Friday, June 27, 2008

The hug that turned several people sideways and upside down

If you catch enough glimpses of saas-bahu serials over your parents' (or other loved ones') shoulders then you'll notice that they all tend to dredge the same emotions. As an outsider the impression I've been left with is that saas-bahu serials follow a strict set of design principles.

And there isn't anything overtly wrong with that. After all, creativity can be over-rated.There is one pattern prevalent in saas-bahu serials. And that is what I like to call The Kick Ass Payback.Here is how it works.

First relentless dukh gets piled upon one unfortunate person. Almost always that person is a woman. Did that surprise you? Clearly you've never watched one of these before. But the short of it is that everyone gets down on her - even fate.

The bechari swallows her gum and bites her tongue. Its critical that the emotional atyachaars be allowed to pile up. At this point my Mum will usually comment "Slap your mother-in-law already!" and Dad runs off during a commercial break to make some strong chai to fortify the nerves.

But before the scales of justice completely keel over, saas-bahu serials issue a correction. And its a very special episode at this point, often I've heard friends discussing it for days in anticipation. Some truth is revealed that liberates the bechari. Or someone stands up for her. Big time. (Substitute "truth" for "super power" and you pretty much have Spider-man, so we are spanning global territory here)

As in this video that Megan pointed me to - its her new guilty pleasure. I don't know who these people are. But the sonic shimmies, dizzying angles and deft acting (nostrils are flared, heads are cocked, an actor appears to have on-set constipation) are good enough entertainment for me.



Also:

53 comments:

Joules said...

The nosiness of the main character drives me up the wall. Ofcourse, she pacifies the uncleji and auntyji types by saying "Parivaar ki ekta ke liye I will have to do this".

Aspi said...

Joules, after reading your comment I wish I had called the post Its All About The Parivaar.

maxdavinci said...

nothing intelligent to add here but the mohobatein tune cracked me up, and when they switched to udit's vocals I was completely zonked!

Between all those close-up flares, camera tilts, and wet kurta(weepin girl!), I think I heard the word 'Fanaa'. Is this a balaji serial or ghost produced by yashraj?

meena said...

Those camera swerves make me dizzy in 3 mins.

..isnt there a lot of money floating around the TV industry? shouldnt there be a few more few jonars? Its either bollywood-related stuff, reality shows or saas-bahu serials.

How about made-for-TV movies a la Hallmark/Lifetime (more weepy woman stuff), or movies that appeal to preteens - imagine how a desi High School Musical can kick ass in India, how about the home improvement/interior design shows (where they will show you how to make a stunning home by a coat of paint and two wicker baskets).

or a 'what not to wear' show! Aspi, I smell opportunity for you...

Tania said...

OMG, I think I have seen this scene in every soap while I go channel surfing these days.What happened to good old comedy or thrillers? I miss them. :(
Tania

Pitu said...

Heeheehee! My favorites are the bahus who marry into the family but secretly hate them and swear revenge on them for some pracheen kaal mein hua kissa. Also noteworthy are the icchadhaari naagin soaps!! *plays the pungi*

Aspi said...

I think I mucked up comments. Testing...

Aspi said...

meena, those are all good ideas you'd think. But I get the feeling that shooting indoors in India is a huge bonus - the outdoors are just not conducive enough for a variety of reasons.

So indoor, closed set, cheap reusable stuff (writing, sets) are better.

AkD said...

hey u guys forgot....nowadays de concept of "punarjanam" is repeated like in evry second serial...and even ppl get possesed by ghosts....:-s

Pitu said...

meena: maybe Urvashi Dholakia can host a 'What not to wear' where she steers you towards enhacing your looks by wearing

1)garish Benzer via Hong Kong metallic saris,
2)dying your hair orangey brown, 3)wearing a serpentine, glittery bindi,
4)hiding your ample cleavage (bad word, chee chee) under a golden hooker meets auntyji halter blouse
and
5)shiny, poop brown lipstick!

Voila, and another dewy faced, pretty college girl looks craptastic!!! Is idea mein dum hai!

leera said...

I heard somewhere that the specific formula and the camera angles, the 'dheesh' 'dheesh' closeups are all as they say in the Telly industry - Balaji-ing it!
The non K serials have pretty much got a set syllabus to follow. All they have to do is pick up some of the Balaji patented chamku styles of apparel that Pitu so hilariously outlined and viola you have a bidaai, a naagin or any of the other 'same same but different' daytime serials.

