It’s happening — slowly. Earlier, tech companies would launch their new gadgets in India very late. Not any longer. Hollywood studios would release their films in India ages after their release in America and other parts of the world. Not any longer.
Could the same be happening in television? Most viewers who follow English shows and series here complain bitterly that they are, more often than not, forced to watch old seasons. We may be watching season one or two of a show here, but abroad it may be in its seventh season.
So here’s the good news. Star World is actually premiering a new Disney series, Missing, in India on Sunday even before its launch in the US (four days earlier, to be precise). The show, starring Ashley Judd (her TV debut), is, at its heart, the story of a mother searching for her missing son. But it also seems to be a tight espionage thriller because the mother is a retired CIA agent and there are many old secrets to be unraveled. It sounds worth a watch and I’m looking forward to catching it on Sunday. But more than that, I’m looking forward to the fact that we might be on to a good thing — that is, getting to see shows on time and not much after everyone else has seen them.
Back home the TV scenario seems to be heating up. Onscreen couples are playing out passion and romance in long drawn out lovemaking scenes (often set to Hindi movie songs). Sony’s Bad Achche Lagte Hain has generally been seen as a clutter breaker, because of its offbeat love story between a 40-plus overweight, overbearing businessman and a 30-plus no-nonsense teacher who have a ‘compromise arranged’ marriage. A few episodes ago, the Highly Anticipated Moment of the serial arrived, when Priya confessed (or rather, shrieked) that she was in love with her husband while he looked on, dumbfounded (literally, he didn’t open his mouth to say a word). The scene could have done with a little more passion (sorry, shrieking is not equivalent to passion), but perhaps that will be rectified in Monday’s episode, when both Ram and Priya will make love in proper filmi style with the song ‘Baahon ke darmiyan’ playing in the background (at least that’s what the promos are promising viewers). Oh yes, there was also a kiss of sorts in between, when Ram attempted to shut up his still- shrieking wife.
On another channel (Life OK), Tum Dena Saath Mera’s young newly married couple also had an elaborate lovemaking sequence. In Star Plus’s Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon, we saw the lead pair do a sensual dance (or was it borderline lovemaking on stage?) to the song, Teri meri prem kahani.
Naturally, it’s all very soft-focus, but hey, no complaints. If love and romance on the small screen are actually incorporating physical desire and sexual tension as part of the deal, well then, television is — finally — taking baby steps to growing up. (And about time too. Otherwise, what we’ve been hearing forever is that because TV beams into the living rooms of single-TV households, and everyone from grandmothers to the children, watch it together, producers can’t and don’t show a lot of things. This was always seemed a specious argument, because if that were the case, what of all the domestic torture? How is that okay? Or is it that showing abhorrent kitchen politics is okay but showing attraction and passion isn’t?)
On another note, actor Mohnish Bahl is out of Sony’s Kuch Toh Log Kahenge (the serial that is allegedly a remake of Pakistani serial Dhoop Kinare, but frankly the resemblance ends at the fact that the two leads are doctors). An ‘accident’ has just taken place because of which everyone thinks Dr Ashutosh (the lead character played by Bahl) is dead, but as we know from years of experience, he will return with a new face. (Actor Sharad Kelkar takes over from Mohnish Bahl and will hopefully breathe new life into the character as well).