After a long time, I got chance to see every possible genre of TV programming in India and I switched from Hindi Satellite to Bengali Satellite to News. And given that I strongly believe our daily soaps are an exaggerated but quite true version of our society at large, it was not very difficult to comprehend the reasons behind the mammoth changes our world is going through.
The plots, the twists and the turns were all there but what was most interesting to observe was that except in one particular soap the protagonist was never the male. Bengali soap operas were throwing up strong women characters dime a dozen and the men refreshingly were playing a complete second fiddle. In fact in some of them there were downright; for the lack of a better word, clueless about their own existence!
Sample this, the women of Bengali soap operas are superwomen; they manage their careers and family with aplomb, have perfected the roles of the family matriarch and do not hesitate to give the men their share of feeling important and in control.
The men on the other hand, whine and whine and whine some more while waiting to be rescued and shown direction by someone clearly more capable and yet sermonize about tradition and values whenever they get a chance. Sometimes it clearly shows that the women give a rat’s ass about what the men say. It’s so refreshing after almost a decade of saas-bahus ruling the roost.
Finally it also dawned on Bade Achhe Lagte Hain to call it a day. About time, like everything else we rarely understand the importance of closure at the right time when you are on a high. On the other hand, someone in Kolkata had the brilliant idea of replicating Balika Badhu, frame by frame for the Bengali audience; who for all they are worth; do not yet get Hindi as well as they think they do.
Hindi Satellite is also not falling behind. With all its creative liberties Mahabharat remains one of the best retellings of mythology and epic genre on Indian Television. The premise of another amongst the the highest TRPed shows is based on an age old movie of Rekha and while starting in an interesting note, it completely lost its way and given the creative powerhouse in the country, it too has a rip off in Bengali. Coming back from the dead always has an interesting angle.
Reality shows continue to glue people to their seats and I watched one more season of Roadies and Splitsvilla. Raghu and Nikhil’s trousers keep getting more and more fluorescent by the year and finally it’s Sunny in my living room once again.
Oh and while I am at this, it’s so much fun to poke fun at those who only watch the TV series to figure out what happened at the Red Wedding and thereafter.