Well, everyone makes mistakes. Mine was that I sat in front of the TV to have my dinner while one of my Mom’s favourite serials, viz ‘Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chand‘, was on. Now as it happens, I find these ‘GHARELU’ serials utterly idiotic. I can’t understand how can anyone with even an iota of intelligence and common sense can stand these. This doesn’t means that I doubt my mom’s common sense or intelligence, who is quite worldly wise. (If she finds out that I wrote all this about HER serial, my blogging career will meet the same fate as that of my F1 career i.e. Shuru hone se pehle hi khatam) I once had one of my friends telling me to drive fast in Chandigarh because he was going to miss his favourite serial!! Which one, do you ask? Well, ‘Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chand‘ of course!!! I couldn’t believe that the guy sitting behind me on a Bullet ACTUALLY LIKED one of those weepy soaps. But people are strange, you know ….
In this particular episode which I had to tolerate, a guy is shown asking Pammi to come and see him “… bas ek aakhri baar…” (How many times have we heard this line? Itni ginti to mujhe school mein bhi nahi sikhayee thi!) Pammi addresses the guy by the name of ‘Raj’. I, being as confused as ever, am asking questions and my mom trying to convince me in vain that all this isn’t as crap as I might be thinking due to my limited exposure to ‘GHARELU’ soaps. The conversation, originally in Panjabi but translated for masses, went like this …
Me:– Who is this guy?
Mom: Yeh Dev hai.
Me:– Par yeh Dev thode hi hai. Yeh to Raj hai. Dev to vo doosra wala nahi tha?
Mom: Yehi Dev hai. Usne iski shakal badal di.
Me:– Usne??? Kisne?
Mom: Rohan ne.
Me:– Kyu? Rohan ne kaise badal di? (Shakal hai ke shirt?! ... ke jisne chaahe, jab chaahe badal di!)
Mom: Vo ilaaj ke liye aaya tha aur isne iski shakal hi badal di.
Me:– Ooooohhh … Achcha, achcha. (Like that explained everything. But I'm none the wiser.)
By now, Pammi has come to meet Raj (Dev?!) in a garden … and it is night time. (Ab koi mujhe bataye ke kaunse ‘sharif’ gharane ki bahu-betiyan raat to kisi ko bhi milne bagichon mein ghoomti firti hain?)
Me:– Par agar iski shakal badal di hai to yeh bol ke to bata hi sakta hai ke ye Raj nahi Dev hai. Yeh Raj ban ke kyu ghoom raha hai?
Mom: Arrre iski yaadasht chali gayi hai. (OoooKaaay. To kahani mein twist hai. Aise twist to purani hindi filmon mein hote the. Par baat ab samajh mein aa rahi hai thodi-thodi)
Me:– Achcha, achcha. To yeh Dev hai jiski yaadasht chali gayi hai aur yeh Raj ban gaya hai.
(... there is silence for a while .... par mere dimaag ke ghode abhi bhi daud rahe hain)
Me:– Par agar iski yaadasht chali gayi hai aur ise khud hi nahi pata ke ye Dev hai to fir Pammi ise kaise Dev samajh rahi hai? (Bolo Bolo Tell Tell)
Mom: Offf Oooh. (a bit irritated) Pammi ne Rohan ke computer mein Dev ki photo dekh li thi par Rohan baat ko taal gaya. Isliye Pammi ko shaq hai. Changa, hun mainnu serial dekh lain de.
Till then, the mid-night garden tete-a-tete between Pammi and Raj (Dev?!) is over and Pammi returns home fully convinced that Raj actually IS Dev. Later she asks for a divorce from Rohan. (Yes, yes, she had married Rohan thinking Dev to be dead! But now that she knows the Sachchai, how can she remain married to Rohan.) Parivaar par pahaar toot para. Everyone is dumbstruck. High volume background music and compulsary close-up shot of entire star-cast is in order. Lo and Behold, it happens! Eyes wide open, some filled with tears, mouths agape, quivering lips and all that. I’ll never know whether these close-up shot sequences are in alphabetical order or according to the seniority of the star-cast, … or according to the height of the actors to minimise the adjustment of the camera position! Anyway, Rohan rushes out of the room, all fuming.
Next scene : Raj (Dev?? … whoever) is shown sitting on a garden-bench, playing a mouth-organ. (!!!) (I mean, c’mon. A mouth-organ!! … in the mid of night … and in a garden!! How can anybody make a whole family sleepless and then go to a garden to play a tune on mouth organ??!!)
