Kyon ki aadmi bhi kabhi bandar tha….

‘Main tumhare bachche ki maa banne wali hu’

‘…..fir hum uske jahidat ke mallik ban jayenge’

‘Bahu – Yeh lo ghar ki tijori ki chawi’

Sounds familiar? Yes – Clichés from Indian soaps (well….actually any genre of video media). The iconic aphorisms created by the immensely talented writers/screenwriters/producers/spot boys who caused a revolution in our drawing rooms. These gifted scribblers discovered an inexhaustible source of permutations and combinations from the mistress-illegitimate child-amnesia-rape-death-rebirth -amnesia-vamp-seduction-amnesia warehouse. These penny for a page auteurs invented cheap plots, cheaper productions and cheapest camera tricks which would put the makers of Zee Horror Show to shame. They fathered ‘The Great Indian Soap Opera’- that dominates the prime time entertainment today (except maybe for the tearfests they call the talent shows).

Now, one cannot blame them for copying the Mexican, American or even Srilankan soaps. They never planned to reinvent the wheel, did they? They were simply ‘inspired’ by All My Children (an American daily soap which is still running from 1970). They thought that Santa Barbara is like any Ghar Ki kahani. They tapped on Ugly Betty and made her the ugly beti (Jassi Jasi koi…) – another one inspired from the Columbian soap Betty la fea.

Why am I writing this? Well- I’m a huge fan of western TV shows. Not the soaps, mind you. Entourage, True Blood, Arrested development, Six Feet Under, Scrubs,Coupling, Yes Minister, Dexter, Californication, Burn Notice are only a few of the shows that I follow. And every time I finish watching an episode I mentally recite the ‘what if this could happen in India’ prayer. It used to-once upon a time. Indian television has seen better days than today. It was never the reign of these prevailing orgies of bahus and their presumably badass saases.

Good ol’ doordarshan had shows like Circus, Malgudi Days, Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne, Nukkad, Dekh Bhai Dekh. These shows had a more creative appeal to them. They churned out a lot of talent in the form of directors- Saeed Mirza or Anurag Kashyap are prime examples of film makers who started with TV. But these shows were not soap operas. They were more real. They didn’t have the men eating dinners in three piece suits or the women dressed for Diwali while sipping the morning tea. I could identify with these shows.

A look at the TV guide today, was a real treat. These writers have brought the hyphen ‘-’ in the TV shows. A few years ago these used to adorn the films like Daag-The Fire or Dushman-The Enemy. The scribblers are now showing off their prowess over punctuation by creating names like-
Aathvaan Vachan….Saath Vachano Se Badhkar, Ek Safar Aisa…Kabhi Socha Na Tha, Jeevan Saathi-Hum Safar Zindagi Ke, Balika Vadhu-Kacchi Umar Ke Pakke Raste or Agle Janam Mohe Betiya Hi Kijo (wtf !)


As a part of my ‘research’ for writing this hate blog I managed to sit through a show for an entire minute. After that I couldn’t. I physically couldn’t. I actually felt like throwing up. The scene which was thrown at me was supposed to tell me how a particular phone call was attended in the house by someone who was not supposed to. The character who unwittingly attends the call becomes aware of an evil scheme. After the call ends the actor all of a sudden starts talking to himself. Now don’t get me wrong here- soliloquy is a method of acting used by Shakespearean actors, but no- this guy starts walking into the camera as if he’s angry at the spot boy behind the camera and then continues to talk at the wall behind the camera! He then makes a face as if he stepped on his own or someone else’s morning glory. What the hell man! Who does that!?! Do you talk over your shoulder to your father or mother? Does your family stand in a line in the drawing room while talking? Do you sweat every time you hear something you don’t want to?

The thing is-they conceived it to entertain an audience that doesn’t mind if it is treated as morons. Giving the audience the credit for its intelligence (or the lack of) is bad for business. Ekta Kapoor, the fairy godmother for bad actors-who have a penchant for bad acting, does this in a rather emphatic fashion. And these actors have their faces stapled to my newspaper copy telling me how a certain soap actor invokes pain in a scene by recalling how he broke his wrist when he was three.

I hear one of the cable networks is giving Hi-Def service. What the hell will you watch in HD? The gory details of a vamps makeup? The transformation of a hospital wing to the drawing room of Singhania family in consecutive scenes? The tears of a talent show contestant? I don’t think so.

I long for the day when the Indian TV shows will make sense. May be that day we’ll see pigs handglide.



Filed under Non Fiction, Opinion

6 responses to “Kyon ki aadmi bhi kabhi bandar tha….

  1. The problem resides with the viewers. There won’t be no whorehouses if there are no domestically dissatisfied customers.

    I’ve given up hope. I’ve lost my faith in Indian electronic media, film production houses and television shows. Like I had any.

    There was a time when it was such a pleasure to watch Girish Karnad on Turning Point. I loved waiting for Wednesday night to watch Chitrahaar. Tehekikaat never borrowed from American crime television programs. Shekar Suman was a funny man once upon a time. Films had decent Hindi titles. Then one fine day people realized zany sunglasses, fake blue denims and red tee shirts that had American university and baseball team names on them made them look hip or “modern”.

    Blaming Bush for everything that happened in Kashmir to their daughters falling in love with the neighborhood boy became a norm. But people wanted their brown asses painted white. They craved for everything and anything American. Save for Bush. And they had no fuckin’ clue why they were supposed to hate him. Lets rip off some movies and some music and some TV shows and look “cool” thought one fool. The remaining merely followed him. And they still follow him.

    This is a hard thing for me too. But Indian-west-influenced-art [If you call it art] will never make any sense.

  2. Workinglifecrisis

    Well i hope the next one covers our beloved newstchannels:) perfect description sale 2 serh6us likhne laga gud gud

  3. sanketuk

    @ Virus- exactly my point. But i really want the Tehekikaats and Reporters back. .

    @Alok- Thanks!

  4. Well, people get only what they deserve! Most of the viewers are like this only, so they get what they like!

    Meanwhile Sony recently came out with a good concept and tied up with Anurag Kashyap, Mahesh MAnjrekar, Madhur Bhandarkar etc and came up with a series directed by each. It was relatively quite good in quality. But again, how much was its TRP, all the idiots were busy watching the soaps and reality shows.

    Bollywood, in the meantime, has emerged from this desease and now offering cinema that is high on creative content. See my postings at

  5. Shruti

    I think you have perfectly described the shit shown on television these days. What I would like to add though is that not only is this crap polluting Hindi soaps, it has started having an effect on regional television too. I’d rather not talk about the torture that you’ve pained to investigate in such depth and clarity. I’m equivocal with you on that. What I would like to add on is related to another dimension of TV. When once upon a time, shows like Sa-Re-Ga-Ma-Pa were a delight to watch with an amazing range of honest and sincere judges. Now it seems like a total sham! Its more of a tear-jerking phenomenon of how poor each of the contestant is and that is the sole motivation for his desire to stay on the show. The contestants are fake, judges ridiculously petty, music has gone to the dogs, what has the world come to!!!

  6. Ojas

    an awesome n humorous way to put forth the current dismal state of Indian Television. I hope someone takes serious steps to ensure that there are worthwhile shows as well or at the current rate the day is not far when such soaps will dominate the television industry.
    Another things that worries me is that people who watch such crappy shows go a step ahead and actually discuss them at dinner time/tea time/parties etc and try to formulate their own theoies on the next possible plot.
    Hope this ends sometime soon…

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