Aspi said...

Woohoo, the draft blogger finally works! Never mind, everyone - that was just me praising Google's fine work with the new features that messed me up all day.

Pitu, serpent bindis! Awesome. If only all the women in Chicago could wear them.

megan said...

OMG aspi..i cant thank you enough for reminding me of this video.. i just watched it 3 times.. it is so addictive... the wedding guests and the corny dialogues OMFG

i watched a couple of episodes of the show last week.. now the step daughter damsel in distress who used to get beaten up every night and the HERO moved into some house together.. after they left home..

they don't sleep together of course..he sleeps out of the house without a shade and it rains all the time.. WTF why can't he sleep IN the house and not have sex??? or sleep in different rooms.. if they think they can't help themselves then the girl should put a big poster of Himanshu in the room and the dude should look at photos of Bipasha and Rani WITHOUT makeup, that should surely kill the "urge"

and the dude walks around the house all the time shirtless.. (looking sexy he's the only decent looking guy on Indian TV) and always happens to run into the girl and she falls and he catches her

IN EVERY EPISODE LOL

m said...

another funny scene!! hahaha OMG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQSZyQ-DLck

how can these actors keep a straight face while enacting such corny and ridiculous scenes!

also WTF is up with Indian idea of wooing the girl? these directors etc seem to think stalking equates to wooing..

I watched Jannat few days ago and Emraan Hashmi's character's idea of wooing the girl =

smashing a shop's window to get the girl's attention, following her around, crawling into the girl's room and giving her a diamond ring.. WTF?

joules said...

Also not to forget all the women in the serial whether playing chachi, daadi, mummy, bhabhi, even the ones that leap twenty years look the same age.

And if you do not have a central role that is if you are not the main bahu or the villain saas you may have no dialogues in the serial and your facial expressions are limited to one of these - sad, shocked, happy and angry (which can be replaced with sad if you can't do angry)

anu g said...

Lol! Ekta is supposed to be the forerunner of the rona-dhona, and I heard theres going to be a spoof movie on her. That should be interesting:).

Kteddy said...

I think, as a mark of respect to Balaji films and "k"ekta Kapoor, Aspi should change the name of this blog to Kaspisdrift, or, to make it numerologically sound, KKaspisddrift.

Kpitu said...

Klol! Kawesome idea!

Cinderella said...

all those serials are soo ridiculous......
sometimes i wonder if these serials are taking people forward or backward!!

sneha said...

LOL for the falling and catching scenes. They seem to be really popular. There is an Indian show which is my guilty pleasure and it is filled with falling and catching scenes ...followed by long stare sessions. Somebody even made a video out of those -
http://youtube.com/watch?v=_xRN3TFBIvY

Aspi said...

sneha, terrific find. That was pretty funny when put together back to back. Its clear that both of those actors will win an Oscar some day.

Over Rated said...

putting on my dr phil hat (ugh, couldn't find a better example) ...

the reason these crappy serials are popular because they harp on the same ol' themes which in our country pass for "culture"

- Respect your elders even if they speak gobbelygook
- Women who wear skirts or go to work are really easy and won't make good bahus
- "Young" people who go to pubs (still??)(and the pubs they show are straight out of mithun movies) are really fubar-ed to the max ....
- Life will always hand you lemons and a good bahu takes those lemons and makes nimbu pani for everyone
(sugar free for the in-laws who suffer from diabetes)

And reality shows are popular because people will root for anyone from their chawl/street/state/region/religion/ pastry shop. Plus, the Indian Crab mentality.

*throws away dr phil hat*

KAkd said...

hmmmm...speaking about indian values....on one hand dese serials project goin to pubs, discos or partyin and wearing western outfits as something as bad as murdering someone[ kasam se]..and on the other hand we have multiple marriages n common kids who r exchanged as gifts [kyun ki...]....heck in dis same serial...if u r keeping tabs on it..u must've realised that mohini's daughter married abeer[who is her step uncle]...ah!!incest!!

AkD said...

