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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

Princess Not-So-Charming and an overdose of tradition

Poonam Saxena   January 26, 2013
First Published: 01:03 IST(26/1/2013) | Last Updated: 01:07 IST(26/1/2013)

If I were told I could use two and only two words to describe most Hindi TV soaps and serials, I would go for "slow" and "repetitive." Seriously, what could be slower than the pace of a daily soap? Grass growing? Paint drying? As for repetition, imagine the same dialogues and scenes popping up again and again, often in the same episode, as if all viewers were victims of short-term memory loss, unable to remember what happened ten minutes ago.

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I wish these two words didn't apply to the two new shows that have begun on Sony and Colors. But alas. The first show is Amita Ka Amit (Sony), in which a young girl is waiting for her sapno ka rajkumar, as if it's a full-time occupation. He turns up, but likes her friend, not her. And who can blame him, since Amita must be the most boring person in Asia (not to mention the silliest - in trying to project female characters as "sweet and simple," our serials end up making them appear so vapid and empty-headed, you begin to fear for their mental condition). Anyway, ask Amita a question and she'll take about five or six years to respond. You could go out and finish your weekly shopping and come back and she'll still be gazing silently at the person who's asked her the question. It's tough to watch a serial where the lead character spends pretty much all her time doing nothing except just looking - at people, at the camera, at nothing.

The second show, Sanskaar - Dharohar Apnon Ki (Colors), is about a young man called Jaikishan Vaishnav, who belongs to an extended Gujarati family (the nth extended Gujarati family we've seen on TV in the last 12 years). The family mill has burnt down and so Jaikishan decides to help out by going to America and earning some dollars.

Nothing wrong with the premise, except that the whole devotion to Indian 'culture' and 'tradition' is so overdone, it's like eating too many sweets and then feeling quite ill. Dear serial makers, you don't have to lay it on with a trowel, we get it (even if we don't agree with it; do you really believe that everyone in India is as wonderful as everyone in America is rude and racist? Is this Purab Aur Paschim reloaded?) Oh and did I mention the words "slow" and "repetitive"?

Colors has also started Season 2 of Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha. In Season 1, we saw Megha, a widow with two small children, fall in love with and get married to a journalist, Mohan. In Season 2, the show has taken a 12-year jump (Why? Why? Is there no other way to take a story forward?) and things are pretty bleak. The happy couple has been separated for years (Why? Long story, watch the show if you have the patience), and the daughter, who is now grown up, hates her 'sautela baap.' It's a pretty depressing storyline with which to open a new season. Mustering up any enthusiasm is going to be tough.

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