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Thursday, January 31, 2008

What is happening in Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki

Seems like old times. There are so many relations that things are complex. Parvati respects a step-son called Ashu, who is now a policeman (although she has no contact with his father Suyesh Mehra). Ashu in turn is in love with a lady Shivangi who in turn is the daughter of her husband OM (or rather a step-daughter of the time when he was married by fraud to another lady). These relations are difficult to grasp, and only if you are a regular follower then you can understand.
The other major character in the story is Sasha (from old time) who is now back and wants to get revenge on the Agarwal household, but who is terrified of the abilities of Parvati to win in the end. He has the support of Chotu, who was supposed to have undergone a great trauma and hence his mind had become that of a small child. He is another relative, of Mayuri (but one loses the thread of these relationships after some time). But since everything has to get reversed, even this situation turns upside down when it is revealed that Chotu is actually a former don called Ishar Nanda, and is faking this whole thing since he is in cahoots with Sasha and wants to get revenge.
He incidentally is madly in love with Shivanngi since she was the one who was earlier having an affair with him, but who actually wanted to get him arrested. He managed to escape, until he was taken in by the Agarwals. Now Paravati, Shvangi and Ashu all know the truth about Chotu, but are unwilling to tell the others (maybe they don't trust the remaining family members). And of course, to give the story some twist, in a moronic move, Om and the family elders sign the property over to Chotu (who in a sensible family would turn the property over to a person who is not of sound mind ?).
I really doubt whether the serial could get more complex, but it must be hard to keep on writing more episodes of such long running serials and still manage to make sense.

Hindi serial wives and their devotion to their husbands

One fact has always puzzled me about the way that Hindi serials present the devoted wife. She is the one who will do what she can do to protect her husband and his family, will suffer all kinds of indignities and torture, but will keep on struggling until she manages to make things right. Sometimes it may take years, but she will do thing right, for example, you have Tulsi of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Parvati of Ghar Ghar KI Kahani, Kumkum, Praachi of Kayamath, Saloni of Saath Phere, the list is endless.
This is epitomized as the ideal of what the Indian woman should be like. In addition to the fact that this is a highly regressive image that many men would expect their wives to be like; there is another big flaw in this whole concept. If the wife is shown to be devoted and ready to sacrifice all, somehow she is ending up not telling her husband the truth. Implicit in this argument about saving the family and the situation is the fact that they don't tell the husband about the whole situation and end up in a case where the husband may in fact not believe them.
Also not telling the husband could be implied that either they do not consider the husband as being able to help out, or not able to handle the situation, or even otherwise not believe her. A mighty amount of trust they show towards their husbands.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sapna Babul Ka Vidai

Sometimes you get serials that promise to be real tear-jerker. Alok Nath runs a family comprising of his wife played by Vibha Chibber (the assistant coach in movie Chak de India), his daughter Ragini (played by Parul Chauhan), and her cousin Sadhana (Sara Khan). The serial bears an uncanny resemblance to the start of the movie Vivah, although things could change later.
The serial comes on Star Plus weekdays (Monday - Thursday) at 9 PM for 30 minutes. The show seems a bit regressive, given that it currently seems to focus on parents desiring only one thing out of their daughters, that is. to get them married. In addition, there is a lot of focus on the emphasis of complexion on the ability to get married, and how groom's side can actually refuse to get their boy married just on the basis of complexion.
Ragini is in the queue to get married, but her cousin Sadhana is fair compared to the darker complexion of Ragini. To this end, Ragini's mother wants to prevent Sadhana from ever being seen when boys are seeing Ragini, or anywhere during the pre-marriage and marriage occasions (imagine depriving a cousin of the chance of taking part in the marriage festivities). And typically for a serial of this type, Sadhana is forced to emerge when the marriage of Ragini is happening at which stage, the groom's mother wants to swap the beautiful Sadhana for Ragini as the bride (imagine selecting a girl just based on complexion !). At this point thankfully, Alok Nath stands firm; although why they could not call the police when the groom's family demanded money was beyond me.
Similar to Saath Phere, this type of gender type-casting and regressive customs shown make one cringe, and certainly does not lead to any positive effect on society.

'K for Kishore' - A musical reality show dedicated to a legend

There have been numerous reality shows dedicated to music on all the major Hindi channels, almost as if it is necessary for all these channels to have a major musical contest. Typically, the format of most of these shows is all about people trying to impress the judges with their singing capabilities, and get wide-spread audience participation, since that also helps the TV channel earn a lot of money from the huge number of SMS targeted at the show.
Sony has had its own Indian idol, and has now come out with another musical contest, and this is slightly different. Indians of all ages have listened to the music of Kishore Kumar with great pleasure, and it is the songs sung by Kishore Kumar that form the basis of this new show called 'K for Kishore'. The show appears on Friday and Saturday on 9 PM; it started on 21st December 2007, and will continue for 10 weeks. There are a total of 12 participants and they will slowly start getting eliminated, with the winner getting to make a music album.
The show is hosted by the singer Babul Supriyo and TV actess Rajeshwari Sachdev; the judges being all experienced people, Bappi Lahiri, Sudesh Bhonsle, and Kishore Kumar's son Amit Kumar. In addition to this, there are celebrities invited on the show, with some of them being Leena Chandravarkar (Kishore's widow), Asha Parekh, etc. The participants are divided into 2 teams:

Baangru Team

Chetan Rana
Saurabh Ghosh
Nayan Rathod
Chintan Bakiwala
Suhas Sawant
Kshitij Wagh

