Kasautii Zindagii Kay 2 episode 1 review: There was no room for it but things have become worse
Kasautii Zindagii Kay 2 returns to our TV screens -- louder, more garish and having lost any modern edge its first iteration had.
It baffles me no end how an entire country’s population has been judged unintelligent enough to only be able to digest content like this. Do Ekta Kapoor, Balaji Telefilms and the likes really believe that the cable television-watching audience doesn’t deserve good editing and non-bigoted humour? Seventeen years later, the cameras may have started shooting in HD but there is still nothing high quality about the Kasautii Zindagii Kay reboot.
At a time and age when our social media feeds are soaked in nostalgia, the makers had the perfect idea to bring back a popular old soap opera that the world had already had enough of. Kasautii Zindagii Kay ran for seven years and finally ended when many characters on the show were on their fourth or fifth marriages.
In the 10 years that it stayed away from telly, things did not get better. The audiences were met with a brand new wave of naagins and rakshasas that are now in their proud third seasons. So maybe it was a step in the right direction to bring humans back on television, of course I am still not sure about Komolika’s origins.
Once again, Star Plus and Balaji are ready to hit us on the head with the early 2000s nostalgia, the tragedy of unrequited love and the romance of red dupattas artificially blowing in the wind.
A lazy production, the makers have undoubtedly given more time and attention to the marketing of the show rather than what we ultimately see on the television. However, there are a handful of rather superficial things that have changed for the better.
The video is glossier, the make-up is dewier and finally, it does feature a few shots of the actual city they claim to be set in, Kolkata. Of course, the sets are still garish and appear fake but at least they have a stock pile of aerial shots to establish the setting this time.
That’s where the list of good things ends. It’s a mud walk from now on.
The initial 10 minutes of the show are copied to the bone from the first episode of the original. Parth Samthaan (the new Anurag), participates in the opening aarti shirtless, perhaps to show off how he has better abs than Cezanne Khan. Erica Fernandez (the new Prerna) still manages to wake up, bathe, get dressed and put on a full face of make-up all in less than a minute. All patras on this show are kalpanic indeed.
Their character introductions, the first few dialogues, the rest of the characters, their names, their intensions and the tensions between them are absolutely the same. There is classist mother who has gotten younger and much worse in her choice of outfits and tacky jewellery.
There is the goofy dad who definitely hates his wife but plays it as a big joke. The sister is still evil and the servants are still suffering.
The changes are only at the surface in the actors’ louder sarees with fatter border, shinier gold, thicker eyeliners and bigger bindis. Why has the 17 years of time difference led to such a drastic regression in fashion choices? To be honest, the original looks like a fresher, more modern version of the two.
Coming back to more internal changes, there are none. Anurag is still the good boy who isn’t interested in women or partying while Prerna is still all about wearing suits to college and forcing it in everyone’s faces what a dreamy Disney princess she is. In the first episode at least, the two characters seem like the exact replicas of the originals.
A few scenes, like when she asks Anurag if he is thedha or seedha (if he is gay) force her to be excessively bubbly in a bid to make her look cuter but she ends up irritating you with all her shrieking and visibly fake nervousness. Shweta Tiwari, the original Prerna, was more subdued and didn’t try this hard. Considering the fan following she amassed with the show, she did pretty well for herself.
The reluctance of television directors to use a more realistic way – they are still dubbing scenes in a studio -- is also distracting. A mother and her daughter are talking in the back of a lorry but you cannot hear any traffic noises at all. The supporting actors get a boom mic on the location and the result is much better and more realistic. The scene between Prerna’s parents at their home is an example – it felt like they are in an actual home with people surrounding them and not in an artificial studio somewhere in Mumbai, recording an entire episode over tea and biscuits.
The background score is excessive. It plays without reason and way too often. Whether the scene demands it or not, a joyful, somber or a comical tone is always there to force your brain into thinking that this is how you are supposed to feel right now.
I had a similar complaint with the initial few episodes of The Test Case, another Balaji production but a web series made exclusively for Alt Balaji. The background score in it was also too distracting at first but toned down halfway through the series. I was so impressed by the show, the subtlety of it, the clear intentions and the story they had to tell. Why is it then that this subtlety and clarity is exclusive only to Ekta Kapoor’s web series and movies? Why has it never transcended on to daily soaps? Why not even a little? Surely you don’t think that the women watching TV at home don’t deserve it.