Well last weekend after a week long travel plans I was back in bangalore.I was tired and hence took the opportunity to laze around a lot. And like any other lazy bugger Television has occupied quite a bit of my time. Back in college, all my friends used to crib about their families being addicted to soaps that come on various channels. I was always happy that we didn’t receive any of the Indian soap channels at home. So luckily I was saved from this torture. (Well it really was a torture; you should hear those guys talk about their plight)
But this time around with the advent of TATA sky and Dish TV I had the opportunity to witness a few of these soaps at home. (Alright now I know, it is a bold move on my part to accept that I watched these soaps!! At the risk of being branded unkool...I continue...)
Well I saw 2-3 soaps and there was a remarkable similarity..Across soaps...across channels (who said we didn’t have unity...the commonalities were amazing)
Every soap was about one huge happy family. Every family always was spread across three generations at least. They are rich...stinking...filthy rich...so rich that you would find that most of the calls they make are using cell phones (again only the latest nokia/Samsung/sony phones)...landlines, which are any day cheaper are absolete. Generally there are 2-3 brothers, their wives and children living together. The youngest brother’s wife is generally despised by all the others. Everyone mostly wants them out of the will and all the youngest couple want are the blessings of the elders and hence spend their life fighting the hardships that these people put them through
Every family would always have the following characters:
He/she is supposed to the be wise old man/woman of the house. The one who has seen the world and is master of all earthly knowledge. They are generally portrayed as the person who has given up all earthly desires and who wants to see that their families stay together, and who want all their grand children to get married before the D day...
He/ she is the main character. He/she is the person who has the most pathetic life possible. Everyone is against him/her. Their life is constantly plagued with problems. Their problems just never end. At the end of one problem they are faced with another one. Never have they spent a single complete episode happily. Even if they do find happiness, by the end of the scene, there is a shock which brings with it another problem. (Directors/ script writers ...please take note of this fact...and for heaven’s sake, give them a break). They are generally the one who are the flag bearers for the “right” things. If you have trouble figuring out who these people are, it is very easy, as soon as they come onto your screens you will have a bhajan/devotional song, or a very pleasant instrumental being played in the background.
Everyone other than the hero couple. Their sole aim is to ensure that the grandparent who is the owner of all the riches begins to dislike the hero couple and hence keep accusing them of all the wrong doings in life. It is very easy to recognise them, as soon as they come on the screen there is a huge drum beat...2-3 of them...and there is a close up in slow motion...their faces are not the first things that will come onto the screen..They are generally shown, first as stepping into the house, so the foot is the entry .then slowly they show they walking and only when they come in the same shot as the hero couple do you get to see their faces...and the face revealing scene is a slow motion which is repeated umpteen numbers of times.
The third generation, they are generally the nice guys. Their job is to help the hero couple, their loyalties definitely lie with the “right” and their aim is also to have the big happy family. (See how their objective is similar to the hero couple). Their task is to add masala to their daily lives. They generally end up falling in love with people who are good but poor, and hence disliked by the parents. They then turn to the hero couple for help.
Another interesting thing is the way the trouble unfolds for the hero couple. They are generally victimised by some villain (please refer to the above text for deciphering whom we are talking about...sorry about the generalisation, but because of the huge huge star cast , taking names would have had you in a confusion long back). They plot and form secret alliances. The villains are generally very smart. They always target the wife who stays at home. The husband is in the dark. The wife is alleged of some wrong doing...the husband refuses to believe her cause for him, elders of the family are above everything...she is distraught...and the villains are happy.
This is when enters the main, the real hero (absolutely no disrespect!!). It is generally lord Krishna. He is the saviour. The heroine goes running to him and prays to him to show her the way ahead. Then out of nowhere there are bells ringing, the lamp is lighted automatically, there is a sound of a conch in the background. The heroine realises that she has to fight the evil. She comes back with renewed energy. She is ready to kick ass now...
Then suddenly comes her first break when the spoilt brat or some one who was sympathetic towards her finds out that she is innocent, generally by over hearing the villains or by some super cool sleuth work. She reveals the secret and the wife is given a clean chit. The husband apologises, the family does. Even the main villain sees the wrong in her actions and becomes the wife’s best friend...the harmony is restored....
That brings us to the end (hahaha ...did you really think so...this is not even the first season it seems...)
PICTURE ABHI BAAKI HAI....
The amazing twist... during the whole kiss and make up...one of her friends is offended...she switches sides and back stabs the wife again...the villain becomes the hero’s friend but the friend turns foe...so the story continues again....now i realised how these buggers keep going for ages and ages together...the serial which began some years back are still continuing. The hero couple generally do not seem to age at all...
People think that the story is long and hence the large number of episodes. But in a half an hour episode...the break up is as follows...10 min commercials...10 min dialogues...10 min slow motion replays...where you will find people turning/ getting schocked etc about 100 times...so if it is 10 min per day..The soap will obviously go on for a long long time....
People have become so obsessed with these soaps that their life comes to a grinding halt when these soaps are being aired. The slow pace is jazzed up with the occasional death of the main character (who after a good vacation and a nice little break makes a come back because he is miraculously saved from the car crash he/ she had...if the masala has to be real good...he /she would have lost his memory by then). Such deaths of main character is good enough to make headlines in all the major 24 hour news channels (this is true...amazing isn’t it, the kind of crap these 24 hours news channels focus on...well this is a different matter which will be discussed in a different post)!!
Amazing but true....so next time u decide to watch a soap...then I hope this post will prove to be very useful to you and that you will be able to comprehend and appreciate the soap better!!