The Great Indian Melodrama

Posted by - Rohit

Coming home after work I always have to hear that silly, soapy, sappy background score that piggybacks itself along with even sillier Soap Operas. When in the late 80s and early 90s we had shows like Nukkad, Circus, Fauji that mostly focussed on the middle class and their simple problems with absolutely no over the top acting skill exhibition (mind you even Shahrukh Khan was in his prime those days), no glitter, no 'borrowed' background score, just simple and plain family drama, television did make sense. But now, Indian Television, I believe is going through a process called reverse evolution (is reverse evolution even a word. Does reverse evolution mean revolution?...Ahh chuck it). Absolutely unwanted melodrama, eye hurting shimmer and absolute non-chalance for people's patience is what seems to work for them. The current mantra is to find a topic that seems to be gripping to the common man, say child marriage, caste discrimination, gender inequality, widow marriages, dowry and then after 20 odd episodes just make that character a "Bahu Rani", portray the Bahu Rani's mom in law as a bitch and Voila...You have a TRP lurer!

What makes these mindfelling, spineless, corny  stories a real success is the amount of drama inculcated. We love it don't we. I mean come on, I watched Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi as a kid (but stopped just as Smriti Irani gained weight).


We seem to adopt that drama as well, as for some reason this drama seems to be a way of life. If the rich can act can we. For instance, let me give you a glimpse of the amount of drama that occurs at my place.

Mom: Go get some bread and eggs.
Me: No, I'm busy blogging.
Mom: Kya? (Means 'What'.Head turns once) Kya? (Twice) Kya? (Thrice)
Me: Haan. (meaning yes, sternly without blinking). Haan. (Sternly without blinking). Haan (Sternly again. I just blinked. I'm not Rebecca Black)
Dad: Burp!
Mom: Did I just hear what you said?
Me: I just said what you heard.
Dad: Yawn...

And it goes on and on, until our society watchman interferes and volunteers to buy bread and eggs and then Mom asks him to get a kg onion, garam masala, Scotch Brite and Tide along with bread and eggs.

And look at the amount of patience it takes to watch these shows. On a Monday episode they would show a woman offering poison in a cup of tea to some guy. Till the end of tuesday, the guy would admire the cup. At the end of the Wednesday episode he brings the cup to his lips. On thursday he takes 2 sips. At the end of Friday's episode he gulps in the entire tea. Next Monday he starts choking and by next Friday he dies. Super! Wait wait, it's not over yet. He comes back to life after 6 Thursdays on a Friday. It works, every single time. And you probably know why the character is poisoned, it's because the guy, being in his early 30s, doesn't want to play a grandfather owing to a generation leap which is on the cards and a tried and tested superhit formula for producers but after a handshake off the sets he returns back to the show playing the dead guy's son. Lead protagonists leaving shows stranded is not a new thing. Like our very own Mohnish Behl who played the male protagonist on a hit TV show just left it stranded as he supposedly couldn't do intimate roles with his co-star. And reportedly Mohnish Behl threw tantrums on the sets. Tantrums? I think that is what insecure housewives do. So I really think there was something else brewing in here. In the dialogue mode now,

Behl: Director Saab!
(Camera zooms into Behl and just as his nostrils seem vivid, it zoom's out)
Behl: Your toilet seat is of the worst quality ever. Plus you have no sense of colour.
Director: What? (Going Once). What? (Twice). What? (Thrice)
The Director taking it personally, probably because he owns a ceramics shop.
Director: Did you say worst quality?
Behl: Yes...
Spot Boy: Chaila... (Marathi Slang...forget it)
Director: You are barred from using it then. (Take that)
Behl: Then I quit.
Director: Ok.
Behl: Ok?

So this soggy saga would go on and on. I truly believe none of the currently televised shows are doing anything to evolve people with respect to ideas, taste, thoughts and values. Comedy is loud, reality shows have drama, drama is hackeneyed and what on earth is CID about? There's more that is required to bring Indian Television out of these shackles of limited creative scope (too dramatic, wasn't it?)
I sincerely pray, that Christopher Nolan goes bankrupt and so desperate that he only gets to do Indian Television and nothing else.
Until then -
"Deal with Drama"!! (Going once)
"Drama" (twice)
"Drama" (Thrice).

Enjoy this article? Get Free Updates


  1. superb should've put in today's episode also :) then i could've billed for a special appearance :) like those serials where some other serial's characters come in to solve the airing serial' characters problems :) and all is well :)

  2. Congrats on the compliments from our very own soap queen (chechi) :p.. This was very nice and really funny :D

    1. ya...I can have a soap factory in my house now...can make out soaps from their background scores now :D

  3. Yeah man 90's was the golden age (u forgot malgudi days btw) Indian television is in dumps...may christ... oops chirstopher nolan save it :P