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Serials goes off-air without proper ending

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

How many of you remember the end of your favourite serials on television? Don't be surprised if you find yourself scratching your head and straining to remember because most popular soaps on television don't exactly end. They are either abruptly taken off air or trail off into absurdity.

So what forces the producer to pull off a show without finishing it decently? Neeraj Grover, creative head of "Har Ghar Kuch Kehta Hai", a serial by Shreya creations, says: "When a channel is unhappy with the TRP, it asks the production house to wrap up the show. In today's industry, such is the cut-throat competition between channels for higher TRP ratings that they always want to have only those shows that get them maximum TRPs."

At times, the producer takes the revamp route to save the serial from going bust. For example, "Kajal" was given a completely new get-up after rumours did the rounds that it was going off-air. Neeraj elaborates how another popular serial "Mamta" was recently revamped. "They have restored new sets and the story has taken a year's leap. A new character will break the monotony of the serial." A few such revamps manage to drag on a serial for years, till the audience gets mired in the twists and turns, reincarnations and revenges, and confessions and betrayals which are part of the story.

Serials under the Balaji banner are most famous, rather infamous, for their seismic shifts in the plot. Creative head of "Mamta", Anumeha, who has worked with Balaji before, says: "Balaji leads because it has the courage to experiment. The stories often address social problems like bomb blasts and floods, to make people aware of the issues."

The latest attempt in this direction has been in an episode of "Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii", which is based on the grave issue of marital rape. Parvati is shown going against her own grandson Pranay after he rapes his wife Maithili. This divides the Agrawal family into two groups – one section wanting to keep the incident hush-hush to save their social status and the other supporting Parvati. The latter's daughter Shruti also goes against her. The makers of the serial then thought it wise to let the viewers choose how the story should progress. Finally, an audience poll concluded that Parvati should help her daughter-in-law Maithili get justice. Besides building a healthy rapport with the audience, the poll also helped in deciding the upcoming script. Balaji production "Kasauti Zindagi Kay" is also all set to witness a big twist in the tale with Mr. Bajaj's reentry into the show.

For those serial-makers who want to keep it simple, a straight end to the story works wonders. "Ek Ladki Anjani Si", the Hindi adaptation of successful Venezuelan show "Juana La Virgen", is another serial that is reportedly wrapping up. Sheel Kumar, head of Shreya Creations, says: "We have already completed 400 episodes and it's the oldest running show on Sony TV. The story is going on and on and the fact that it has served this long makes me a happy man." So what can the audience expect from the serial? "A happy ending, what else?" he quips. Misha Gautam, the creative head of the serial, says: "Yes, it's going off the air. The character of Dhruv played by Cezzane Khan will die, and Ananya and Nikhil will finally unite, bringing the curtains down on the show."

Yet, there are some serials which seem to have no end, with the script roping in just about anybody remotely related to the main characters and narrating their tales over generations. In the Janmashtami special episode of "Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi", Karan and Nandini jump to their death in a valley. Their deaths are the start of a new sub-story now. How will Bhoomi find out the reason behind her parents' death? Is Tanya, Karan's wife, responsible for the tragedy? With so many loose ends, when and how will the serial wrap up? Creative director of Balaji, Nivedita Basu, had a half-shocked, half-amused reaction on her face when asked this question. "Kyunki? Wrap up ????" she asks, adding in an affirmative tone ""Kyunki" will not wind up for years to come".

"In my opinion, I think a logical end to the story is very important so that even after it goes off-air people remember it. The last shot has to be the best shot," avers Neeraj. We totally agree, Neeraj, and so would the audience, we are sure.

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