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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Themes yet unexplored by Hindi Serials...

Till recently Hindi serials had been under the strangle hold of the formulaic “Saas-Bahu” serials with its high pitched drama, forever sacrificing heavily bejewelled women and settings that were far removed from reality. Just as viewers had had enough, a sort of coup happened that changed the face of Hindi serials. A few new channels, some bold production houses and producers and some very good writers ushered in the new phase of Hindi serials. As stories and content became more issue-based, there was virtual explosion of new themes that tried to capture a slice of the real life. Shows like Balika Vadhu, Na Ana Is Des Mere Laado, Uttaran, Bidaai, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai slowly set the new grammar for Hindi serials.

Like all good things spark off a herd mentality, this trend too did the same across channels. Thus the new benchmarks of good television shows began to spawn off pale imitations that tried to imitate the success stories without quite getting the tone right. In fact it is time that some well meaning individual should take it upon herself/himself to point out the themes that have been unexplored by serials. Here are a few themes that come to mind immediately.

• Anandi-Jagiya but with a difference- The strong teen school going teenage population of India is yet to have a show that caters to them exclusively. The genre of teen-centered shows remains largely unexplored in films as well as television. Thus a serial that can speak their ‘lingo’, talk about the issues that bother them and that they have to face as part of everyday life (like exam related stress, competition, dating, drugs, consumerism) will surely be a hit with this segment. It will also appeal to the older audience as it can help them to understand their kids better.

• New-age families-Urban India has become a hotbed of relations that have so far been on the margin-the live in couple, the single parent, the step-parent, the single and not interested in dating individual, the single working woman unit-all of it will surely make for interesting themes.

• The Plain Jane/Average Joe Story- where the individual has nothing remarkable about himself/herself, not even a heart of gold. The journey that every common, regular human being undertakes without having to resort to a makeover or a miraculous turn of fortune can be an interesting story to narrate.

• The story of a neighborhood/mohalla/nukkad- where no one family gets to dominate proceedings and the story is populated with small families, individual characters and the interaction that they have with each other and the outer world.

• Karamchand Revisited- where the detective genre is treated with respect and dignity and not made out to be a farce. Stories can deal with crimes that are unique and common to modern India. And of course a very enigmatic detective figure has to be the lead.

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