Formulas on loop

Gautam Hegde,the scriptwriter of Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon and Madhubala–Ek Ishq Ek Junoon,on the five stereotypes of daily soaps that need a reinvention

Published: May 10, 2013 3:24:13 am

Gautam Hegde,the scriptwriter of Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon and Madhubala–Ek Ishq Ek Junoon,on the five stereotypes of daily soaps that need a reinvention

As a kid,it really broke my heart when I got to know that real people don’t live inside a TV. Today,I’m a screenwriter for daily soaps but even as I get down to pen my thoughts,I tend to think of some formulae that have become the bane,yet the boon of TV existence in India.

The First Shaadi

That Breaks

We are a nation obsessed with cricket and shaadi. While we leave cricket to the boys,we don’t spare the girls also. You know the moments when the father hugs the girl and says: “Beti badi ho gayi,ab paraayi ho jaayegi”,and the mother says,“Har ladki apne bhaag mein yeh likh ke laati hai”,and the daughter of course says,“Main kahin nahin jaoongi”. But does this happen? Nope. But in daily soaps,we will have this one good boy who would come and after a special approved budget from the channel and lots of naach-gaana,the wedding will take place. Eventually the wedding will break,the mother will howl and the father’s sapna babul ka will become a nightmare.

The Hospital Scene 

The daily soap family may be based in Chandigarh or Rajkot,but they all flock to SJ studios to Criticare hospital. While the doctors will tell the family,“Paysunt ki haalat critical hai”,the entire family will block the passage and cry out loud in batches. The batches are made so that shots can be taken in combination because the actors have to leave for some ribbon-cutting ceremony. If the actor is doing a dance reality show,then it’s the actor who is inside the operation theatre. Characters dying and coming back to life garners awesome TRPs. So every three months,one of the characters usually gets shot at/ run over/ thrown off the cliff/ and dies/ goes in coma/ and eventually comes back,and a mata ki chowki is done to celebrate this.

Falling Into His Arms

The heroine will always slip and the husband will always hold her in his arms. Every time the hero holds her,wind will blow,even in a closed room without cross ventilation and the title track of the show or the theme romantic song will play out. They will look at each other — we call it the “look-look” moment and this will get the audience to go all gooey-mushy. The heroine will slip by the stairs,near the puffy of her dressing table,at the doorstep,or wherever — but the hero will always hold her. The falling never happens in the hero’s absence and nobody else in the family buys shoes from the same chappal company as the heroine,unless of course its her sister who is married to/ engaged to the younger and/or step brother of the hero.

Hilltop Drama

The helipad is a prominent location at Film City. It seems like a hilltop with a picturesque view of the entire city. This location is used and abused everytime a big drama scene has to be shot. So a decade back,a vamp would call the heroine here for a confrontation and then hero would get shot here and in those classic cases where actors trouble the production house or want to leave the show defintely/ indefinitely,their characters are bumped off the cliff.

The Consummation Night

Hero and heroine may fall in love but they will not say “I love you” for six months,if they say “I love you”,they will get married,but if they get married,they will not consummate. Till then the heroine can get pinned against the wall,she can fall on the bed with him,they can see each other dressing/ undressing and look away,they can be close enough for a kiss but they will be disturbed by someone entering the room. When the consummation is eventually planned,it will be aesthetically shot in a barn around hay or a bedroom,with candles and rose petals and the works. A song like Mann ki lagan will play in the background. These days,Mohit Chauhan scores in the consummation market. Fortunately,Himesh and Honey Singh stay out.

How is the child born out of one try,you ask? Ya ya,so you see in TV,the men are highly potent and the women are usually at their fertile best and the peak of their womanly time of the month. Because? Bachhe achhe lagte hain.

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