When I first read the note (asking us to contribute to the run-up to the blogoversary of this blog), my reaction was that it was a good idea but I wouldn’t be able to contribute. However, the ‘wanting to contribute’ bit overpowered the self-depreciating bit and I signed up for not one but two articles. Unfortunately, it seems I’m incapable of writing unless I am sufficiently moved (either in a good way or a bad way), case in point being my review of Rajnikanth starrer ‘Robot’. Half way through the movie, I had begun writing the review in my head. Consequently the words flowed once I reached home. But try as I might, I couldn’t come up with something to write an article for the letter K. Does this mean I am capable of writing only on watching Rajnikanth movies? Oh the horror! What am I to do? Either turn my brain to mush slowly in order to be able to write or give up on writing altogether? Scary scary thought! Having meandered into the uninteresting bit about my oh-so-fascinating writer’s block, I am now firmly steering myself to the topic at hand … *drumrolls please* … K for K serials.
Ah where do I begin? The pathetic dialogues, the unoriginal screen play, the lack of acting, the ostentatious sets or the crass guest appearances… Let me contain myself to the unoriginal screen play. Most of the soaps today are inspired from equally mind numbing Bollywood movies. The rich boy meeting either an extremely poor girl or a girl supposedly belonging to middle class but having all the trappings of the noveau rich. The girl will be righteous, coy, sweet and so bloody like a saint that she gets on your nerves. The guy will be the quintessential prodigal son. Saint-like-girl meets devil-guy and sparks fly. Pehle takraar phir pyaar. *Yawn*.
Human beings are so rich & diverse. From the slightly spoilt and bratty to socially awkward to wickedly humorous to globally connected. Why doesn’t the TV industry or for that matter Bollywood, wish to delve in grey characters? Why this fixation with white and black? Right v/s Wrong? It is so enriching to watch the nuances of a character rather than their stubborn and juvenile clinging to a one dimensional portrayal. The fight of good v/s evil is fought by each one of us every day, both within ourselves as well as with the world. The beauty lies in the choices we make every day. The thin line we walk between good and bad. The struggle within us. The need for self-preservation and the urge to be selfless.The yearning for company and the reality of loneliness. The fear of trusting someone too much too soon. If only Indian television manages to capture this instead of the implausible melodrama! And yet melodrama it is that is dished to us day-in and day-out. The seasons change but the face of Indian television stays stagnant. So we are subject to Daya breaking doors, Pradhyuman wagging his fingers, Akshara looking coyly at her husband, people bursting into spontaneous dance numbers, elaborate festivals.
And yet these serials work. They are devoured by the people of India. From grandmas to house-wives to nubile young girls to cute little pinky; everybody seems to watch them albeit for different reasons. I, for one, have never really understood why. The best answer I can come up with is escapism. Life is dreary as it is, why subject oneself to more reality? It’s where we escape to fairy-tale weddings, six pack abs, kohl lined eyes, designer lehengas. Where good always triumphs over evil. Where even as the protagonist suffers, the make-up remains pristine. I may not approve of the means of escapism but I certainly understand the need for it. To travel into oblivion for a little while. A place far removed from the clutches of reality. One’s sweet utopia.
Mine might be P.G.Wodehouse’s world of muddle brained Earl of Emsworth, sweet and docile Bertie & witty Jeeves among others.
I need them as much as they need theirs.
– Written by Guest Writer: Kavita Iyer as a run-up to my 2nd Blogoversary.