I think things might be getting slightly out of hand. I therefore, don’t want to say much. Just a small little observation.
Indian TV Shows. Not the Gujarati women oriented ones, I basically just had CID and Adaalat in mind, plus a few of the shows Yash Raj had created with SONY in between. I’m sorry, I am not really very regular with these shows, so I wouldn’t know if shows like Powder are still running, or if the entire television launch of Yash Raj has been canned. That’s not really my argument.
What I was trying to say falls more with style and content. First, let’s get the weakest link (for which we all have a soft corner still), CID of the way. I don’t remember, but I think it’s done something like 15 years now. I remember watching Ashutosh Gowariker in what is now Senior Inspector Abhijeet’s role. The CID jokes have all become fable now. There are numerous Facebook pages to do with fan following and jokes on the show. Don’t get me wrong, they don’t intend to be funny. But they can take the crap out of you. CID shows can all be found on YouTube, albeit sans subtitles for the non-Hindi guys – still, try to watch it. Now, the defence of the show. CID comes within a very precious territory, I guess. I guess on some level, ACP Pradyuman (played gloriously and wriggling-ly by Shivaji Satam for all of those 15-odd years) is somewhat at par with GI Joe and He-Man for us. He was/is the Uncle who always caught the bad guy. And even though we stopped playing as we grew older, Uncle Pradyuman was still doing his business with absolutely no change in style or content. Even the white Toyota Qualis finally had to be sold after countless FB memes. So we had our little over-thinking laugh, but we didn’t give up. And f*** ***, we will always support our ACP. After all, like with every other Indian of every single strata of society, he is number one on our speed dial (people who have watched more than five shows will get it).
So, CID is not in contention here. I am in reality, writing this immediately after watching an episode of SONY’s Adaalat. Starring Ronit Roy as the dashing, smart and flamboyant KD Pathak, the only lawyer on either side of the Suez who fights for truth above everything else. It was an interesting casting and I think I saw one episode on YouTube on a hunch. Ronit Roy’s not bad. And very honestly, I didn’t absolute flip on watching it, but I didn’t push my finger in my eye, touch my brain and turn it either. Adaalat was indeed very, very watchable. The stories were not altogether atrocious, Ronit Roy was a safe bet with his still upper-lip Hindi and Urdu, the show was fast paced – like I said, the show was very, very watchable.
And here is why it cannot be any better. First, I think even Indian studios should start a season based program, at least for a new-revised time slot; focusing on people who’d much rather wait till next morning to go online and see the current show of the current American television series they’re watching. This entire market is lying vacant. And the people who watch Castle, or How I Met Your Mother or take a biggie, say Friends, can never come down to watching an Adaalat as religiously as they waited for every new episode of Two and a Half Men.
Think about it? What is our answer to Homeland? CID? This is frightening. I can’t understand why a huge segment of people who greedily watch Glee won’t watch something with the same style and content values made in India? Can’t there be a ten to ten-thirty slot for a more Homeland-ish series, for the corporate men maybe? I know, we’re a huge reality TV population – but we also have satellite connectivity and a plethora of channels. Instead of opening two channels that basically do the same thing (like Star Plus and Star One), can’t someone at least take an attempt with one channel? Is it that big a risk to take, particularly when compared to the risk taken for that Govinda KBC spin-off?
Now, why was I talking about a series format – quite honestly, for lesser number of shows. Perhaps that would give the writers more time to come up with more intriguing stuff. Maybe even figure out some kind of mild connecting tools through entire series’. Here is what I was thinking while watching a few episodes of Adaalat. The prosecution, Mr. Jaiswal has been trying forever to get one better over KD Pathak, and has sadly met with failure on all occasions (no, that’s not a series continuity that will meet a dramatic turn somewhere). But every time, it starts to seem that KD just comes in with his homework done properly and Jaiswal just thinks he can shout his way to a victory. Why not make the case a little stronger, show some enquiring being done by Jaiswal as well, let him meet KD half way or something – why just make your villain a comedian for no reason? And at the current rate of these shows being made, these patterns will never emerge because the writers just need to churn something workable out, and fast. Therefore, “seasons”. Let CID, nay, Adaalat run for fifteen seasons with some 30 shows each season. That way we’ll have something to cherish about spending an hour over it (and not watch these “thriller” and “suspense” genre work as maudlin humour). Moreover, if you leave someone as big as Roy enough time for his movies as well, then there can be more appearances from Bollywood in your shows. We do have the actors these days to do it. Or for that matter, even Brad Pitt made a cameo in Friends and Ashton Kutcher went back to TV. Who’s to say…
And if we look close, American television shows have their Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thhi shows, like The Days of Our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful. They’ve worked out a time plan. And let’s not try to pretend that we invented reality shows. If Shilpa Shetty had not been racially molested on Big Brother, there would be no Big Boss. Even they did the shows with their nobodies, we do it with ours. All this is going to take is a little bit of fitting into.
No, there is most definitely hope. Not too much hope at that, for he’s involved – but yes, Anil Kapoor seems to have finally been successful in bringing 24 to India. And they’ve got the director from Delhi Belly to direct (sorry, I keep forgetting his name… Deo, I think). So overall, that’s good. But it has Anil Kapoor playing the role of Jack Bauer. Depressed, anyone?
Still, I’d like to see some more shows like these. Don’t we have anyone here who can make a Big Bang Theory? Sure we do. And if we have some hundred people to make it, I’m sure we’ll have a few crore people watching it. And we definitely have thousands of malls all around India who sell products whose brands will want to advertise to their target groups. So there won’t be any dearth of financing too, really.
Time for Adaalats of India to improve. Let’s not go all the way, but like Mr. Jaiswal, let us meet Mr. Pathak half way at least.
To better times…
[Apologies are in order for the audacity of my title. I didn’t do it to belittle Satyajit Ray, or pretend that I can fit his entire expanse on cinema, into a little space on my blog by speaking about television. No, I just felt creative enough to use the title. It fit into our little situation perfectly.]