Thursday, August 07, 2008

Fuz-Zee logic

Sis (on phone) - So what were you doing?
Me - Nothing much. Just got back from the office, finished making dinner. Watching TV now.
Sis - What were you watching?
Me - Oh, Desperate Housewives.
Sis - Desperate Housewives?? Ha ha ha!
Me (offended) - Hey! It's a smart show, okay?!

Another evening...

Sis - So what were you doing?
Me - Nothing. Just watching TV.
Sis - What were you watching?
Me - Oh, Ugly Betty.
Sis - Ugly Betty?? Ha ha ha!
Me (offended) - Hey! It's a very clever show, okay?!
Sis - What is with you and these shows?

I wasn't sure if she was talking about shows whose names started with an adjective, or commenting on my general taste in TV.

Me - I watch other stuff too...
Sis - Like what?
Me - Like Zee TV?
Sis - What on Zee TV?
Me - *mumbles incoherently*
Sis - What???
Me - Okay fine, I watch Banoo Main Teri Dulhan!
Sis - Banoo Main what?!
Me - Teri Dulhan!
Sis - *stony silence*

And just when I thought she'll shriek a "Oh my goodness! Me too!" thus bonding us forever in a bond beyond sisterhood, she laughed. That's right. She just laughed. In my face. Except that she was on the phone on the other side of the world so technically it wasn't in my face. But she laughed.

Sis - Ha ha ha! Ha ha ha!
Me - Hey!
Sis - What? This is a 'clever show' too?? Ha ha ha!
Me - Fine, laugh all you want.

So here's the thing. I watch this show. I can't imagine why, but I do remember how I got started.

8 pm is my free time. I get home from office at 7 pm, and am done with making dinner by 8 pm. On the rare days when I'm not being hounded by my publisher for manuscripts, I do a variety of things - check email, blog, reply to comments, check Facebook, read the news, and watch TV. So it was just another 8 pm when I stumbled across this serial while channel-surfing. Mom was here then, and both of us started watching it, and she told me a bit of the background.

Evil woman wearing a cotton sari, and most importantly, NOT wearing dark blue eye make-up or purple lipstick, AND wearing a blouse with her sari (you don't see a lot of hindi serial vamps doing that), enters the room and the background is filled with a resounding echo, “Sindoooraaaa!” Ha ha ha! I liked it so much I considered hiring people to say “Sayeshaaaaa!” every time I entered a room. Imagine me entering a meeting room in the office, and everyone standing up to the echo of “Sayeshaaaaa!” Muahahaha!

Last year when I was trying to decide which of the hindi channels to subscribe to, I asked my mom for suggestions. “I have time for only one. Whichever has the least number of saas-bahu serials.” I told her. She suggested Zee, not just because it doesn't have any Ekta Kapoor serials but also because of Saregamapa which she knows I love. Ah well, the last season of Saregamapa put me off because Amanat did not win, and Aneek “poor man’s Sonu” Dhar and Raja “poor man’s Sukhwinder” Hassan did. Also, the hounding publishers started to take up a lot more of my after-office hours. But I still did not want to unsubscribe to Zee as it was my only link to Bollywood trailers. (Of course, lately what I only see is Harman “Harry Puttar” Baweja going, “What? The parday’s over?” Sheesh.)

Mom went back to India, but I continued watching it. It was interesting at first. Good guy and good girl are good-looking people. Hell, even Sindoora is good-looking, albeit on a scary level. The saas was nice for a change. The serial was not called 'Kkkaun Hai Terii Dulhan?' The atypical nature of the serial may have been what attracted me to it initially, but lately it has become as typical as it can get. Every must-have element of a typical hindi serial has been used. Sample the following:

Access to all kinds of deadly living and non-living things
The ease with which evil woman Sindoora manages to get her hand on everything that can kill amazes me. Guns, knives, liquid poison, powdered poison, snakes, scorpions - you name it, she produces it from the pallu of her starched cotton sari!

Dhakkan good guy
The good guy is a dhakkan. He has no frickin’ clue that evil woman is trying to kill him. He has been shot at, stabbed, run over by a truck, flung into the river, put in the same bed as a snake and a scorpion, but he thinks she is devi ka swaroop and that good girl is a liar. No wonder the good girl is so frustrated. One of these days she will just leave him and the darn serial will come to an end. No dulhan, no serial.

