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 to be reinvented.

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published: May 10, 2013 9:55:54 pm

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 penning 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 either. 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’ etc etc. 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. But eventually that wedding will break. So now,mother will howl,father’s sapna babul ka will become a nightmare and the daughter will bite her tongue for having said main kahin nahi jaoongi!

Take Him to The Hospital

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,‘paysun 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. Characters dying and coming back to life get 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 celebrates his rebirth!

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 all gooey-mushy. 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 it’s her sister who is married to/ engaged to the younger and/or the hero’s step brother.

Hill top Drama

The helipad is a prominent location at Filmcity. It seems like a hill top with a picturesque view of the entire city. This location is used and abused every time a big drama scene is shot. So a decade back,a vamp would call the heroine here for a confrontation and then the 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. When the consummation is planned it will be aesthetically shot in a barn,with candles and rose petals. A song like Mann ki lagan will play in the background. These days Mohit Chauhan scores in the consummation market. How is the child born out of one try,you ask? 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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