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Sunday, December 05, 2021

Sony keeps it light and fun

On other channels,soaps pop the bubble and take on reality

Written by Shailaja Bajpai |
June 2, 2009 2:39:21 am

Read this if you want to be present positive,not past imperfect; if you responded to Agatha Sangma’s oath of secrecy with a delighted (or indulgent) smile. Perhaps even laughed out aloud. The here and the now are with us,and looking pretty good.

This is about soap. No,no don’t go away; this one is fresh,lime ‘n’ lemony and might just wash away the dirty politics of saas-bahus,fight infection,foeticide,child marriage,etc. Entertainment channel Colors rose to prominence riding the latter — Balika Vadhu has just seen a grandmother drag her wailing young,pregnant widowed granddaughter from the outhouse for an abortion to save the family izzat. Other channels have followed with countless serials on female exploitation,especially of young girls.

Now,Sony has introduced a new line in entertainment. It’s change with continuity,rather like the new UPA government. The change: Bhaskar Bharati. Bhaskar goes to bed a man,wakes up a woman — punishment for lightly promising Gita marriage and then spurning her. God,or a bald fellow with a peacock feather switches Bhaskar/Bharati’s gender,whenever. The result? A hilarious send-up on the war of the sexes from the inimitable team of Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin,and Just Mohabbat (remember them?). This is comic,cosmopolitan,sophisticated yet simple. It has physical humour,wordplay and a great sense of timing. Who says we can’t be witty,contemporary and zestful? Yes,we can.

Next change,the serial with a long title: Chittod Ki Rani Padmini ka Johur. Everything is big and beautiful and grand,including the grandstanding between Rani Padmini’s Maharaj-ji father and Rana-ji who’s come to claim her. The rest of the cast languishes in the century it belongs to but Padmini is a thoroughly modern miss — forthright,frank,she hides nothing,least of all her cleavage. Jokes aside,this has old-world charm and a filmi feel to it.

Palampur Express is young Pavni from Palampur (where else?) who wants to run but finds herself in an obstacle race with her grandmother and other hurdles in the way. She’s a quintessential ‘India next’ aspirant but while others are content with talent shows,she aiming for an Olympic medal. Determined,ambitious but loving family and friends,she’s up against many things. This pits tradition against modernity in the nicest possible way. Hey,it’s spunky.

Women’s Special: four middle class female railway commuters in Mumbai and the problems they encounter along the way: violent husbands,errant children,bad luck. Realistic without too many tears. So far.

Now for the old: a fortysomething Salman Khan whose Dus Ka Dum could not take him as far as Karan Johar’s birthday bash — so Aaj Tak informed us — but retraced his footsteps for season two of the winsome game show where he beat SRK at his own game (playing TV host). A welcome back and break from the other reality shows in that it is sincerely and simply a goofy slugfest. What more (or else) to expect from him?

Old hands Farah Khan and Anu Malik judge Entertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega. Warning: this one could be injurious to your health as it rewards you,handsomely,for burping a hundred times continuously or releasing fire from your eyes (glasses?). Farah and Anu,although suitably impressed (or is it distressed?) curb their own and the contestants’ enthusiasm. They make a witty couple and the show is as snappy as their reactions. It’s a lightweight,light-hearted and meaningless end to the evening. But who wants brain-curry as a nightcap,were it even possible?

Sony celebrates life instead of bemoaning it; everyone can watch it without being bewildered,bored or beset by guilt at how terrible we are. Like modern life,Sony’s evening is slick and fast-paced. It’s young,urban,middle class and doesn’t take life too seriously — unlike the other entertainment channels. Can it retain the tempo and resist the temptation to turn melodramatic? Aye,there’s the rub.

shailaja.bajpai@expressindia.com

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