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Agle Janam Mohe TV Naa Deejo

It is said that “time and tide wait for none” but in the world of Hindi TV soap operas, time not only waits for commercial breaks, it often repeats itself over and over again so that the leading ladies can get the slap right, that too in slow motion through multiple angles. These serials have been the butt of jokes since time immemorial, yet their clan continues to enjoy vast popularity mostly among bored housewives. I have never been unfortunate and *cough* imbecile *cough* enough to follow a TV soap religiously but that doesn’t mean I was spared the torture. Flipping through channels, during days of extreme emotional distress, I’d try to commit suicide by lingering on a channel airing “Agle Janam Lado Na Aana Iss Paraye Ghar Pardes” type opera. Somehow I survived to tell you the horrifying tales:

The Repetition
These serials treat us like morons. Take this scenario - an overdressed bride narrates an incident to a vamp wearing garish make-up. Now, an elderly lady comes, and asks what’s going on. To that, the vamp again goes about explaining the same lines bit by bit. Enter the tired paternal figure who happens to be curious too. Now it’s the elderly lady (Baa/ Dadi/ Kaki)’s turn to repeat the same dialogues line by line! It’s an intellectual onslaught on the audience’s sensibilities but somehow, the housewives not only watch it, they watch it with their pupils dilated. It’s as though they learn just that little bit more about the incident with each repetition. This to them is what “Inception” is to people who know better.

Recording Response
Every time something momentous happens on the show, the camera zooms to take everyone’s reactions. You can count the pimples on the face of the protagonist, watch the nose hair of the fatherly figure wiggle as he flares his nostrils, watch the botox enhanced vamp quiver with fear and basically the micro-expressions of every member of the annoyingly large family. Even the disinterested servant and the neighbour who has nothing to do with the scene get a 5 second zoom each. It’s like the director wants every actor to earn every paisa. One dialogue and then 5 minutes of recording everyone’s reaction; that’s how the serial moves to complete 500 episodes. They’re just warming up at this point. Try and get Google to tell you how many episodes Swabhimaan lasted.

The lines written may catch you off guard and make you puke if you’ve got even a semblance of intellect. With plots like those, I guess, you need dramatic dialogue but that is no excuse to resurrect the ghost of 1980s’ Bollywood. “Mujhe toh pehle se hi shaq tha...” “Karamjali, kulta...” “Kahan mu kaala kara ke aayi hai”, “Main tumhare bachche ki ma ban ne wali hoon”, “Kuchh aisa karo ki saanp bhi mar jaye aur lathi bhi na toote.”, “Ab nahi sahaa jaata”, “Bitiya toh paraya dhan hoti hai...” “Aaj tumne mujhe bata hi diya ki meri aukat kya hai..” “Tang aa gayi hoon roz roz ki khichkhich se” etc etc... Talk about cliché.  [Nb: For someone who doesn’t watch Hindi TV shows because they make him puke the writer sure does know a lot of lines!]

Cheap Tactics
The episode mostly ends with an appalled or stunned face upon seeing someone who just entered the room. The viewer is at the edge of his seat waiting for this moment because the whole week, the channel has been building up for this moment! But no, you have to wait another day. Not so easy – unravelling  these mysteries. Next episode of course is going to re-run the 5 minute sequence building up the mystery again and then end with the surprise character being some random actor with no relevance to the story line. A 3-4 minutes long exchange would ensue with no fruitful result and then the air starts building for next such “moment”.

Imagine this-

*Enter surprise character*
(Our character is all wide-eyed and stunned)
*One long commercial break later*

Our character - Arey dadaji aap?
Dadaji (surprise character) - Haan bahu, tum kuch pareshan nazar aa rahi ho?
Our character - Ji kuchh nahi... aap yahan kaise?
Dadaji - Main bas yunhi, nikal raha tha toh socha milta chalun... mujhe aise kyun lag raha hai ki tum kuchh pareshan ho..
Our character - Ji woh baat ye hai ke....

*Script goes into a coma*

There have also been entire half-hour episodes where all we get to see is one female walk out of the kitchen towards the couch in the living room.

Even the serials other than family dramas are cliched and repetitive. Don’t believe me? Watch CID, Aahat or any other serial that has run for more than 3 years tonight. If you survive, we shall talk tomorrow.



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