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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

One Tree Hill: Of clichéd Americana

Poonam Saxena, Hindustan Times   March 08, 2013
First Published: 23:07 IST(8/3/2013) | Last Updated: 23:09 IST(8/3/2013)

Everyone getting withdrawal symptoms after the, well, withdrawal of Grey’s Anatomy from Star World will have to continue minus their daily fix of Seattle’s scalpel-happy doctors with their tempestuous love lives and hair-raising surgical cases.

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(For those interested, the show ended here at season 6, though it’s in its ninth season abroad. And yes, seasons 7 and 8 are out on DVD, I’m told).

In place of Grey’s Anatomy, we have the new high school drama, One Tree Hill. If clichés like basketball, cheerleaders, prom nights and locker room hazing (American for ragging) is your thing, then One Tree Hill is just what the doctor ordered.

It’s the story of the brittle and fraught relationship between two half-brothers fighting for their place in the school’s basketball team: one is a rich and vindictive brat with a cheerleader girlfriend, the other is the illegitimate, sensitive underdog.

One Tree Hill is reasonably well made (and we can guess that the two brothers will eventually get to like each other and become friends), but it’s really meant for those viewers with a particular fondness for American high school shows.

(Are American schools really like that? If so, it’s a wonder anyone turns out normal. None of the kids ever appears to attend class; they’re mostly at the basketball court or partying or driving convertibles or breaking the law or being rude to everyone in sight).

Meanwhile, I doggedly continued watching Saraswatichandra (Star Plus) and though I still wish it had remained in its original 19th century setting; it’s still better than most of what is out there on Hindi entertainment channels.

But the setting remains a problem. When our heroine, Kumud, decides to stealthily creep into the hero, Saraswatichandra’s room at night to get a glimpse of him (since she hasn’t seen him yet), she sticks a candle into an old-fashioned lamp and tiptoes across the house.

She sees him sleeping but the room is hot, so she starts fanning him with a hand-held punkah.

Seriously? No one’s heard of electricity? The women of the house spend their time drawing water from a well. Running water, anyone?

When there’s an emergency and they need to get a doctor, the only thing to do is for Kumud to cycle furiously in pouring rain to get to one. Er, cars?

Is Kumud’s family in such a remote corner of Gujarat that none of all this exists? They’re certainly not penury stricken, because they live in a palatial house. So, what gives?

(Also, I get that Saraswatichandra’s stepmother is a Bad Woman, but she’s so reminiscent of Hindi serial vamps, she’s like a caricature of a Bad Woman).

Still, when it comes to Hindi serials, one has to clutch at straws. Unfortunately there are so few of them, one is always in imminent danger of drowning.

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