Mom:O vekh. ‘Tune’ vi ohi vajaa reha hai jehdi Dev vajaounda hunda si! See? He IS Dev.
I’m rolling my eyes and shaking my head. If he doesn’t even remembers himself or his past then how come he remembers a ‘tune’? And if he doesn’t remembers anybody else then how does he ‘remembers’ Pammi? And why is he pestering Pammi?! I needed immense will-power to stop myself from banging my head on a wall!!
But my attention turns back to the TV screen when the camera, from a low angle, shows a shadow approaching Raj (Dev?!) from behind. A baseball bat flashes through and Raj (Dev?!) slumps to the ground holding his head. The assailant brings out a gun from his pocket and shoots rapidly on Raj/Dev. (Arre bhai, agar bandook jeb mein hai to yeh baseball kit saath lekar kyun ghoom raha hai? ... ab main apne baal na nochun to aur kya karun?!!) And predictably, the assailant turns out to be Rohan. Thank you very much.
Now the thing worrying me is that the kids, in our very homes, are taking their life-lessons from such serials. Serials where extra-marital affairs, divorces, murderous plans, ‘Barbaad karne ki kasmein‘ etc are staple fare. Revenge is the motto of life. Where the only kind of love is ‘Obsessive love’. Children born out of wedlock resurface after 20-25 years to claim ‘Baap ka pyaar‘ and ‘Maa ka adhikaar‘. Where there is politics between Saas – Bahu or Choti Bahu – Bari Bahu to let each other down. Where all that the male characters seem to be doing is to play in the hands of their ever-scheming wives and show anguish over ‘Ghar ke haalaat‘. Despite the lavish lifestyles, nobody seems to be doing anything except plotting. Male members go to office, only for some more politics. I’m not sure what kind of businesses are they running but I’ll sure love to have one of my own where you get huge bunglows and big cars by doing NOTHING!! Only the naiveness and stupidity of the characters moves the story forward, if there is any story at all, that is.
Ask any school going kid who wrote any of their text-books and they will dig their left toe in ground, grin and say “Pata nahi.” But ask them who made these ‘GHARELU’ serials and they are all excited when they say “Ekta Kapoor”. They even know, “She is Jitendra’s daughter”. I mean, I’m not talking about any leading star but a PRODUCER!! They even know who the producer is! They can tell you all about what is happenning in Parvati’s or Tulsi’s house, but might not be able to tell their own grandfather’s name! They think that speaking out aloud and making evil facial expressions while thinking is perfectly normal.
Another thing that bugs me to the hilt is the overuse of the theme songs as the background music. On the slightest pretext, the music comes to the foreground in full blast while the actors display their range of melodramatic expressions. It doesn’t matters what the situation is – happy, sad or anything, the same record is played everywhere as in Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. Is the music director underpayed or what? Or is that the best he can do? There are better ways to cut costs, if thats the intention. Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki finished 3 years of its “successful” run that day (I know because my folks went on to see that ‘Congratulatory episode’ too!!), and I realised that they have been playing the same music every night for the LAST 3 YEARS!! I have this feeling that the ‘die hard loyalists’ of these soaps are now chanting even their morning Aartis in the tunes of their favourite soap theme songs!! Just imagine for a second, ‘Om Jai Jagdish Hare‘ set on the tune of ‘Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi‘!!
Post Edit : I’m sure these guys are also proving to be a nightmare for the General Insurance companies with one car accident a week on an average. Anybody who is a bit ‘upset’, chaabi ghumata hai aur gaadi lekar nikal padta hai! After that they pretend to drive at light speed while the car is actually moving only at 23.5 kmph (Bachcha samajh rakha hai kya??)They look like those kids who are sitting on their ‘Tobu’ cycle and pretending to be driving the Bat-car!! Then they choose a sturdy looking tree and try performing the ‘monkey climb’. But of course the car refuses to do so and stays at the bottom. And quite predictably, nobody is wearing a seat-belt (and air-bags are only a distant dream yet). A good smaritan deposits them at a hospital and their “Main kaun hoon? Main kahaan hoon?” drama starts. Yaadasht ko to ECE ka bulb samajh rakha hai. Apni marzi se ON - OFF karte rehte hain.
Btw, one thing i’ll never be able to guess is how did Rohan KNOW that Raj/Dev is playing his fovourite tune, sitting on his favourite bench in his favourite garden ??!!!