officer (played by Alok Nath) if i am not wrong. She meets Abhimanyu, a photographer by profession and who is 10 years younger to her in her hospital where he had come to admit his sister Ananthi who is pregnant. He gets infatuated with her beauty and simplicity and tries to impress her. Both side parents are against their marriage but they somehow manage to get married against their parents' will with the help of Dr. Manas (Harsh Chaya). Then comes how the relation develops, the age gap between them, Simran is ready of child, Abhi is not and due to his immaturity he is attracted to a model of her age group Kiran. Then comes twist and turns, divorce, remarriage and all those things that make serial masala type. It got pretty long, took a 20 year leap, now story revolved around their daughters.

Lots of replacements for eg: Kiran, Rashmi (simran's sister) and bumping of those characters which were not needed took place in this serial (Ananthi, Simran's Mom, Rashmi's husband). But let me tell you this, the only reason why I watched this serial is bcoz of Niki Aneja.

It was a very realistic serial with no over acting, custome or dialogues, got a very good start, kept going fine but excess of everything is bad, it got bored in middle and then it was extending.

Friday, April 20, 2007

BIGG BOSS....a real drama

When everybody was tired of watching fake emotions, exaggerated drama, typical plots in the daily soaps, Bigg Boss, the Indian version of the internationally acclaimed show - Big Brother- was launched by Sony.
As per the plot, Bigg Boss ruled the life of 13 celebrities from different fields. He would get them to do things that you could never imagine and show you a side of them you have never seen before.
Bigg Boss built a house which housed 13 celebrities for three months. Cameras would capture each and every move of those celebrities and they did not have any privacy, except Of course, they had privacy in bathrooms. No source of communication with outside word, which means there was not any television, radio, music player, books, Internet, phones.
Arshad Warsi hosted the show with his good sense of humour. The thirteen celeberities were: Rahul Roy, Prem Kissen, Amit Sadh, Baba Sehgal, Deepak Tijori, Deepak Parashar, Bobby Darling, Rupali, Ragini, Carol, Kashmira Shah, Rakhi Sanwant, Aryan Vaid, Anupama Verma, Salil Ankola. Deepak Tijori and Baba Sehgal joined in between.
I was not very fond of the serial in the start, I did not watch many earlier episodes, but I started seeing it regularly after the first eviction of Rakhi Sanwant, it was different from daily soaps, quite refreshing. I should confess with a opinion that it was a show about C and D Grade celebrities. All those people whom the industry had forgotten or whose career was moving on a slow pace got a good jump from this serial.
I felt Rahul Roy as an insecure person, Ravi Kissen was like another Lalu Prasad, Rupali irritated when her job was just to cry on the show, I don’t know how she manages to be an actress in some comedy show. Rakhi was the comic element, most of the time she over reacted but I should say she is bold. There were some love stories in this serial, and one wonders what the camera did not show.
Finally, Rahul Roy won the prize money with his calm and composed nature that he showed. Big Boss had all the mirch masala which one can see and tolerate. You can see the girls gossiping but boys too are not exception here even they are far ahead of girls in this race.

Monday, April 16, 2007

An excellent serial of earlier: Khaandan

I was just reminscing of serials from an earlier age, when Doordarshan was the only channel available, and we used to wait for our favourite serials to appear on TV. In the current age of a massive number of family dramas and saas-bahu serials, and my favourite type (joke, I don't really like them), 2 mega-rich families colliding with each other, I remember a serial from an earlier age.
I am talking about a serial called Khaandan. It starred a number of characters such as Neena Gupta, Dr. Shreeram Lagoo, Mohan Bhandari, Jayant Kriplani, and so on. I wonder how many people remember this serial, but I was an avid watcher when it came. Of course, this must have been 20 years back now, and I have never seen a re-run of this serial, so the memory is a bit foggy.
I did a bit of searching as well, but never did find anything substantial, so will have to mostly depend on my memory for what I write. From what I remember, it was about big business, and about the ambitions and drive of the family members. The plot goes through various twists and turns, but then a tragedy strikes, and at a crunch time, Jayant Kriplani, who is the outside in family, supports them with the shares he has.
The plus point of this serial, besides the fact that it was probably the first one of its time, was the fact that you could see the serial moving with a decent speed (so much unlike today's serial, where anything will be done to extend the life of the serial). In addition, you could feel a sense of realism in terms of the inter-actions of the characters with each other, with all of them having their shades of grey, and not pure good or evil. And of course, the biggest plus point was that the serial, having become successful, moved to a point where you could see the serial terminate.
I wonder if anyone by any chance, has a set of CD's / VHS tapes / DVD's of this serial? I know a fair amount of people who would like to see this serial again.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

