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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ek chabhi hain padose mein - middle class angst

This serial is a vastly under-rated serial. Appearing on Star Plus every Saturday at 10 PM, it is a weekly serial appearing once in the entire week, and very easy to miss. Only dedicated serial watchers or those who watch mostly Star Plus on a regular basis will actually catch this serial.
I consider this serial to be an inheritor of Nukkad, in the sense that this serial takes a middle class neighbourhood of a town called Colonelgunj and spins the serial around regular short-story like approaches. The characters in this story are getting more finely delineated, and you get to see characters being more finely defined. It is vastly different from the saas-bahu kind of serials.
I initially found this serial somewhat grating, especially with the focus on how a the neighbourhood takes an interest in what is going on in the house. The initial story was about a person coming from abroad to get his father and sell the house, and how the entire neighbourhood did not like this whole process. With a new generation in metros not very appreciative of neighbour poking their nose in their families, and with families becoming more nuclear, the concept of neighbourhood sharing is almost non-existent (in the large metros, and increasingly, in smaller cities).
Quite a lot of the people involved in the serial seem new, with the exception of Varun Badola (playing Sandeep, a character looked up and trusted by everybody). Other main character is Urmi who plays a girl deeply in love with Sandeep, but unable to take the courage to directly tell him about her feelings. This romance is implicit, but unstated, although her friends know about her feelings.
There are a fair number of other characters, but one set of characters who remain the focus of every episode is the set of 4 boys, essentially good for nothings. They play the whole day and roam around the neighbourhood, not bad characters, but the despair of their parents because they do not seem to be capable of making a mark for themselves.
Some of the plots covered in this serial so far show the serial to be sensitive, such as the old lady wanting to give her secondary exams (that she never gave) and how her son and husband were not encouraging, about the Muslim girl who gets picked for an audition, but somehow does not have the talent to clear the audition, and so on. All seemingly middle-aged characters. In the end, it would seem to me that this serial has the potential to continue for a fair amount of time, but somehow the spark is missing that would make this serial a super-hit.

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