Thought and Reason

Meaningfully Mindless

You are tired after a long day.. whether you work from an office or from home, whether you do a lot, or nothing. The daily grind does suck the life out of you! Tune into a ‘meaningful’ news channel, and all you get to see is scams, scandals and unimaginably horrendous crimes that make you lose faith! This is where ‘mindless’ television serials step in, to rescue us.

Tune into ANY Indian entertainment channel.. Star, Sony, Colours..etc. there are all the SAME!

The same glamorous bungalows, where nobody seems to have a 9-5 job like the rest of us mere mortals do, the same women dressed in all their finery, wondering who is plotting against who!

Watching the same shocked expression on every family member (in slow motion) can actually be quite therapeutic. Because it is in these moments, that I do not have to think! I get to ignore (albeit temporarily), the bills lying on the table, the books yearning to be read and the empty dishes that will soon have a dry crust!

How much effort can it take to watch a ‘mother in law’ dressed in finery, authoritatively telling her meek son and pretty daughter-in-law with long flowing hair (who by the way, is also decked in jewellery like she is a walking banner advertisement for a jewellery store!) what to do. How much do you really exert your senses to watch another grandiose creature ‘plotting’ to kill her own sister or sister-in-law for some vague reason that nobody remembers?! See, that is where Indian soaps can help us unwind. Watch it in zombie mode, and you will eventually realise that your office related stress is perhaps preferred 😉

So what is wrong with Indian television? (asked HT, and loads of us bloggers replied). Here’s what:

  1. ‘Super-women’: Almost all our programmes are women-centric. ‘Now what’s wrong with that??!’ The problem is, every protagonist is not just an average woman but a super-woman! Quiet, ‘docile’, woman of ‘inner strength’ (how do you even measure that???!!), dons a pallu and covers her head in the presence of elders, addresses her husband with a ‘ji’ suffix! Whatever happened to women who need not be perfect, and who need not be on a pedestal??! How about a normal women, perfect with all her imperfections?!
  2. Sense and sensibility: I know I said Indian television is therapeutic. Even in that ‘paradise’ however, we do need some semblance of sense and sensibility. Will it harm us too much, if we made more programmes like ‘Satyameva Jayate’ or ‘Laakhon mein ek’?!
  3. REAL problems: In the same vein, I wonder why every second story depicts the ‘trials and tribulations’ of a new bride in a joint family, or a girl who is unable to find a ‘suitor’ at all?! What about REAL problems like eve-teasing on the roads, gruesome rape in a moving bus, the ability to balance a good career with family-life? Will we ever get to watch a programme made about people like you and me?!
  4. Mush overdose: Ok, I’ll confess. I like M&Bs. I think they score much better than the over-rated ‘fifty-shades-series’. But the mush in our serials is a serious over-dose! Imagine copying some of romantic scenes – the gazing in eyes –soft background score – caresses in ‘slow motion’. Euuuggghh…gaze into my eyes for 2 minutes and I’ll wonder if you’ve lost it!!!
  5. Ancestral property: I have seen just one bungalow in my entire life. And even that was minuscule in comparison to the HUGE houses that feature on television! Can we get more real, please?
  6. Mini-Bollywood scenes: Forget the trauma of watching an overweight Ram Kapur romancing ‘oh so perfect’ Parvati bhabhi! What’s with soaps aping Bollywood romance? Show some creativity, folks!
  7. Hair: Yes, you read it right. Hair. I really do not get the point about every female protagonist having long, luscious, shiny black hair. How do they go about their daily life? Cooking? Cleaning? Just .. living?!! You want to make a woman-centric programme? Go ahead, do it. But please, show someone with normal dry/limp/frizzy hair! I promise you, it will not affect your TRPs!
  8. Where are the children? : Nobody is ever prepared for parenthood. When it strikes, it sucks you into an endless cycle of nappies, runny noses, bruises! Where have all the children disappeared from our television serials? The few kids that are infact around, only do a cameo! (But hey, to be fair, I guess being a parent myself, if I had to watch one more crying baby on TV, I might just suffer a breakdown!! Okay, I’ll leave the kids out!)
  9. Regressive dressing: One look at the attire of the artists, and you know exactly what is wrong. Heavy silks, light chiffons, matching heavy jewellery – makes me wonder if we are indeed living in the 21st century or some medieval era?!
  10. Recession, really? One unique feature in every soap that never ceases to amaze me is: None of the actors EVER has a 9-5 job. What is the scene? Recession or Ancestral wealth?!

So yeah, our soaps are absolutely mindless. However, since they do help the ‘unwinding’ process, it would be nice to infuse a teeny weeny bit of sense into these programs,. That would just ease our way back into the ‘real’ world the next morning!

Movie Review Thought and Reason

Constant Change, and an anchor in turbulence

‘Change is the rule of nature’ – The Bhagavat Gita

How many times have we heard that Change alone, is constant?

As we rapidly outgrow innocent childhood and move into complex adulthood,and lose our baby fat to make place for hardened larder and cholesterol, most of us also leave our homeland in search of greener pastures. And every day, every year we see change. We are innundated with material comforts and are left gasping for a breath of fresh air. We see money and clutter all around, but are left yearning for that elusive inner peace.

I too, have seen a bit of turbulence over the last five years – crossing seas, witnessing and experiencing recession, stepping into the threshold of motherhood, etc.

The silver lining is, I have (contrary to the saying in the Bhagavat Gita), found something that has indeed remained constant  all through these turbulent times.

‘Kkasauti Zindagi Ki’ !

I turned on the TV last night, and found this Kk soap on air. Choosing between Naya Don and this wasn’t an easy task. Both were equally agonising. However, it had been ages since I saw Kk, so I decided to give it a shot. Just to catch up on the story, you know.

And guess what? Nothing, absolutely NOTHING had changed!

Prerna (the protagonist) is a grandmother now, but she still looks like she is in her 30s. The same open tresses, gaudy chandelier earrings, bejewelled sarees, and the same irritating expression of anguish and hope on her same-looking face.

The same situation, of an ex(lover/husband/what have you!)-turned-villain trying to expose her ‘raaz’ (secret), and in the attempt, unwittingly reuniting her ‘parivaar'(family).

The most antogonising part however was, that the camera showed the SAME dumbfounded expression on each face on the screen, with jarring sound-effects every time the shot switched between the protagonist and the ‘current’ villain and back again, EIGHT times in FOUR seconds. The extras (hubby calls them ‘tea-bun’, meaning, they play insignificant roles and idle around with a cup of tea and a bun!!) are also paralyzed with ‘shocked’ expressions from various angles and in various stills and replays.

The scenes and situations are the same, the actors are also the same, despite taking leaps forward in time. The jewellery and accessories are the same. Infact everything is the same as it used to be when the soap was first aired on TV.

So you see, ‘change’ is not always the rule of nature. Ekta Kapoor defies this logic. It is certainly not absurd that a ‘dadi’ (granny) still looks like a ‘didi’ (sister).

And everytime there is a change in my life…like staying at home after losing a job, or trying to settle down into foreign surroundings, there is something I can fall back on. I only have to tune into ‘Chaahat ke safar mein…. and I am instantly cheered up, as I feel like I am back to the good ol’ days! The cheer just seeps through the long-lasting headache that the soap leaves me with.

The gist of this post is, Change may be constant, but with a stabilizer like the Kk soaps, there isn’t much need to worry!