Thursday, September 29, 2005

Soaps and suds

Remix, Star One’s campus-based series, is hurtling to a close. Soon, Tia Ahuja will tell Ranvir Sisodia she loves him, Yuvi will win over Anvesha, the dreaded Pallavi will be got rid of, Raghav Dutt will stay on with his beloved students and everyone will live happily till the next season. In the meantime, this means a one-hour hole in my weekdays.

Star One is doing a really nice job of Remix, which is based on the Spanish telenova Rebeldeway. There is all that overacting of course, and the production values could surely be a little higher considering investment in sets and props is spread over a good many episodes – still, on the whole, I enjoy it enormously. They have at least a dozen main characters and manage to weave their stories in rather satisfactorily. Plus (which is big for an Indian soap these days), the series maintains an internal consistency of plot and characters. In fact, the nice thing about Star One is they do plan to end series, no matter how successful they are.

Incidentally, Jassi jaisi koi nahin was based on another Spanish series Betty La Fea, until of course, Sony gave them an extension just as the series was drawing to a close and the script writers went into a tizzy trying to conjure another year’s worth troubles for their protagonists. (Aside: apparently the music teacher they introduced a couple of months ago is now a lawyer, heh heh.) Sorry, that was involved; I was saying: what works for Hispanic cultures seems to adapt very easily to India. Still, it’d be nice to have some good original work.

Ekta Kapoor still rules Indian television, of course. It is alarming how seriously her brand of television programming has rotted the way this industry thinks. You can actually see how intimidating they find the young woman, both people who work with her and those who don't. I am amazed she holds such power, such influence. Good for her, but why the hell can't she use it to diversify her clutch of offerings - to include one detective series, or a cops-and-robbers, a legal drama, sitcoms…. If anyone can afford to experiment, it would be her. Isn't it lousy when people who can, don't?

Two series started off trying to cock a snook at the K brigade – Jassi and Yeh meri life hai. If Jassi was about an ugly-but-efficient working girl, Pooja whatsername was a Gujju middleclass girl, trying to overcome her accent and other people’s prejudices to become a filmmaker.
Both were refreshing and rather promising. Both failed to hold on to what they started with. With appalling lack of integrity the channels/producers have caved in to what they think is the ‘dominant paradigm’, with the result that they are now more loyal than the queen. The original storylines were completely derailed and we now have vampier vamps, bigger sindoors, with acid throwings and attempted murders every other day.
It’s a shame, it really is.


the One said...

Yeah. One remembers a similar sort of derailment inflicted upon Sanjeevani a couple of years ago. Wouldn't be surprised if they're still dragging it along.

Sheetal said...

Wasn't that the hospital drama? never saw it, though.

kuffir said...

whew ! to think you actually watched all that and survived to tell the story.

Sheetal said...

barely, barely. all in the interests of media studies, of course.

The Marauder's Map said...

I thought Jassi still managed to remain more loyal to the original storyline than Yeh Meri..., though I haven't watched it now in more than six months and have even stopped asking mom whats happening.

Last I caught a glimpse of Yeh Meri..., that irritating chick's dreams of turning film-maker had gone kaput and she was getting married to a guy called bad news while her sister grew jealous of her etc etc. Kusum, in short. I want to kill these people sometimes. Not that I was a major fan of that serial or something, but just that it seemed to be different from the usual sindoor drama. But as you said so wisely, they turn more loyal than the queen.