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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Diverse settings help to bring in spice and character to serials

As the popularity and mass appeal of Hindi serials keep growing through the length and breadth of the country, there is a marked attempt by the makers of shows to depict different regions of India and its distinctness via these programmes. Thus we see that not only significant characters but entire settings are now being determined and shaped around regional flavours. Right from the architectural style most common to a particular area, to eating habits, dialect, fashion, sense of style-in short everything that is peculiar to a certain region is being reflected through Hindi serials.

The very first example that comes to mind is Colors’ Bhagyavidhata. Set in semi urban Bihar, the entire look and feel of the serial has been designed keeping in mind the region it is portraying. Thus from the dialogues that the actors are mouthing, to their sense of style, the rituals being observed, in fact right down to the colour of the vermilion being used-everything gives you a feel of the state. The elaborate and in-depth celebration of “Chchat” witnessed in this serial must have been a first for television. Such detailing not only helps to add to the drama behind the story but also helps to build regional awareness and tolerance.

Zee TV’s 12/24 Karol Bagh helps to capture the essence of a very niche area of Delhi-one that is known for its entrepreneurial spirit and its ostentations. The dilemmas and situations faced by the characters of the serial are intrinsic and characteristic of the area it is set in.

Pavitra Rishta talks of a social milieu that is typical of Mumbai-the ‘chawls’. It depicts middle class Maharashtrian families and stays true to the setting of the story. The values and morals eschewed and upheld by the lead characters are those that you normally associate with “Maharashtrians”- polite, hard working, proud of their customs and traditions and passionate. Sabki Laadli Bebo on the other hand depicts life in a Punjabi household. Right from the large hearted characters, to their colourful attire, their irrepressible joie die vivre, and their customs and traditions-all of it is beautifully captured in this serial.

Recently there has also been a trend to set shows in the smaller cities and towns of India. Thus while Bidaai is set in Agra, Laagi Tuhse Lagan is set in Lucknow, Jyoti is set in Udaipur and Do Hanso Ka Joda in Vrindavan. This move away from using Mumbai or Delhi as the given setting of a prime time show is indeed not only reflective of the widening popularity of Hindi serials but also Hindi serials’ way of acknowledging the support of their real fan base; the fan base that is not just restricted to Metropolitan cities only.

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