Entertainment
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Soap for you?

My mom and dad watch Hindi soaps with gusto. Every evening, back home, I watch with complete fascination as they coordinate their work so that they can tune in to their favourite serials.

I was out once, and I asked my dad to pick me up at about 9 pm. Can you make it 8.45 instead? There’s Jassi/Astitva (or something like that) today, he tells me.

I am impressed. My mom and dad (who disagree on most things!) come together to watch soaps in the evenings. And not only that, if my mom has to run a quick errand, my dad fills her up on what she’s lost during the ad break.

Do watch any of these serials, my mom enquires one day.

I look up guiltily, like she is asking me if I’d completed my homework.

Uh, no, I reply, I don’t have cable.

She’s distressed. You should watch some of these family dramas, she advises me. They’re based on what happens in real life, you know. I make some non-committal noise.

Actually, you have to watch it from the beginning, says my dad and he goes to explain the Astitva story. A (man) was married to B (woman). A is younger than B and therefore problems crop up. A and B separate. A now lives with girlfriend but cannot forget B. And B is also in another relationship. But cannot forget A. Is this a classic problem or what?

Last night, at my hotel, I decided to experiment with Hindi soaps since they were showing some awful movies on the other channels (somebody save me from Rambo). I turned to Sony. There was a serial called Kahani Terri Merri going on.

The story for yesterday’s episode was that the bahu (daughter-in-law) wanted to go do a naukri (job). Hubby supports her. Saas (mother-in-law) makes big eyes and threats. So there is this whole ensuing drama about bahu saying I will not work against saas’s wishes, husband telling her she should have a mind of her own, and saas looking angry and generally refusing to eat food.

And that was what the whole episode centred around. A whole half hour. Hmm. The bahu went about looking like she was making life’s greatest sacrifice, hubby looking distraught and saas looking angry and teary-eyed. Uh huh.

The episode is also marked by:
Incredible use of slow motion: Every time there is a dramatic moment, hands, heads and everything move in slo-mo. The music rises to a crescendo and then comes back to normal in sync.

Excessive use of kajol: One of the women uses kajol not only on her eyes, but a significant area around it, giving a new meaning to the word, doe-eyed. I am fascinated.

Display of tons of gold jewellery: I don’t even dress for weddings the way these characters dress when cooking rice and sabji. They would probably use me as a table stump or some such supporting accessory if I accidentally strayed into their sets.

Flexible use of eyebrows: One woman moved them so much, I think she should enter the Eye Movement Olympiad or create one just so she can win. I was transfixed as they wiggled up and down. I could probably have spent a whole evening just watching her eye moves.

Kilograms of sindoor: Now, I know everything is exaggerated on screen, but the amount of sindoor on the saas’s forehead was incredible. I swear, she could have painted the Great Wall of China with the stuff she had on her head. I am convinced the make-up people go to a special school which teaches the art of making women look like overdressed cows.

All said and done, I admire Ekta Kapoor for stumbling across the ‘formula’ that’s making her laugh all the way to the bank while thousands of men and women huddle around television sets wondering whether A and B will eventually get together again…

Ma, I think I’ll pass this one.

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8 Comments

  1. tht is so true. My Mom pop watch to my utmost horror and dismay the senseless soaps in tamil and other languages. My mom too gives the same explanation…all such things happen in real life u see. hahahahah, laughed my heart out. BUT Astitva is a good one, sensible stuff to hit Indian tv in a long time.

  2. tht is so true. My Mom pop watch to my utmost horror and dismay the senseless soaps in tamil and other languages. My mom too gives the same explanation…all such things happen in real life u see. hahahahah, laughed my heart out. BUT Astitva is a good one, sensible stuff to hit Indian tv in a long time.

  3. I know what you mean… My new professor wrote quite a few episodes of the Balaji serials around 3-4 years ago before they caught on. He said he did it for the money- he was a naive 19-year-old then! He really loathes them now.

    But Ektaa will stop making them when people stop watching them. Simple.

  4. Hey! I sometimes watch these soaps.. excellent break from exams… laughter is really the best medicine!

  5. Like Astitva because of the story though its not popular back in assam. they prefer watching kasauti zindagi… eeesh.. ok Ms kapoor gives me the creeps… thats why I like Astitva, It is kinda different, the way they are handling the story… hmmm and maybe they are dragging it a little now. the pace was good before…

    rest for me : zee english zindabad!!

    Am still reeling from Liquer de passion and kal ho na ho !! BLURP !!

  6. Shobha: Maybe as we get older we’ll appreciate it more 🙂 And tell our kids!

    Rohini: The thing is, people seem to love them. There must be someone in every family who watches these serials. And the problem is that they’ve spawned a whole lot of similar kind of serials.

    Anand: The thing is, they aren’t even funny!

    Pallavi: Astitva seems to be quite a favourite. You must be upset about missing it last night 😉 Ah, the liquer de passion – don’t remind me!

  7. im very happy with pyar ka ghar the finish story was very bad malnl should not died so easy rimijim stroy should bien more happy

  8. chetan says

    hey dudes nd dudettes can u pls send me the title song of kahani teri meri serial, or els tel me from wer i can get it

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