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Soap operas on Indian screens

Thursday, July 06, 2006

From the first major television series Mahabharat and Ramayana in the late 1980's to Hum Log,Rajni, Shanthi, Circus, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, Banegi Apne Baath to K-dominated serials , Indian Television has been moving time and beyond. Rona -Dona is the key factor in today's soap operas along with nasty mothers in--law, conspiring daughters- in- laws, irate bosses and love triangles and a Cinderella' God mother. We do have an enormous variety of actors portraying various emotions of love,anger,jealousy,greed,scorn,ambition and liveliness by muttering dialogues from their lips which are smeared heavily with bright coats of lipstick. Songs have been incorporated into serials to elicit dreams and reveries .

New age serials were inaugurated with the advent of the Queen of Indian Television-Ekta Kapoor known widely for her idiosyncrasy attached to the alphabet 'k' which has to start for each and every serial or movie under her banner namely,Balaji Telefilms.Kavitha, Kkusum,Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Thi , Kahanii Ghar Ghar Kii, Kasautii Zindagi Kii,Koi Apna Sa, Kahin Kisi Roz, Kkutumb are some of the few serials by this creative head which makes her the 'Undisputed Queen of Indian Television.'

Soap operas have served as a daily dose of entertainment, thanks to the new array of channels of mushrooming on our television screen. The serials showcased today cover events and incidents in our life with a tinge of fantasy ,after all no one really wears Zari saris at home or apply loads of garish makeup even if you are a Sethani. Indian soap operas have provided viewers with a lot of anticipation towards watching the next episode of their favourite soap. No one can forget how the sudden Mihir Virani caused a lot of dismay and heart break to millions of viewers who insisted that he should be resurrected from life!

Soap operas have contributed immensely to the growth of Indian Television in it's entirety. The Indian Television industry is booming like never before generating a lot of employment to technicians from make up artists to cameramen and upcoming actors from small towns. Indian soaps have launched stars like Smrithi Irani, Rajeev Khandelwal, Mandira Bedi and Mona Singh in serials like Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahin Tho Hoga , Shanthi and Jassi Jaise Koi Nahin.

Some of the super characters presented on television serve as custodians to the voiceless and oppress. We can find innumerable instances in front of the idiot box. For example, Jassi, played by Mona Singh was a representation of the ugly duckling being exploited and humiliated by her superiors and transforms into a beautiful swan not just by hard work but by her rejuvenating makeover. Shaina of Kahin Kisi Roz fame played by Mouli Ganguli portrayed the cleverness of a witty daughter-in-law who constantly is under a death threat from her vicious mother-in-law played by Sudha Chandran.

However, a lot of criticism is bring meted out on these new age serials. The 'K- serials' have been thrashed by critics as being very highly melodramatic, endorsing bigamous marriages, mindless resurrections of favourite characters, filmy narratives, unauthenticated medical information and well worked out miracles for the 'goody' bahus.Nevertheless, soap operas serve as a staple diet for our daily dose of evening entertainment. For some viewers, it may be entertaining and for the rest it's pile of thrash... what's your take on these serials?

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