Sidekick sister
So Sindoora has a sidekick sister whose sole purpose in the serial is to go, “Lekin aapne aisa kyun kiya?” every 5 minutes so Sindoora has a chance to explain her painfully obvious evil schemes to the audience.

Dead but not dead
I have lost count of the number of characters who have died, but didn’t actually die, and reappeared with all sorts of ahem… ‘explanations’ of how they did not actually die.

Rebirth
Just when you watch Sindoora kill good guy and good girl and you go, “Aha! Nice try! They are so not dead!” it appears they really are. "Twist in plot" you see. And the only way to make them come back is for them to be born again. And thus starts phase II (bees saal baad) where everyone looks and talks differently. Sindoora now sports translucent long-sleeved blouses with her saris and a ring which is as big as her nose. Good guy is now some Banaras ka chhora-ganga-kinaare-wala, and good girl has forsaken her phase I pativrata saris for short dresses (temporarily, of course. The moment she remembers her past life, she promptly switches back to her saris and vrats and what not). Everyone has changed. Except grandma, who brings me to my next point.

Super old grandma
So the grandma exists in both phases, which are incidentally two decades apart, and yet looks exactly the same in both. Gotta find out the name of the night cream she uses.

Zoom in zoom out
Anytime anything (1) happy, (2) sad, (3) shocking, (4) surprising, or (5) ironic happens, the camera pans to the face of each of the characters present around the incident, including the children, pets and soft toys. It focuses on each face for about 10 seconds and then suddenly starts zooming in and out as if possessed. If they didn't have this, each episode would last a grand total of seven minutes.

Cheesy coincidences
In phase I, good girl is Vidya and good guy is Sagar. In phase II, good girl is Divya (wah wah!) and good guy is … no, not Gasar as you’d think (well, I did!), but just plain old Amar. But he is a tourist guide whose taxi is called 'Vidyasagar'. Wah wah!

Amnesia and other strange diseases
Of course. No serial is complete without the mandatory amnesia which makes the good guy forget that the good woman is good and the evil woman is evil. And then there's the very popular disease where a man has the mind of a child. So the 20-something Sagar runs around in a Disney T-shirt and shorts with suspenders, and a cap, and perpetually holding a lollipop, while dulhan Divya runs after him to 'cure him with her love'.

Baby-swapping
So the babies are swapped at birth, exchanged 20 years later, and the good guy decides to entirely ditch the parents who brought him up, and enjoy his newfound daulat which he is the sole heir to.

Item numbers and cameos
Every ten episodes, there’s an item number where characters from all Zee TV serials make random appearances. Good guy misses good girl as he walks through the park, and what do we see? All the other serials’ couples strewn over the benches of the park, reminding him of good times with good girl.

Changing actors
Every twenty episodes, we also see a subtitle over a completely fresh face with the text “The character of XYZ will now be played by this actor/actress.” After a while, you just lose it. What if they change the actress who plays Sindoora? I think the people who do the ‘Sindoooooraaaa!’ echo will also get confused when to do it.

The know-it-all babaji
The babaji apparently knows it all, and for the last twenty years he has been telling Sindoora “Sheegra hi tumhara sarvanash hone wala hai.” It’s been twenty frickin’ years! Give up, old man. You don’t exactly know-it-all.

Changing servants
Every time Ramu Kaka appears, it’s a different guy. Maybe the director just catches hold of any random spot boy and asks him to step in.
Director – Oye, chai rakh aur idhar aa. Aaj tu Ramu Kaka hai. Yeh le, dialogue yaad kar.
Spot boy – Ji, sa’ab.
Director – Arre wah! Shabash! Badi jaldi yaad kar liya! Yehi toh bolna hai tujhe scene mein!

Sometimes, as I settle down on the couch at 8 pm every day and turn on the TV, I wonder - why, oh why, am I still watching it???



29 comments:

venkatesan said...

Gold for me:

Kanan said...

I'm sorry but I just couldn't go past "Evil woman wearing a cotton sari..." :P

Do I get silver? *my first time!!!* *bright eyed smile*

Archana said...