Jhumroo Team

Vinod Seshadri
Sameer Memon
Arnab Chakraborty
Harsh Vyas (Eliminated on January 05, 2008)
Pramod Rampal (Eliminated on December 29, 2007)

See a video of one of the contestants singing a great song 'O Mere Dil Ke Chain'

In addition, watch more videos on Youtube.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Another comedy show - Champion Chaalbaaz No 1

In the last couple of years, comedy based shows have made a name for themselves, something that a lot of people would never have expected when reality shows starting popping up, based on singing and dancing. But shows such as Laughter Challenge and Comedy Circus have moved comedy onto a much higher plane, giving channels the enthusiam to launch comedy serials. And Sony has introduced a new one, taking comedy, but mixing it with the type where pranks are played. The serial is called Champion Chaalbaaz No 1, and it started on Sony on December 22nd, with the weekly show being every Saturday at 10 PM.
The show is a reality show where 33 participants will take part in 17 weeks of the show, the aim being to play pranks, including on unsuspecting people. So, for example, there was a case of one of the participants acting as a crazy waiter serving a group of young men, and he was lucky to get off with a slap. There will also be a celebrity prank, where a prank will be played on a celebrity.
The judges for the show are Cyrus Broacha and Sajid Khan, with a forever giggling Mona Singh being the host of the show. The audience will also be able to judge the contestants.
The show can quickly get out of hand, and in one episode I saw a situation where the prank could turn real serious. The idea is to take an unwary person, out for some fun, as he is firing on balloons in a stall, and the participant pretends to be hit. The situation quickly turned serious, with the people affected being emotional at times. At such times, if they get roughed up by a mob, or if they were asthma patients or the like, then things could get out of hand very quickly. The judges pointed this out, terming it cruelty, but Mona Singh refused to acknowledge the seriousness, and eventually the judges gave it up.

Watch videos of Champion Chaalbaaz on YouTube.

Doordarshan Nostalgia: Hum Log (1984)

Hum Log was the show that started it all, the craze for serials. Doordarshan was the only channel in India, and people were slowly moving towards the concept of watching television for entertainment. And it was Hum Log that started it all. Starting on July 7, 1984, the show became widely popular. Written by the famous writer Manohar Shyam Joshi (who also wrote Buniyaad), the serial took the life of a family who could be any other family, a family that a large number of people could identify with.
The serial could seem a bit boring to kids, but was very engrossing to adults. It was also different in the sense that till then, most serials had to end in 13 episodes, and Hum Log was the first one that went way beyond 13 episodes.
The serial also had a very popular actor, Dada muni Ashok Kumar who would appear at the end of the episode and summarize the serial as well as give a brief speech. He became extremely popular, and received a large number of letters on a daily basis. And the irony was that he was supposed to do this only for the first 10 episodes or so, but the success made this happen for the length of the serial.
The story of Hum Log revolved around the everyday life of a north Indian lower middle class family, with each episode focusing on the triumphs and tribulations of one or more of the central cast members. The serial took everyday conflicts and tensions in relationships between parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, siblings and cousins as the basis of each story, and also incorporated a fair amount of elements such as nationalist issues and patriotic pride, family planning, gender relations and communal harmony. All these also became central to the definition of Hum Log as the story of an 'Indian' family.
The following were the main characters of the serial:
* Basesar Ram: was the father and was an alcoholic. Played by Vinod Nagpal
* Bhagwanti: The mother was a housewife and used to sleep in her kitchen itself. Played by Jayshri Arora who was also seen later in Chandrakanta.
* Lallu (Lalit Prasad): The eldest son, unemployed and looking for a job. Played by Rajesh Puri
* Nanhe: The younger son. Played by Abhinav Chaturvedi
* Badki: The eldest daughter, Played by Seema Bhargava
* Majhli: The second daughter, Played by Divya Seth
* Chutki: The youngest daughter. Played by Loveleen Mishra
* Dadaji: Retired teacher and the grandfather, Played by Lahiri singh
* Dadi: Grandmother, played by Sushma Seth

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Jhoom India on Sahara One

There are many a reality shows that have been seen on the various Indian TV channels by now, with the list being something like Indian Idol, Sa Re Ga Ma, Voice of India, Nach Baliye, Jhalak Dikhla Ja, Little Champs, Big Boss, and so on (you name the concept, and there is a show on that). Sahara One came out with its version, called Jhoom India. The concept being: teaming up a singer or a music composer with a well know artist. Hence, you have the following combinations.
* vinod rathod and roshni chopra,
* jatin pandit and chhavi mittal,
* akriti kakar and varun badola,
* vaishali samant and sharad kelkar,
* parthiv gohil and apara Mehta,
* madhushree and sachin tyagi,
* sunjeevni and shekhar suman,
* sudesh bhosle and mrinal kulkarni,
* jolly mukherjee and shama sikander,
* suresh wadkarr and shweta tiwari

As with the other reality shows, this show also has its fair amount of controversy, when in an episode, one of the judges Mahesh Bhatt walked out when one of the participants was rude to another judge Shabana Azmi. The third judge is Anandii of Kalyanji-Anandji fame.

You an get a recap of earlier episodes at this link.

At this point, there are a total of 3 jodis left:
1. Roshni Chopra - Vinod Rathod
2. Sachin Tyagi – Madhushree
3. Varun Badola - Akriti Kakar

The show appears on Sahara One on Friday and Saturday at 9 PM.

You can also watch some videos of Jhoom India on Youtube.

Enjoy Nautanki TV