Indian Television

22 Jun

I always thought that a sitcom and a soap are different names for the same thing. A bit of ‘research’ (Google) made me understand the difference, which according to me is subtle. As far as I understood from wikipedia, Sitcom is necessarily comedy and soap could be other genres as well.

Here is the definition –
A television situation comedy, often shortened to
sitcom, is a genre of comedy that features recurring characters in a common environment such as a home or workplace.
Indian soap operas are
soap operas written, produced, filmed in India, episodes broadcast on a daily/weekly/semi-weekly basis on Indian television channels and are not often limited to the Republic of India itself. Commonly they are known as “serials”.

So on the basis of above understanding the SAB tv prime times seem to fall under the category of sitcoms and STAR plus, ZEE , Sony etc fall under soaps. This of course is a broad classification.

Now the question that bothers me everytime I watch TV is that ‘Why do I prefer watching STAR World to STAR plus?’ Despite all the proud feelings i have about being an Indian, why cant I watch ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’ if  ‘Scrubs’ is running at the same time (9.30 pm) even though for a really really long time I did not know that the title refers to a clothing worn by medical staff while I clearly know the meaning of all the 5 words that make up the name of hamara Indian serial? And the worst part, I prefer watching a re-run of scrubs rather than a fresh episode of Yeh Rishta..

The key word we are looking for is “realistic”. Yes.

  1. No one goes to sleep with 10 layers of makeup and pallu on the head.
  2. Neither does anyone wakeup with lipstick and kajal perfectly in place and still be asked to ‘get ready’.
  3. The villions in real life can not be distinguished with the devilish make up and clothes and unfortunately they dont have a background music playing behind them.
  4. No one lurks around every corner of my house eavesdropping on the secret talks.
  5. Heck I dont even have any secrets.
  6. I have never been lucky enough to mess up every single thing I have been ever asked to do and  still in the end everything turns out well. Sab theek Nai ho jata hai.
  7. The jokes that make us laugh aren’t so poorly poor.

Enough has been said about the Ekta Kapoor serials so i would not talk about them. Infact I believe that the woman has clearly identified her target audience and is delivering to them. Though she has already crossed the peak but still there is loyal viewership. Right now I can not quote the names of any Ekta Kapoor serials as the ones that are in news these days are from other production houses. To break away from stereo types she even tried Mahabharat, Horror show and a couple of movies. But most of the things bummed. So what is the harm in sticking to a tried and tested formula that works everytime. Losing a lot of money is definitely no fun. The only problem is, we do not happen to be the target audience. So its upto us to look for alternatives rather than making fun of her.

My bigger problem is with serials that give a false hope of ‘being different’. For example the lot on the channel Colours seemed to be genuinely different but most of them have fallen on the same old storyline. Conniving in-laws and helpless, kind, taken advantage of protagonist. I mean honestly who on earth is a saint like Iccha?! I remember being keen to see soaps dealing with ‘problems’ like Child marriage (Balika Vadhu), obsession with fairness (Bidaai), female infanticide (Laado) and a couple of other embarrassing ones. Actually, yes. It is kind of embarrassing to tell people that you watch These serials. This is something to be done at home but not to be talked about! All of the above mentioned serials started out well but have now fallen flat on the same track. The production keeps on giving twists and turns but its literally irritating for to watch the same dialogues being mouthed on every show with the same tears and gaudy sarees. The best part is you can follow the serial just by watching the promos! As it is in a 30min schedule, 15-20min is advertisements. Which by the way shows just how popular these programmes are.

Sadly for us even SAB TV has been shot with a PJ gun. Honestly what is up with all the gujratiness?? It used to be funny. 8 years ago. And is it too much to ask for a ‘real’ funny series. Something we laugh with and not laugh at.

Now this being our dose of sitcoms, why does it have to be so forced? I used to like FIR with the haryanvi female police inspector and her sidekicks, Office-Office was also good. Even Tarak Mehta was laughable but why does it all have to be past tense? Why isn’t anything good running Right Now in vacations?!

If you happen to read newspaper interviews of any TV stars or even movie stars, they defiantly rattle out a list of fav shows on TV which is almost always Friends, Simpsons etc. How come they don’t watch what they work in? What you don’t like seeing yourself on screen?! Weird!

And invariably they express a desire to be given a chance to work on something similar on Indian Television. I am so sure that money is not a problem and even audience is ready. So then why not??

While writing all this I just realized that Sanjeevni is apparently the Indian version of Scrubs!!! Is it?? What is it called these days in season 2…Dil Mil Gaye??

Having romantic relationship at work is perfectly believable but then where on earth do I find a hospital where doctors are covered in tattoos and come to work with the top 4 buttons of the shirt open?? And where are all those female doctors in the ‘designer’ suits, high heels and perfect hair? Do these people ever work? Oh yeah I remember seeing some one in a green mask….

Everyone seems to be dating everyone. All of them have huge secrets to protect and they are more than often drunk dancing to latest bollywood numbers.

Nice fun huh. I wish I was a doctor too.

One show that I really really really liked was “Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai”. I would love to know why did they discontinue it and put those brilliant people out of work. Poor Rosesh is doing something called ‘Mr and Mrs Sharma Allahbad wale’ and I saw Monisha last in Desi Fear Factor. The whole setting was so believable. Now again some people would say that people like those do not exist but for me that much is excusable! Like I visualized Harry Potter and it felt like its possible. This was definitely much more closer than that. If nothing else, can we atleast have the repeats of Sarabhai?? You think there would be a torrent??

Which brings me to another question….why do we not have torrents of Indian Serials?? Simple I guess..its hard enough to watch them once. And they never end.

So which one do you love to hate?

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5 Responses to “Indian Television”

  1. Vishal July 11, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    Try watching Sajan Re Juth Mat Bolo. Its a comedy, you will surely like it. It has Sumeet Raghvan from Sarabhai vs sarabhai in it. Look at the timing, different accents it is a hillarious show. And u can also visualise the soaps as sitcoms and u wld laugh out loud.

    • chilicheesetoast July 12, 2010 at 12:38 am #

      i have tried watching. dint like it so much. i prefer all those dance shows…

      • Devil's Advocate July 14, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

        Dance shows — you mean gymnastics in crazy costumes? LOL. But yes, they are better than the usual fare of a holier than thou and ultimate sacrificing lead character, a helpless parent or two, a villanious and conniving sibling/family member, someone with a village background, unexpected pregnany, hyped rituals that most don’t even practice, etc. mixed in a hodge-podge of situations that just drag on. For crying out loud, Zee TV seems to have only one set — it’s the same house no matter which show you are watching. Aaargghhhh!!!!!

  2. chilicheesetoast June 23, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    tarak mehta is kind of boring these days..and i wish these production houses would spend money on real brains like us :)

  3. Mayank June 22, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    The biggest problem with Indian daily soaps is that even if people try to make it on some sensible subject …..they drag it for years n years n years n years……the same thing goes on again n again n again……in every serial.
    I can watch sitcoms on star world for hours…..n not get bored(but i dont get star world at my home…my bad luck) and yes sarabhai vs sarabhai was the best sitcom that we HAD!!!!!
    I feel Tarak mehta is only serial u can watch for a little laugh n timepass.

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