Melodrama & Mayhem

// November 12th, 2007 // Blog

That is what i was exposed to for about an hour tonight, at my cousin's house.

Tears, fights, tantrums… and even a court case!

All brought to you care of [insert random Indian TV cable channel here].

My goodness. I had completely forgotten how weird Indian soap operas are! I never watch them normally, but the TV was on in the background. As I wasn't really engaged in my family's conversation, and the programmes were subtitled, my gaze naturally drifted into the direction of the zombie box in the corner.

The first thing that struck me was just how long these soap operas take to get to the point of the scene, which inevitably ends with some heavily made-up actress staring into the distance with her eyes all teary. And of course, this one shot has to then be completely overexaggerated by the worst editing sequence ever, with multiple flashes of the same shot, shown over, and over, and over, from different angles, flipping backwards and forwards from greyscale to colour to highly exposed, and don't forget the dramatic music playing over the top! Epileptics should not watch Indian TV. By the time you actually get past all that, you've forgotten the whole point of the plot! If you understood it to begin with, that is.

Another classic Indian soap opera editing trick is that during a particularly dramatic group scene (which is basically 80% of the show), as soon as the main character makes a statement, the director feels the need to show a portrait shot of every single person in the room. Nothing else happens during this time. We're all waiting for the dialogue to continue… but no, we must be forced to witness the pensive stares of the all the other characters, after every single sentence – in slow motion, just for added effect.


The other funny thing was that in all the time i was sat in the living room, there were three different soaps shown, one after the other. Not even a news bulletin in between! Did they have nothing else on the schedule? Maybe it was the soap opera channel? Is there even such a thing?!

I can just imagine what Eastenders would be like if they hired a Bollywood director – i think that would definitely be worth tuning in for!

13 Responses to “Melodrama & Mayhem”

  1. mummyjaan says:

    “An hour” is a long time to be exposed to Hindi TV serials. You sure you’re ok? :).

  2. iMuslim says:

    Hmm, good question… it may actually have been longer!

    The most annoying part was that i wanted to be totally sarcastic and make lots of really obvious jokes… but all the other ladies in the room were actually taking it quite seriously! Or at least, they didn’t understand the basis of my witticisms… sigh. My talents are so wasted on those people! ;)

  3. mcpagal says:

    Not watched one in ages, but I seem to remember one where a single slap took up most of the show, with all the dramatic music and portrait shots and special effects and all. Craziness!

  4. Sumera says:

    lol, I have to endure this every evening, from 8pm – 10pm! I always make comments though, which my Mum laughs along with. Running commentary at times too ;)

    Thank God for the internet though! My excuse to escape!

  5. AnonyMouse says:

    We have “Bollywood Sundays” at my grandparents’ house, ‘cuz they have cable TV and one of the channels is a “multicultural channel” that puts on a Bollywood movie every Sunday.
    We’ll always check to see if the movie is a “good” movie (i.e. doesn’t make you cringe during fight scenes due to excruciating lameness), and if it is we’ll sit through it and crack jokes about it and admire the clothes and criticize the actors :P

  6. iMuslim says:

    Don’t you think Bollywood films are so horrendously raunchy now? Oh no, we can’t kiss, but we can dance around half naked, stroking each other, while dancing in the rain, so our wet clothes are stuck to our bodies leaving nothing to the imagination… ERM?

    If i’m going to watch a Hindi film, it’ll be a golden oldie… when there was such a thing as innocent romance, and a story line, and less crazy dance sequences… :)

  7. mcpagal says:

    I agree that films can be so disgusting – the adverts for them are bad enough. It’s weird, a lot of asian parents think it’s bad if their kids are into any kind of ‘english’ music but happily let their kids sit and watch half nekkid women writhing to music because that’s bollywood, ya?

    Dunno if the ‘oldies’ were all that much better though… they still liked weird dances and skintight clothes and romance and all. I kind of liked Sholay though, it was sweet!

    ps. it’s one of only 3 Bollywood films I’ve sat through, the others being Devdas and some thriller about a stupid girl who gets caught up with a gangster, goes to jail for him, turns into a hardened jailbird when she realises he’s not going to get her out, then escapes and tortures him :P

  8. AnonyMouse says:

    I toatlly agree w/ the new ones! The old ones are definitely the best… even my grandpa will watch those! The oldies are both sweet and amusing, ‘cuz the girls are usually innocent village girls or something and then of course you have your “gangsters” walking around with leather jackets and slicked hair and their punches making loud noises before their fists ever land on their targets!

    My favourite one (not that I’ve watched many) has to be Khabhi Khushi Khabhi Gham… as w/ all of them there are some “erm” scenes, but overall the storyline (and behaviour) is pretty good!

  9. iMuslim says:

    I can’t remember the names of any of the films i have watched… except for two, which i watched like a hundred times, when i was little…

    Bramachari (sp?) – a story about a batchelor who runs an orphanage. We have it on VHS somewhere… haven’t watched it in years… i may just dig it out!

    Mr India – i think you must’ve all heard of this one?! I barely remember the storyline… something about an invisible man… or a man who could become invisible, and y’know… beat up bad guys!

    Speaking of disgusting Bollywood movies… i was subjected to a trailer for a new release: Om Shanti Om… OMG… it was like an MTV hip-hop music video – y’know, with… umm… “blessed” women flaunting their… umm… “blessings”. Reeeeeelly bad! :(

    Another observation on Bollywood films past and present. I’ve noticed that on the old films where they have a group of women for dance sequences, they’re all different shapes and sizes, and what i would call “realistic”. Nowadays… well, i don’t think i have to even say… a lot has changed. :/

  10. Hayah says:

    Hehe. great read. Its worse here in Nepal, neighbouring India. WE get all the Indian channels, products, wastes and attitudes. The afternoon 12-4 and night 8-10 is is housewives times to hog the TV for the indian serials. There have been reports that onions and potatos have been cut before the box, children breastfed and put to sleep, uncooked lunches, dinners, e.t.c just for the crying and weeping.

    The thing that I cant take is the repitition of a ‘shock’ scene with all the ‘da da da dum’ music and dead people coming back alive, marriage and remarriage and kids being born and growing up in one eipsode!! Its bizaare beyond anything else!

  11. Alefyah says:

    Wow! LOL I haven’t had a good laugh for a long time. Thanks iMuslim! It was fun reading all the comments. I can bet that the TV serial guys have gone mad. To think my sister actually de-stressed herself watching serials after coming from work!

    The other crazy news I read was the army watches these serials to de-stress!!! What will happen to the common citizen. When the enemy attacks, I won’t be surprised if the Forji says

    Khabrao mat! (Boom)
    Khabrao mat!(Boom)
    Khabrao mat!(Boom)

    For a real good laugh, watch Namastey London – the part where Katrina goes to see guys for marriage! One of them is a cranked TV serial product.

  12. iMuslim says:

    Hayah & Alefyah… you’re scaring me!

    I feel like these shows are taking over the world!

    Is there any escape?!!

  13. Hayah says:

    Yes! Throw out the box!! :) but then u wont be able to see politicians making a fool of themselves :) hehe

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