Watching TV is not our favourite thing to do. True, the jerky camera motions that gave us migraines have gone and the Ekta Kapoor kind of saas-bahu show has departed, so you might think we’ve become converts. But no. TV has changed, but not enough. While we have interesting story concepts, they’re given the same old saas-bahu treatment. So we still hate watching TV. But since everyone and his goldfish seems to be glued to their screens, we figured there must be something to the idiot box that we missed.
So we decided to seek the Kamal in the kichad. This meant spending an excruciating 100-plus hours channel-surfing, but we were courageous (we are journalists after all) and after nights of torture, we finally managed to compile a LIKE list.
Because it’s true. There actually are a few characters, played by wonderful actors, who are pure delight to watch. Which is such a miracle that we decided to present them with our own, highly coveted Brunch Sari, Sindoor & Glycerine Awards! PS: We also have a loathe list. Heh.
Which go to 11 characters from Hindi TV serials we actually like
The M-I-L with a heart award
Character/Serial: Badi Maa, Sasural Genda Phool (Star Plus)
To be fair, Supriya Pilgaonkar, the eldest daughter-in-law of the sprawling Kashyap family, has every reason to be like the curmudgeonly Dadisa in Balika Vadhu: her husband deserted her for another woman years ago and then whizzed off to the US of A.
But since a ‘Badi Maa’ could hardly be shown walking out of the marriage and hooking up with someone else, she lives up to her title and becomes the backbone of the family, which is more than you can say for most TV Saasu Maas.
The Near-normal bahu award
Character/Serial: Archana Manav Deshmukh, Pavitra
Rishta (Zee TV)
Ankita Lokhande is a pleasant change from the overdressed, terribly tortured, silent, suffering bahus on television. Sure, Pavitra Rishta and its attendant melodrama (the mother-in-law’s constant manipulations aimed at driving a wedge between the ‘beta aur bahu’) can get a bit much.
But Archana is pleasant (in her brocade blouses, cotton sarees, no jewellery), affable, stern when required and has a mellow voice. She almost (yes, it is true) seems normal!
The Mills & Boon award
Characters/Serial: Arnav and Khushi, Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon (Star Plus)
This couple has such crackling chemistry, the TV screen could combust. In a landscape littered with effete men and meek women, Arnav and Khushi stand out. He is rich, powerful, cruel, heartless (a simmering Barun Sobti).
She is poor, self-respecting, soft-hearted, spirited (a very pretty Sanaya Irani). They claim to hate each other but are secretly in love. Unfortunately, their story plays out in a typical TV family, full of evil mamijis and nonstop pujas. Some things never change do they?
The F-I-l with a heart award
Character/Serial: Bhairav, Balika Vadhu (Colors)
Rather handsome for a father-in-law, Anup Soni is quite good at playing the character. Serious, sombre but very strong and supportive of the women of his house, Bhairav is not involved in kitchen politics, but isn’t a wimp either.
He has a mind and speaks it when it’s necessary. He is respectful enough of his tyrannical mother, but doesn’t buy into her demands if he thinks they don’t have merit. The best part though, is his evident support to the women in the house. We could do with more men like him on the small screen.
The god-looker award
Character/Serial: Shiva, Devon ke Dev – Mahadev (Life OK)
We rarely see good-looking men on TV, let alone Gods. But this Shiva makes our hearts somersault. And not just because Kashmiri model-turned-actor Mohit Raina is incredibly hot. His character in this mythological love saga is the apotheosis of raw animalism – the tigerskin robe, a serpent wrapped around his neck. Bhaang is the poison of his choice. And he’s the most powerful man (er, God?) to have walked on earth (er, universe). Plus, the rest of the cast isn’t aesthetically appealing, so that makes him stand out.
The bad cop mom award
Character/Serial: Sweety Ahluwalia, Parvarrish – Kuchh Khattee Kuchh Meethi (Sony)
Shweta Tiwari is the loud Punjabi mummy you can’t help but like (but are secretly glad she’s not yours). She constantly fusses over her kids, is a disciplinarian and tends to go a little over the top.
But that’s what Indian mothers do and after all, she means well. She bickers often, talks animatedly, and rolls her eyes, but she’s Mamma, and mammas are comforting. Even if they name you Rocky and Ginny.
The chalk ‘n cheese award
Characters/ Serial: Pratigya and Krishna Thakur, Mann kee Awaaz Pratigya (Star Plus)
Pooja Gor not only looks educated but also acts it. She manages to stand for what she thinks is right. Arhaan Behl’s shiny maroon shirts, hairstyle from the days of Rajesh Khanna and ‘chalbo’, ‘e liyu’ dialect all add up to make him an interesting character.
Totally mawali, very volatile, he dotes on his wife – but doesn’t quite know how to get across to her. Intense, confused, cute – he is fun to watch. And oh! He does side with Pratigya.
The wife you’d want award
Character/ Serial: Mona Singh, Kya Huaa Tera Vaada (Sony)
Ever since Mona Singh debuted as Jassi, she has been our heroine. In this serial, she’s a housewife and a mother of three kids, playing the role with ease and conviction.
We love the way she is shown working in the kitchen, fretting over what to put in her kids’ tiffin boxes and also for her remark “Biwiyon ko sab pata hota hai”. What we love best: her friendly banter with the husband, her ‘never’ nagging, ‘never’ making him to be the ‘pati parmeshwar’ attitude. Plus, Mona Singh is Mona Singh.
