Where has all the creativity gone, wonder television viewers who find that an increasing number of soaps have annoyingly familiar stories, taken from one Bollywood blockbuster or the other.
From Kya Hua Tera Vaada to Hitler Didi, many serials are taking a cue from the movies, whipping up storylines and adding some small screen flavour to keep the track going for as long as possible.
The twists and turns in Kya Hua Tera Vaada are akin to Salman Khan's Biwi No. 1; the latest track in Main Lakshmi Tere Aangan Ki reminds viewers of the wife selling the husband in the Anil Kapoor-Sridevi starrer Judaai.
If in the 1997 Judaai Sridevi sells her husband to Urmila Matondkar to become rich, in Main Lakshmi..., the protagonist Lakshmi sells her husband Arjun to his ex-flame Soumya to bail her in-laws out from a financial crunch.
In Ekta Kapoor's Kya Hua Tera Vaada about an extra marital affair, Pradeep (Pawan Shankar) decides to move in with his ex-flame Anushka (Mouli Ganguly) and divorce his wife Mona (Mona Singh). The way Mona is handling the situation bears uncanny resemblance to how the wronged wife (Karisma Kapoor) reacted in Biwi No. 1.
"As a writer, when we keep writing stories and there are times when it comes to a point 'now what?' Then producers and writers take the decision that such a story can be incorporated and we tend to experiment with the storyline," said writer Rajesh Joshi, who has penned shows like Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kkusum and Pavitra Rishta.
"Though it might prove to be a TRP safety measure to some extent, one isn't sure how prominent will it be. The success depends upon the popularity of the show and its characters and how we incorporate it (new storyline) in the script," he added.
Mona admitted that the story of Kya Hua... and Biwi No. 1 were similar but said the treatment was different. "To a certain extent I agree because the man did have an extra-marital affair and there was infidelity (in the film). But that was a three-hour movie and it got over, but this is a serial and it will last for one or two years at least."
The story of Life Ok's show Dil Se Di Dua... Saubhagyavati Bhava is close to Daraar, which starred Juhi Chawla, Arbaaz Khan and Rishi Kapoor. In the serial, Karanvir Bohra plays the over-possessive and violent husband, Harshad Chopra is the saviour and Sriti Jha is the distressed wife.
Zee TV's Hitler Didi recently wrapped up a track, which was loosely based on the film Khosla Ka Ghosla, where the protagonist Indira's father sells the family home to a builder without telling his family. And how she fools the builder to get the house back. The serial has lots of incidents similar to the hit film.
The trailers of the forthcoming Rab Se Sohna Isshq, to be aired on the same channel, shows a guy trying to reunite with his newly wed wife with her lover, pretty much like Ajay Devgn wooing Aishwarya Rai in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.
If that is not enough, news is that TV czarina Ekta Kapoor is planning to make a show based on Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol starrer blockbuster movie Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. She is even planning to bring the epic romance of Jodhaa-Akbar on the tube.
There is therefore no fixed time to end a show and to keep the story going, makers have to introduce new tracks, says director Ravindra Gautam.
"In a film, you tell a story in three hours and wrap it up, but in television shows you don't know for how long would the show go on? How many tracks can you incorporate?There are very few combinations when it comes to making a TV show. The volume of television is much more than films. There are times when the stories go out of stream and then you think of different tracks."