“Celebrating the 19 glorious years of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi,” read a video on Balaji Telefilms Twitter handle which was reshared by TV queen Ekta Kapoor and Smriti Irani aka Tulsi Virani. Seeing the tweet, I wondered what are we actually celebrating? The day when Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi came into our lives or the weirdness?
I remember watching the repeat telecast of Kyunki after returning from school and scratching my head over whatever happened in the Virani mansion. As much as the remarriages, reincarnation and the hapless female protagonist appear illogical and unreal now, they were eerie to a 10-year-old me.
Like, how did the huge mansion of the Viranis accommodate every Tom, Dick and Harry? It sheltered widow Ganga, homeless Krishna Tulsi and Mihir’s illegitimate son Karan. Sometimes I think if I would have accepted Tulsi Virani’s invitation to her house in the title track of the show, I would have also found space in the Virani residence.
The intro music, its lyrics “Rishton Ke Bhi Roop Badalte Hain..” and Tulsi introducing her family members one-after-another was hilarious to me. The show had so many characters that the introduction alone could last 30 minutes.
The favourite Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi plot point was plastic surgery. Whenever an actor decided to leave, his/her character met with an accident, was declared dead and returned after a few episodes with a new face. Those shots of the shoes, clothes, hair and eyes as they re-entered made me restless and angry with my mother for not changing the channel. From how much I could count on the Wikipedia page of the show, a minimum of eleven characters in Kyunki were played by more than one actor. The protagonist Mihir was only played by three actors.
And, then it was the never ageing Baa. Whenever the show took a leap, even Tulsi and Mihir had four grey hair, but Baa never aged. To me, she must have blown 250 candles on her birthday cake by the last episode of the show.
Over its eighteen hundred and thirty-three episodes, the scriptwriter of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Thi fed enough silly content not only to the audience but also to the next-gen writers and makers. Now, as a grown-up, I have realised nothing has really changed in Indian daily soaps. Even after 11 years of it going off air, we still have characters coming back from the dead, a deluge of remarriages and a wicked ‘saas’ making the life of her meek ‘bahu’ a living hell.
On the 19th anniversary of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, I hope the content on Indian television moves on from weeping bahus, overdressed vamps, 20 years leap in just an episode and that lightning sound every now and then.