ROFL @ "good guy is … no, not Gasar as you’d think,"

Oh boy - kudos to you for watching this kkkkrap :-P! But ya, I guess watching brain-dead serials at the end of the day gives you a more favorable view of a hectic workday :-D!

sumgum said...

OMG....This is fun...;)

I remember last year i was in India and got hooked to many of these Dramas...I told my Mom to keep me updated on wats happening...and as expected....the whole year has been a few decades and everything has changed....but the Story apparently didnt move a bit....its all the same....The Good Girl and Guy fighting the Evil....its fun....

Kkkkkyukkkkki...Hum nahi Badlenge....;)

Stone said...

Dialogue – Arre wah! Shabash! Badi jaldi...

:-)

Satish said...

kyunki dil hai hindustani bhai.

maine dekha hai yeh serial, btw.

~anu~ said...

// no, not Gasar as you’d think

man!! cant stop laughing.. bhai ekdum mast hai.. lage raho! :) :)

Nidhi said...

Hahaha...just cant believe you watch this saas bahu serial. Try "Dill Mill Gayye" if you'd like to. It's a cute romantic serial wid a medical backdrop (and no vamps, good guys, bad guys here)

And yeah, a lil off track...but thought of sharing this link wid you...

http://www.hsbc.com/1/2/newsroom/news/news-archive-2008/hsbc-survey-reveals-best-expat-locations

Nidhi said...

Ohh..the link din't come properly...trying again

http://www.hsbc.com/1/2/newsroom/news/news-archive-2008/
hsbc-survey-reveals-best-expat-locations

Wendelin said...

lol (really. not just loi (laughing on inside).)

my inexplicable addiction was "7th Heaven"... it was on par with most saas-bahu serials, but featured a whiter-than-white church family living in california. as an example of its badness, let me tell you they had a series finale preceded by major fanfare, and then because so many people tuned in to celebrate the show's death, they used the ratings as an excuse to continue for a whole 'nother season.

UGH.

aequo animo said...

oh, for that comfort of familiarity and the greed for satire :D.., shame on you sayesha!! ;)

Sakhi said...

ROFL :D :D :D

CodeSmith said...

"Lekin aapne aisa kyun kiya...?" May be the thing is for the stupid director (the entire crew in fact) to help them understand the story once they sit down to watch the episode after making it. After all, they must also get to enjoy the "thrill" of the serial completely.

"the camera pans to the face of each of the characters present around the incident, including the children, pets and soft toys.....If they didn't have this, each episode would last a grand total of seven minutes."
ROFLed.

"Arre wah! Shabash! Badi jaldi yaad kar liya! Yehi toh bolna hai tujhe scene mein!" hahaha...Really Good one.

If only Ekta Kapoor gets to read this post....

Anup said...

You are very patient. Thats a heckova lot of work.

Trinaa said...

y indeed..?

Reema said...

I believe the thing with these serials is that its similar to substance abuse. u know its bad but u just cant give it up!

SilenceKilled said...

AWESOME!

"Changing servants
Every time Ramu Kaka appears, it’s a different guy. Maybe the director just catches hold of any random spot boy and asks him to step in.
Director – Oye, chai rakh aur idhar aa. Aaj tu Ramu Kaka hai. Yeh le, dialogue yaad kar.
Spot boy – Ji, sa’ab.
Director – Arre wah! Shabash! Badi jaldi yaad kar liya! Yehi toh bolna hai tujhe scene mein!"

This is just so funny....

Tarun said...

*Ji Saab*

ROFL Bhai

A G said...

Hehehe ...being frank..didnt read the post fully!

just too happy that you watch the same shows i do..but i watch this other one called bones too!

but these days i watch only banoo..cause star world has disappeared from our cable for the past three weeks! its quite sad...especially second season ugly betty is starting this monday! :(

Do feel bad for me :(

And i should show my sis this she laughs at me too! (she does'nt have a tv at home..no time for it!!)

mythalez said...

aah, am amazed at your patience to watch and then blog about these ... err ... serials !!

VIDYA said...

omg!Hilarious!!!Loved the zoom in zoom out feature!Laughed for about 10 whole minutes after reading that particular para...
P.S:jUS WHEN do you blog?I want to bag gold atleast once!:(

chirpy-paaro said...

