Tamas: A genuine television classic
After 25 years, Govind Nihalani’s remarkable TV series Tamas is back on air on the History channel.tv Updated: Aug 16, 2013 22:17 IST
After 25 years, Govind Nihalani’s remarkable TV series Tamas is back on air on the History channel.
As the credits came on the screen, it was like seeing a roll call of the best and brightest of what used to be called the ‘parallel cinema movement’ of the Seventies and Eighties: actors such as Om Puri, Pankaj Kapur, Amrish Puri, Deepa Sahi, Manohar Singh and so many others; not to forget music director Vanraj Bhatia. Based on a novel by Bhisham Sahni, Tamas — as everyone probably knows by now — is a story of Partition, of the flight of Hindu and Sikh families to India.
Watching the first episode itself gave me goosebumps — that’s how deeply atmospheric and riveting the show is. Congress workers gather early morning to go on prabhat pheris and do community work by cleaning drains.
They are stopped by Muslim League supporters even as communal tension escalates because of an incident at a mosque. The acting is first class and there is actually a sense of being transported to another era.
We are introduced to a cast of real, living, breathing characters who will soon, tragically, have their worlds torn apart by violence and bloodshed.
It’s a little sad to realize that a show made 25 years ago beats any current TV fiction show in every which way — whether it’s story or characters or look and feel.
Independence Day was also a cue for other channels to introduce India-themed programming. Comedy Central began the Fox show, The Mindy Project, starring Indian actress and TV writer Mindy Kaling as a doctor, also called Mindy (Lahiri).
Dr Lahiri, in the grand tradition of chick lit-romcom heroines, is a ditzy young single woman looking for love.
The show is funny and a little mad; but if you’re a chick lit-romcom devotee, do tune in.
The channel is also showing Outsourced, which we’ve seen before in India — it’s a light-hearted look at a call centre run by a fresh-off-the-plane American, Todd Dempsey. It has some weird stereotypes, but is also moderately amusing on occasion.
And finally. It was good to see the Star network’s marathon fund-raiser Hum Saath Uttarakhand, in which the film and TV industry came together for a good cause.
The telethon proved that Satyamev Jayate was not a one-off; the network is trying hard to consolidate its social responsibility platform.