DD National : Losing its strong initial advantage

Doordarshan is a public broadcast television network run by Prasar Bharti. It began in Delhi in 1959. National programes were introduced in 1982. In the same year live telecast of Independence Day parade followed by Asian Games was shown.
With the cable and so many channels coming up, I just wonder whether people still watch Doordarshan because to be very true I don't. But I truly believe that some of the quality serials that are remembered till now were shown on DD National. I still remember those days (eightees era) when I was a kid and like every child I used to wait for the Sunday to come because all the good serials used to come starting with Rangoli (around 7:30 am if I am not wrong). I still remember my mother used to make 'pakodis' for breakfast on Sunday and everything was settled before 9 am because it was the time for mythological dramas like Ramayan (1987-1988) and Mahabharat (1988-1989). Every character fitted so well in these serials, the image that comes to me if I talk about Lord Krishana is Nitish Bhardwaj and Mukesh Khanna as Bhism Pitamah.
Now-a-days you can hear songs on any channel but at that time there were two famous hindi film songs based popular serials, Chitrahaar (how we would wait to see songs on this one) and Rangoli. Crime thrillers like Karamchand, Byomkesh Bakshi (my favourite detective serial till now) and Tahqekaat (lead role played by Vijay Anand) were some good and substantial thrillers. Though Karamchand has started again but I just don't find that kind of quality detective serials on any channel now.
Soaps like Humlog, Buniyad and Nukkad were very popular. I don't remember them but I still find people praising about them. I can't forget two romantic serials because I really liked them and I wish them to start again on any channel, Kashish (Sudesh Berry and Malvika Tiwari) and
Farmaan (Kawaljit and Deepika Deshpande). Both were romantic in nature, may be the age I was in when these serials started made me very fond of them. Shanti, the first daily soap started on Doordarshan on one 15th August and after that there was no end to daily soaps. Then came Swabhimaan, Itihaas. No end.
Now Doordarshan is often criticized for poor telecast and presentation quality, the media have regularly criticized the channel for telecasting too many ads in cricket matches often showing 5 of the 6 balls of an over. However, Doordarshan is still the only television provider for a number of people who don't have cable television. Those were interesting times, one of my other regular memories from that time is of fiddling with the antenna to ensure that reception is good.
I don't know about the present but some really good quality and my favourite serials came from Doordarshan.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Black and White aspects of TV artists...

Negative Shades of Women In Television Industry Growing At A Fast Rate...

If you see todays serials, you'll notice that most of them do not have males as the bad character, instead now the position has been replaced by females. Not surprising, after all women have left men behind in every aspect. Especially our K series serials like Kasautii Zindagi Kii, Kyuki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki offer such a bad picture of woman that people hate that character so much that if they come across those people, that hatred comes onto their faces especially the audiences in the age group of 40-50's and above.
These serials have made a extreme contrast between a heroine and a vamp. The heroine of the
serial will be so good, like a godess, i mean she is ready to take any sort of difficulties, will listen to every kind of scrap, will be very good with the people who have kind of destroyed her life. On the other hand, the vamp will be the worst human being on earth, she can go to any heights to destroy her enemy. A great deal of attention is now given to their costume and jewellery. The background score that announces their presence is also novel.

There was an interview with a TV actor who plays negative character, she says...
'People look forward to watching vamps in serials'. While playing a negative character one has to be quite particular about facial expressions and voice modulations. Presence of vamps adds spice to a serial. Moreover, with vamps bringing about interesting twists and turns in the serial people look forward to watching them.