One more thing I have noticed.. Sindura has infinite Saris... same cloth same pattern,....bas different colors.... dont they get borrrred...

Sayesha said...

#Venkatesan,
:)

#Kanan,
Hehehe! Next post par gold! ;)

#Archana,
Hey long time Arch! Hope you're good! :)

#Sumgum,
Hehehehehe! :P

#Stone,
Sheesh! There has to be some guy out there who only has mistakes to point out. Supari nikaalega apun tera! :D

#Satish,
Hehe... sahi bola!

#~anu~,
Thank you. :)

#Nidhi,
Eeeeks! Dill Mill Gayye?? Itne saare double consonants?? :O

Thanks for the link! :)

#Wendelin,
Hey, welcome back! And congratulations! :)

#Aequo animo,
Right back at ya.

#Sakhi,
:D

#Codesmith,
Thanks! :)

#Anup,
Thank you. :)

#Trinaa,
I ask you, you ask me? :P

#Reema,
Hahaha! Nice analogy! :D

#SilenceKilled,
Thanks! :)

#Tarun,
Thank you! :D

#A G,
I really like Ugly Betty too! :)

#Mythalez,
Hehehe! :P

#VIDYA,
Thank you! :)

//P.S:jUS WHEN do you blog?I want to bag gold atleast once!:(

Hahaha! :D

#Paaro,
That's true. :)

Bivas said...

yesh...so why ARE you watching it still?!!
//The know-it-all babaji
The babaji apparently knows it all, and for the last twenty years he has been telling Sindoora “Sheegra hi tumhara sarvanash hone wala hai.” It’s been twenty frickin’ years! Give up, old man. You don’t exactly know-it-all.


Loved this part :D

Stupidosaur said...

They say its a small world.
Thats only partial truth.
Actually the universal set of world, TV and blogsphere is a small small place. As I discovered this weekend.

I was channel surfing through whatever free-to-air channels we get at my house. I reached Zee smile (the one which airs that movie bhai is unaware of (haaaaaaaaaw) (this bracket is to point out I used brackets within brackets(haaaaaaaaw)(not again!(haaaaaaw!..........))))

There is this dhakkan like looking chap and a trying-to-look-elegant khambhe jaisi khadi ladi (I mean lady),at a place which has a board of......Singapore General Hospital! They are doing some talking with the (Indian!) receptionist. The dhakkan is constantly smiling like a retard and adjusting the bag he is holding...anyways after giving so many details, let me say I'll just skip the details!

Next scene: There is a chubby kid doing homework, and an evil looking (in some vague way) lady in white. Background track "Sindooooora..."!!!!!!!. The details such as relation of that chubby fellow with the two of the previous scene is irrelevant and his wishing that they succeed in the 'mission' is irrelevant.

What is of note here is that I randomly reached a scene of this very serial for the very first time just one or two days after I read about it at Singapuri Sayesha's blog and the first scene I see is the dhakkan and his bottle (Hmmm ladies do have the shape of decorative bottles I just realised while writing this) somewhere in 'Singapore' (of course the prop must have been in India)! The very second scene is 'Sindoora...' because of which I could actually realise that the above freaky thing did happen!
****feints fainting***

Art said...

I watch Kahani Humare Mahabharat ki for time paas. It looks like some Greek serial, with every male dressed like a greek gods with six packs.. and women.. err are they given enough clothes??

Sayesha said...

#Bivas,
Thank you. :D

#Stupidosaur,
Are you aware that your comments on other people's blogs are longer than your own blog posts? Hahahaha! :D
Hehehehe... can't believe you watched it too! Hahaha! And yes, they do like to fly their cast here for random scenes! :/

#Art,
Ohhh! How's the serial doing so far??? I don't think I'd be able to stand it. I like the original Mahabharat too much! :)

Suma said...

i rember joy telling me about another blogger in singapore...my loss that i didn't read you earlier...

this was hilarious!!!

not gasar...lol...

Art said...

I loved the original Mahabharat and all the characters too.
The serial is hilarious..
People start of with speaking shudd hindi and then all of a sudden u feel like watching another E kapoor serial. Ofcourse the close ups and such things are always there