By: Pavithra Rao
'Kyunki Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin', 'Kahani Ek Anjaan Ladki Ki', 'Kya Remix Hain'. Confused? Does sound familiar though, right? Okay let's read all over again now. Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin, Ek Ladki Anjaani Si, Remix, so what do you have to say now?
Yes, you are right. They don't start with the 'K'. Looks like the soap producers and directors have suddenly learnt about the existence of the other 25 English alphabets. We now have soaps that have names sans that 'K'. So are the k-serials losing ground?
Not so long back, the women of the house made it a point to finish the household work before 8.30 PM every day. They would then sit on the comfortable sofas, of course with their handkerchiefs ready, to watch the chain of k-serials. Later on, the men in the house too joined the womenfolk. Both men and women enjoyed the family drama that was based on strong Indian values.
But now the trends are changing. The k-serials are now being pushed aside to make place for new soaps that are fresh and offer something new.
The popularity of the k-serials declined when they lost touch with the reality of the middle-class Indian. Be it the 'Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki', 'Kyunki' or the 'Kasautii', the characters in the soap always represented the elitist, opulent Indian. The flashy cars, the big joint families and their even bigger, well furnished houses, the fancy sarees and the costly jewellery, the women wear are elements that never existed in a common-man's life. If this was not enough, the women in the serials were always seen executing a plot against the good saas-bahus and the so-called well-cultured bahus are seen marrying not once or twice but thrice and having illegitimate children.
Earlier, the Indian audience was exposed only to the serials on the Doordarshan. The serials on DD always were very close to the life of people. But when Ekta Kapoor came out with her exotic settings the audience loved the change. The popularity of her serials rose. But now, looks like, her serials have reached the end of the road.
The audience today wants to see something different. They want a true representation of the middle-class reality, dreams and frustration. And that is when Jassi made her entry. People suddenly saw their life mirrored in 'Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin'. There was more reality and credibility in the soap. They also saw the resurgence of the middle-class with Jassi.
With Jassi the average viewer realised that this window shopping of affluence and grandeur did not translate into goodies in his bag. He was tired of these tantalising images, which only drove home the starkness of his own downmarket reality. Television was again at the crossroads when a middle-class girl tripped into a tired and bored public psyche and jolted the middle-class Indian out of this unreality-induced trance.
Not that in pre-Jassi days there were no attempts to glorify the girl next door. 'Kkusum' and 'Sanjeevani' had started out as a celebration of the grit and spunk of a common girl in the face of odds. But somewhere along the way, their protagonists too got entrapped in the power games being played out in the drawing rooms of the rich and infamous.
But there have lately emerged a genre of soaps whose storylines don't hang on plush, velvety curtains or on a brocade parade but on the props of credibility. 'Office Office' and 'Shri Sifarishilal' have enabled the common man to see corruption in a lighter vein. 'Astitva', 'Ek Ladki Anjaani Si', 'Khichdi' and others have emerged winners despite defying the 'K' formula because they explore the relationships of the common man or woman realistically without frills and melodrama.
With the audience shifting to soaps that deal with middle-class realities and life, the Indian television has completed one full cycle. The audience today again is looking for serials like 'Hum Log', 'Udaan', 'Rajni' and 'Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne'. But how long is this phase going to last? Only time will tell.