Recently at an awkward family dinner I realized that I never quite watched a Hindi serial, barring one. The one that I did watch can not really be bracketed with the ones I am referring to here. So, I assume that my rejection was left unnoticed largely because most people around me never watched it either and consequently a conversation on the subject had never really taken place, unlike most of the American sitcoms. Hence I, in an attempt to ‘give it a shot’, wore my adventurous pajamas (yes, they are a thing) and tried to watch the first thing on any channel which I usually wouldn’t dare to watch. I have a way of functioning when it comes to watching a TV show. I watch one or two episodes in one go and then I wait. If the next day I want to watch the same show, I generally finish the season in less than a week. I sound creepy, and maybe I am little bit of it, but the truth is that sometimes I am a bit of sitcom junkie.
In any case, I stopped at some TV show that Tata Sky insisted was called Saraswatichandra (not even kidding) and hence I sat hoping the universe had a plan for me; I’ll just say, it didn’t The show was awfully slow and revolved around some dude and his eternal love for some woman who cried a lot and ran from one place to another for no reason deemed fit for a sane human being. The dialogues were terrible and to my horror (and misfortune) repetitive. There was a loud make up vamp,( the mother of the protagonist, I’m assuming) who has a sound effect dedicated to her and she walked around looking inside the camera making evil plans and being a conniving, nasty piece of work. Yeah, that is ALL she did. To make things worse, she wasn’t particularly good at doing just that, either. In fact, no one really convinced me as an actor. I, sadly, supposed that it was that specific show that was so painful, so I gave Indian TV another shot and watched Bade Ache Lagte Hain (is it just me, or ew?). The same story went down here too. One episode of each and I was able to surf though most channels knowing exactly what was going on because they are all the same. Therefore, I gave up.
I was disappointed, to say the very least. Why are we so stuck up on the same story-line without any form of originality (or editing)? I don’t mean to sound like a victim of the US’ soft power, but I actually like their shows! A gay man plays a womanizer and he is so good at it, you can’t help but Google several times to make sure you have the right information. I’m not saying they don’t have trash there, they do (read: Jersey Shore), but what I am asking is when is India going to have a show that appeals to people with its plot and/or acting? We’re missing on a wide variety of fiction genre on television and I doubt that can be denied.
Luckily, the films have fared better in this aspect in recent times. I loved how in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara Katrina Kaif plays a regular woman who kisses a man without the rain and a chiffon sari, exercising the free will even God decided to not meddle with. She hugs her friends, her boyfriend’s friends and flirts with people as a joke over drinks. I was relieved to see that I could see her and believe she was real. If nothing, that was a very well written female character that contemporary Hindi cinema seemed to accept.
I can’t stress enough on the (ill?) treatment of woman characters on TV, now that we’re at it. Why do only two extreme roles assigned to women exist on the small screen of either the home wrecker or the home-maker? What about careers, and getting an education and ambition? Why do all of them have to eventually become sari clad, feet touching ‘good wives’ to a bunch of not very good looking men? Is that the signal we are giving out to the society? If yes, are we okay with it?
I don’t really have much to say other than a prayer for the minds of those addicted to what I will safely call the Idiot Box. A revolution of sorts, lesser episodes for more creative space, or just shutting the whole damn tedious/repetitive/dull drama down altogether- I BEG THE GODS FOR ANYTHING BUT THIS. I am sincerely waiting to get addicted to Indian Television!
P.S- Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai, I miss you.