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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

From serious to slapstick, suddenly

Poonam Saxena, Hindustan Times   March 24, 2012
First Published: 00:02 IST(24/3/2012) | Last Updated: 00:07 IST(24/3/2012)

While Hindi TV serials are usually predictable, sometimes they can spring surprises, or rather, shocks. Just last week, I had blithely stated that Star Plus’s Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon was one of the channel’s most watchable shows. But starting this Monday, the serial, which is an intense love story, has suddenly turned into a comedy show. (I’m still recovering).

The real USP of Iss Pyaar… was that it dared to have a leading man who was not your regular hero. Instead, we got an unapologetically dark anti-hero, more ruthless heartbreaker than charming lover. (And actor Barun Sobti managed the difficult feat of making the character sexy, sympathetic yet hateful, all at the same time). But tragically, he seems to have now been transformed into a typical TV lead — rather bland and ineffectual. (Even the heroine — goofy but generally warm and likeable — has turned into a bit of an annoying brat).

So frankly, I’m a bit flummoxed. Can TV shows undergo life-transforming metamorphoses and become something completely different to what they set out to be/were/are? If a love story can turn into a comedy, a suspense story can (theoretically) turn into a family saga. I hope not, but I can’t help but wonder what fate will befall Colors’ new show, Chhal Sheh Aur Maat.

This serial is that rare thing on Indian telly — a thriller. A young bride comes to spend her honeymoon at a hill station and wakes up to discover that her husband has disappeared and there’s a stranger in the room claiming to be her real pati. The story sounds intriguing, though I do wish the treatment was a bit classier. (There’s a strange man whose face we never see who keeps following the heroine in a menacing manner; we completely get the fact that he’s highly mysterious, but does he have to wear a big black overcoat, hat and gloves?)

The other show that has been consistently decent is the Life OK mythological Devon Ke Dev Mahadev (I hope it suddenly doesn’t change into a horror show) and that’s because the makers have given it an interesting spin. It has been shot as Shiva and Sati’s love story rather than just Shiva’s story. The two lead actors are competent, and the serial has a nice feel. The colours are soft and the whole look is non-tinselly. Fingers crossed for the future.

And finally. Shekhar Suman has returned to Sab with his one-time hit show, Movers & Shakers. The routine is the same: stand-up jokes followed by a celebrity guest in the studio, with a band in attendance. Shekhar is a great mimic and a seasoned hand at comedy, so he keeps things going smoothly (even if all the jokes aren’t that funny). But what is interesting is seeing some of the new faces of stand-up comedy on TV — such as actor Sumeet Raghavan, who has started The Late Night Show on Colors. (I’m not even going to bother with the whole thing of where these shows are coming from or what their ‘inspiration’ is; everybody knows).

I found Sumeet pretty funny and quite irreverent too (which is what the genre demands). Of course, one doesn’t laugh at all the jokes, some are pretty lame; but let’s cut the guys some slack. So here’s to more laughter (and to the earnest hope that the comedy doesn’t overnight transform into something else). Who knows?

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