The hot-bod in uniform award
Character/ Serial: Chandramukhi Chautala, F.I.R (Sab TV)
Have you seen Kavita Kaushik in that uniform? Need we say more? We like a lady who makes a khaki uniform ‘werq’. And who thought a Haryanvi accent could be that un-annoying and hot!
Never mind that the characters in that show are more retarded than the entire Indian television industry put together, Chandramukhi’s timely slaps are a respite from the five-retakes thappads that are the benchmark of our TV serials. Hang around for her punchy dialogue delivery.
The big fat Indian husband award
Character/ Serial: Ram Kapoor, Bade Achche Lagte Hain (Sony)
He is fat, eats too much, lives on medicines, (Tablet Kapoor is what his wife calls him), is cranky most of the time and loves his step-family unconditionally (to his wife and friend’s peril), but he is adorable.
He is no romantic but at least makes an effort to realise his wife’s silly fancies. Ram Kapoor is just the right mix for a husband. He has money, is busy so doesn’t interfere too much, but is also attentive and caring. Even with all his imperfections, he is a perfect 10. We want more of him!
The legally hot award
Character/ Serial: Advocate K D Pathak, Adaalat (Sony)
Good looking and, for a change, intelligent. (He doesn’t make statements like “yahan par laash hai, iska matlab yahaan khoon hua hai!” like ACP Pradyuman in CID.) K D Pathak is quite a delight to watch as he solves bizarre cases on Adaalat.
That most of his women clients fall for him adds to the masala of this courtroom drama. Ronit Roy stays cool and applies logic (surprise, surprise). He actually has a sense of humour! And we never did mind watching him.
The please break up award
Characters/Serial: Dr Ashutosh and Dr Nidhi Verma, Kuch Toh Log Kahenge (Sony)
The silent older man, the bubbly much younger girl… everybody’s secret fantasy. How can this go wrong? Enter life-saving surgeon (Mohnish Behl) and fresh-out-of-med-school (Kritika Kamra). Exit viewers.
He’s a good actor and she’s fairly pretty, but they have less chemistry than shampoo and a toothbrush. Mr Behl, the doctor thing is done to death. Sing, dance, cook but give up surgery. It’s not becoming anymore.
The calm down, will you? award
Character/Serial: Mona, Ram Milaayi Jodi (Zee TV)
Sara Raza Khan won the Star Parivaar Award for ‘Best Patni’ in 2009. We would like to take that away from her and blow her a big, wet raspberry for being an extra-bubbly, extra-vivacious (had enough of them in movies) and extra-irritating loud-mouthed Punjabi girl.
She is so over the top that we can’t help but think of that as the key reason why her (in-serial) husband kicked the bucket recently. Calm DOWN, woman!
The gutka king award
Character/Serial: Thakur Sajjan Singh, Pratigya – Mann Kee Aawaaz Pratigya (Star Plus)
Anupam Shyam, the gutka-chewing, limping sasur, makes you want to sign up with the women’s liberation movement and then run amok with a stick the moment you set eyes on him. A ‘typical’ patriarch, he treats women the worst way.
The lock her up award
Character/Serial: Savita Damodar Deshmukh, Pavitra Rishta (Zee TV)
Usha Nadkarni is soooo vicious that she puts most other mothers-in-laws on TV to shame. She’s the kind of saas your saas should be prevented from knowing. She never has anything humane to say about her bahu. She lies, mollycoddles her son, throws her bahu out of the house. Every wife’s nightmare.
The noddy award
Character/Serial: Moniya, Dekha Ek Khwaab (Sony)
Priyal Gor has taken the description ‘bubbly’ too seriously. She shouts, is hysterical and over-the-top. Also, can she please stop shaking her head all the time?
It’s as though every word she says has an instant and (vigorous) opposite head reaction. And shouldn’t she dress in something nicer than those beige rags?
The get a life award
Character/Serial: Anandi, Balika Vadhu (Colors)
Okay. Balika Vadhu has been a path-breaking show in more ways than one and Pratyusha Banerjee has topped the charts as the ideal bahu. But come on, there has to be a limit to her goodness!
Her husband marries another girl and she stays martyr-like, in the hope that one day Jagya will realise his mistake and return to her. She’s the sacrificial lamb all the time and that’s too much to digest every single day. There’s got to be a limit to everything, even martyrdom!
The two-tight-slaps award
Character/Serial: Shipra Sharma, Bade Achhe Lagte Hain (Sony)
She’s the kind of mother you want to sell on eBay, except there would be no buyers. Renuka Israni is the female lead’s mother. So thankfully, she doesn’t have much screen time.
She practically forced her daughter to marry a rich, fat boy (whom we adore) and loves her spoilt daughter-in-law for her money. But she constantly yells at her middle class family. You may forgive her for being a loud gold-digger. But every time she whines, you want to do something violent.
The I-will-never-smile award
Character/Serial: Gopi Bahu, Saath Nibhana Saathiya(Star Plus)
Being a subservient bahu is the order of the day. But even if you light up every bulb in each over-bright palace mansion, we bet our heaviest sari-gown you’d be unable to find someone as meek as Jiaa Manek.
It’s not only the irritating deer-stuck-in-the-headlights expression (the only one she has) but that her endurance for trauma borders on the inhuman! PS: Do you see the devil when your husband calls to inquire about your broken limbs, eh Gopi ‘Vahu’?
The walk-all-over-me award
Character/Serial: Ichchha, Uttaran (Colors)
Need to repay a debt? Check out Tina Dutt’s School of Endless Giving. Ichchha makes her own life miserable. If after losing your boyfriend, husband, second husband and child, you continue being a meek, forgiving cow, we have only one word for you: MASOCHIST!
From HT Brunch, March 4
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