OK..A list of the common theories applied in almost all serials...rather..widout which any Kekta Kapoor venture is incomplete:
1. Saans-Bahu Tenshun
2. 'Hot' hubby hanging out wid sleazy sautan [and always the dude seems to be suffering from amnesia dat time]
3. The Sautan is a make up tester canvas.And always shes a badddddd baadddd woman.
4. Bahu's family is the one which is economically downtrodden.[read middle class]Hubby's almost always a rich tycoon, by the virtue of his virasat.
5. The SIL's usually r still at home n have henpecked hubbys; they always make hell for the poor Bahu
6. The BIL[Devar] is always in the background until the Hubby dies in some freak accident and then.....The Devar suddenly is the leading man[he also gets de Bahu free]!!!
7. Then there are jumps [20 yrs later] almost 3-4 times...and the characters keep looking the same :P
8. REINCARNATION
9. PLASTIC SURGERY!!!!
10. AMNESIA
11. DOUBLE ROLE
12.BHOOT PRET!!
13. Sautan's kids are always bonus additions to the already flourishing famailies.
14. Gaudy make up and jewellery making the characters look like manequins of some gujju bhai's saree ni dukaan..
15. Frame to frame copies of some popular movie scenes...


phew!!dats wht i cud think bout now...
add few more if u can...

Aspi said...

KAkd, yaar this is a comprehensive list of saas-bahu design patterns. Isko IF THEN ELSE loop mein dalo and you may not even need writers.

I'm being facetious of course. TV writing is a lot of hard work - its not easy figuring out how to make a woman fall into a guy's hands ten times and make it look fresh.

joules said...

Here are some others:

- Falling or getting pushed off the cliff.
- Slipping alcohol in the main bahu's drink thus insulting her in a big party.
- bhagwaan fixes everything when things go haywire.

Pitu said...

And to upgrade from tv serials to Btown movie, replace 'Bhagwan' in last line with 'Pomeranian' named Tuffy, Moti or Raja.

AkD said...

..oh..how cud i forget.....Ktusharrr Kapooorr's movie promos/songs not so subtlely thrown in as seasonings occasionally...lol

AkD said...

...and multiple social marriages...taking us back to the mahabharata times...heck evry character has had atleast 2 ex-spouses!

m said...

how about showing marital rape as something a guy is allowed to do when he's angry

there was this episode of some show few years ago, the wife married the husband for some revenge. He caused her miscarriage or something.

Then after marriage, he makes up some story about her being pregnant.. she spreads rumors saying how he is impotent and can't have kids, then he gets ANGRY!! LOL and was like "lemme show ya if i can get it up or not biarcccch" then he was so violent and like rapes her after pushing her all around the room

WTF?

megan said...

i watched the video again

hahaha love it

"BAS CHACHI BAS"

tada meowwww TADAAAA

"zamane ko aag laga dungaaaaaa"

"aakhiya PHOR DUNGAAAAAA"

"mohobbat fanaa nahin hungi"

LOL! reminds me of Himesh's dialogues in SRGMP 07!

"AGAR kisene Aneek Part 2 ko eliminate kiya TOH srgmp stage ko TOR DUNGA"

"Head's PINK shiny pants Ko AAG LAGA DUNGA"

Aspi said...

Himesh can always come to saas-bahu if the hero thing doesn't work out. In fact, if he can costar with Jay Bhanushali, the whole thing would zip up the TRPs.

Kteddy Kappoorrr said...

Hmmm...Himesh in a saas-bahu show...this is too tempting to resist. I can see it now. The title will be
"Kya Maa Saraswati bhi kabhi bahu thi?...ek nek insaan ki kkahhani"

Himesh will play a world-famous rockstar, of course, who lives in a large joint family, complete with a chubby Maa, an autocratic Babuji, three older brothers who hate him, three sisters-in-law, and you can tell the evil ones by their nagin style bindis, the spaghetti strap cholis they wear at family poojas, or the western clothing and their unseemly interest in the family business. Himesh falls in love with, and marries, inspite of family opposition, an unsuitably middle-class girl, after a long courtship of bumping into, stumbling, falling, catching, and meaningful stares. The courtship uses Himesh's nasal baying as background music. He brings the youngest bahu home, where she trips and knocks over a family heirloom. Lightning and thunder in the background as camera does the Dhish-Dhish Dhish on twenty distressed faces with flared nostrils, bulging eyes and gaping mouths...no wait, that was Himesh's face, twenty times. The evil sister in law hisses "Middle-class" at bahu (this word is the ultimate insult in Indian saas-bahu soaps). to be continued.....