Very true...I agree 100%.
But sometimes when I get a bit ethical I think that is bringing such a bad front of women on TV good? I agree that this thing sells but is it giving a right kind of image to the people? May be the audience of today is mature enough to appreciate good work rather than just the positive or negative shades of a particular character. This remains the overall question?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Virrudh - How long will it remain power-packed ?

VIRRUDH - conflict among relationships is what this serial emphasizes. This is the new serial that started recently on Sony at 9:30 P:M produced by none other than Tulsi aka Smriti Zubin Irani.
It is a sensitive, daily soap woven against the tapestry of a ruthless, manipulative corporate world. The story revolves around the life and dilemmas of Vasudha (played by Smriti Irani), a daughter who is blinded by her love for her father Dhirendra Raj Singhania (Vikram Gokhale), a power-hungry, manipulative business tycoon and also runs a newspaper called Dainik Darpan. She is torn between her father she worships, and the man she loves Sushant (Sushant Singh), a chief crime reporter of Dainik Darpan.
So what do I think, its just a guess how the story will move... What happens when a dutiful daughter discovers the truth about her father? Will she stand against the injustice done by her father or will she accept the attributes (attributes she hates) in her father to survive in the harsh world of politics and business?
So far so good, i am following the serial, right now watching it, every character is performing well and after a long time Smriti, Achint Kaur are playing characters in their own age group. I hope it remains so...and no twenty year transformation takes place. If the serial goes on endlessly then it will turn out to be a run-of-the-mill serial like other serials.
I wish All the Best to the serial. Hope it moves on fine and ends when it should rather then be forced into being a money-making dull serial.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Playing Dead, Playing Alive

In seconds, Dead = ALIVE and Alive = DEAD.

Ekta Kapoor serials have changed the definition of dead and alive. You cannot predict when a character in her serial who is happily married and leading a peaceful life comes to an end for no reason. No, actually I am wrong there are reasons...

May be they are having a cold war with Ekta Kapoor or Ekta kapoor needs to give a twist in her serial. Take for instance, in KYUKI SAAS BHI KABHI BAHU THI, Mihir was dead in an accident, Ekta kapoor thought that it would be a good turnover but audience were so much crazy about him especially girls that the TRPs of the show went low and no alternate left but to bring Mihir back, at that time played by Amar Upadhay. But after sometime his relations with Ekta Kapoor became tense and he was replaced by Ronit Roy. Same happened with Piyush character in KAHIN TO HOGA. Towards the end, in a new addition to the story, his mother's sister suddenly came into the picture, who had 2 sons, out of which one son was given to Piyush's mother (Piyush). So, since the Piyush character may have become friends with Ekta Kapoor again, he was brought back into the serial in the name of his brother.

Plastic Surgery is so common in these serials to change one's identity, to be true not only the face but their height, weight and even the voice changes and normally this is done when you have to change the person who is playing that character.

I have heard that plastic surgery is a very complicated process and a very delicate process too but it doesnt seem to be so when you watch these serials. Its such a easy process and not so costly also...

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Multiple Marriages Fashion Trend...

Some of the points of our serials that are often noticed yet ignored...

Marriages and Extramarital affairs of the main leads happen infinite times.

Take for instance if I am not wrong Ekta Kapoor's K serials Rishab Bajaj, Anurag Basu and Prerna of KASAUTI ZINDAGI KII have got so much experience in handling marriages that they can take up a part time job of a marriage counsellor in near future.

Mihir in KYUKI SAAS BHI KABHI BAHU THI was shown as a person of very high moral values initially but to bring a twist in the serial and in order to make the serial more juicy he was shown to have an extra marital affair with Mandira and not just the affair but his moral values dropped to such an extent that he actually had a child outside his marriage.

And how can one forget one of the amazing serials of Ekta kapoor which recently finally finally got pulled off, KAHIN TO HOGA. God forbid but I just cannot understand from where Kashish, the female lead can get so much strength of handling so many marriages.

But towards a serious note, Is it right to portray the religious concept of marriage in such a manner?
What affect will it have on the younger generation? Will they take marriage seriously or it will be like a time pass for them?
Do these kind of relationships represent our society?

These questions remain unanswered because the popularity of these serials have grown so much that they have become a integral part of the masses.

People crib yet watch them...

Enjoy Nautanki TV