Aspi said...

Kteddy, dumdaar script. However, I would like to have several scenes inserted in which Himesh catches his heroine while she keeps falling all over the place - kind of like in that vid that Sneha forwarded.

Joules said...

How about the other way round - Himesh tripping and falling and the heroine catching our gujju bhai.

Aspi said...

Even better! And then Himesh could look into the girls' eyes and then try to look behind him to see how far he had to fall.

Knowing Himesh, he would probably get Mint-o-Fresh to sponsor the entire episode for extra bucks.

*~mad munky~* said...

the camera swerves are epilepsy-inducing :o\ anyone who didn't have it before, is bound to develop it after a week or two of watching this stuff.

m said...

epilepsy is my new nightmare.. like i am scared i am on a hot date and i get epileptic fit.. It could happen randomly you know

Ian Curtis first started getting when he was around my age.

kteddy Kkappoorr said...

Himeshbhai soap continues....
Flashback to courtship days, when rockstar Himesh arrived in Valsad by special helicopter and surrounded by AK47 wielding bodyguards (only 50 of them because he is travelling incognito).

The Bahu to be is a simple "middle class" village girl who lives in a sprawling house with six younger sisters, one of whom is "apahij" in some way. She also has a "lachaar"type baap, who doesn't do anything much for income, and a far too well-fed mother who worries about her six daughters "hey Bhagwaan, yeh annoying ladkiyon ki shaadi kaise hogi".

Himesh and Village belle meet in the family's chikoo ke khet mein, as she is trying to pick chikoos off of a really tiny tree, and she manages to fall just as Himesbhai is passing under the tree with his guitar. Himesbhai nimbly leaps aside, letting the Baydi-to-be fall, and then rushes to catch her, and they stare deeply into each other's akhiyaan, girl thinking "bhala iske baalo mere baalon se jyaada hairspray kaise?"
Chikoos fall to the ground in slow motion from the tree and bounce away into the distance. Himesbhai drops girl to ground and starts to strum his guitar...raises his face to the heavens, flares his nostrils and begins to howl oops sing "hooooooooo...hoooooooo...hooooo"

Aspi said...

Right at the point Himesh catches the girl (or like Joules suggested maybe the girl should catch Himesh), we should have his hair fly around and have him become all shy-like and smile a little.

At this point we could charge extra product placement for shampoo and lip balm brands.

joules said...

Is he wearing a burkha to be incognito?

Pitu said...

Kteddy, hahahaaa! Kfabulous! you shd write a comic called 'The Hairy Adentures of Himesbhai', replete with Amar Chitra Katha style buxom babes and all.

Aspi said...

I propose that we make Jai Matadi Lets Rock a common acronym: like LOL or ROFL or LMAO. So whenever we want to praise someone, or encourage them or just want to be silly we'll go: JMLR!!

Thus Himesh will be immortalized and I will have fulfilled my purpose in life.

pitu said...

Proposal seconded! JMLR! :-D

Kteddy Kkappoorr said...

Himesbhai love saga part 3....

As the soft breeze blows Himesbhai's hair all over his face, he pushes back the burkha from his face, revealing to Valsad ni Varsha that the burkha clad guitar strummer is no Huma Begum, but Himesbhai himself. Just to prove to Varsaben that he is indeed who he claims he is, he tosses away his burkha completely, and shows off some man cleavage.Then he smiles coyly, just like aapdo Mimohbhai.

Varshaben is smitten. She stumbles again, falls, then runs off, picking her way through fallen chikkoos.

Cut to the dilapdated middle class home of Haribhai, Varsha's rondu father. Varsha skips into the house, smiling to herself, and is stopped short by a tremendous chaata to her face. Chaata is shown in twenty different angles, in slow motion, and really fast, like the old Gandhiji's Dandi march footage in documentaries.

The hand that dealt the chaata is Haribhai's. He roars "Kalmuhi! Namuraad! Hamare parivaar ki izzat ko mitti me mila kar aa rahi ho? Ramu kaka saw you in the chikoo khet, manaoing rangraliyaan, that too with a woman in a burkha!!!!"

"But pitaaji, it wasn't a woman, it was..."

"Khaaamosh! Ramukaka himself saw her cleavage! He said it was impressive...." Haribhai looks wistful

to be continued.....

Pitu said...

HAHAHA! Kteddy, are you sure u aren't a Balaji scriptwriter?

Joules said...

Its about time now in the serial where Himesh falls off a cliff, does a face change operation and the topi wala Himesh gets changed by Bal Himesh.

Kteddy Kkappoorr said...

Himesbhai ni premkatha part 4....

Varsaben runs inside the house, weeping, holding her cheek. Her remaining annoying sisters are all peeping into her room with eyes like saucers, while the tubby maa is stifling loud sobs by stuffing her pallu into her mouth. "beti, ek naari ko jeevan me chaata khane ki aadat honi padti hai. Yehi soap sansar ka sach hai." Then she does a jhatka matka waala dance to the song "chaata lagaaa" sung to the tune of "Kaanta laga"

Cut to Himes, who, struck by the baan of cupidbhai, is wandering in the countryside, burkha flying, baseball cap askew.
"hooooo...hooooo..hoooo" he composes a new song, which is radically different from his earlier song, which went "hoooo. Hooooo. HOOOOO..oooooo..OOO"

Mesmerised by his own genius, our hero trips on his burkha, and plunges headlong into a dangerous khaai. The scene is repeated about 30 times, just so you dont miss what happened.

Cut to the haat (bazaar) of Valsad, where Haribhai's six daughters are buying vegetables/teaspoons/chappals/bilouj-paticoat/whatever. Varsaben is in the darzi shop with her ample mom. The darzi is all enthu about taking Varsaben's measurements, when Maa says.."Arrey, uski nahi, Meri measurements le lo" Hasmukhbhai the darzi, who has just produced a tapemeasure with flourish, retreats quickly, calling out to his assistant Veljibhai to haul ass to the front and measure the customer.

Veljibhai stumbles in, trips over the measuring tape and falls, and Varsaben catches him. They stare deeply into each other's eyes. Varsaben cannot believe what she is seeing, because Veljibhai is none other than Himesbhai in double role!!!!! Lightning, thunder, dhish dhish dhish.

Seeing this momentous scene, Mummyji decides to faint. "Hey Jalaram!!" She squeaks, sinking gracefully into Hasmukhbhai Darzi's arms. Hasmukhbhai staggers and falls, unable to bear this burden.

Dhish-dhish-dhish! invisible chorus starts chanting the mrityunjaya mantra as Haribhai steps in to the darzi shop, to find---Oh Horror!!! His daughter holding Veljibhai, and the Darzi on the floor with Mummyji passed out on top.

Haribhai clutches his heart, his eyes bulging and face contorted, and faints, just as the darzi's wife Kokilaben comes into the shop. She catches Haribhai as he falls.

Haribhai's other daughters walk in...hey this could go on and on. The saga shall continue, perhaps in a different life. (Leaving the punarjanam option open) :-)

Pitu said...

Insane!! Am rly enjoying this Himes katha!

Teddy said...

Ok, I swear, that was the last of my Himesh Soap ramblings.

Pitu, you have given me an idea, and I am going to send this story to Kekta Kappoorr at the earliest, so I can quit my day job and seriously take up "creative" writing at Balaji Films.

Joules, your ideas for the story were jhakaas. I am going to copy..oops..be "inspired" by those ideas.

Aspi said...

Teddy, the next time you do something like this - email me. We'll put it up as a post. Its too good to tuck away in the comments.

In fact, if you want to create a three act story "treatement", I'll still put it up.

Teddy said...

Jai Mata di let's rock!

Aspi,

I'd love to do a story in three parts, probably in the same jonar if people aren't bored of it....and if you would put in suitable pics of Himesbhai with those hilarious captions.

ummm, you email is somewhere in the contact tab on the front page? As you might have guessed, I am not much of a computer person.

Aspi said...

Teddy, I'm at ahavewala{at}gmail.com. Bear with me over the long weekend if you send something before then - I'll be offline for bits and pieces.

We'll be sure to give Joules credit for her terrific plot twists.