K’illarious `Kyunki...`

Hurray! The torture has finally ended after 8 long years- a little too late I would say but better late than never. It’s time to rejoice… So here is raising a toast to the unnatural death of Ekta Kapoor’s flagship<i> rona dhona, maha drama</i> ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’. May the dreaded K never return to haunt us again… <br><br>

Wonder why I am being so cynical? <i>Kyunki</i> it drove us to the wall, <i>Kyunki</i> it tested our patience and intelligence, <i>Kyunki</i> it portrayed us (women) in the most stereotypical fashion, <i>Kyunki</i> it did not come with a warning of watching at one’s own risk and <i>Kyunki</i> one did not need a reason to detest this show or cast suspicious glances at those who did like the show. <br><br>

So in case you are a ‘Kyunki’ fan then please leave or forever hold your peace for this write up; its not meant for the faint hearted or weak willed. Reader’s discretion is advised as we are going to dive in some serious whipping and no holds barred bashing of this soggy saga.
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But just like any other Balaji serial which begins on a chirpy note with the birds singing and the temple bells tolling; ‘Kyunki’ wasn’t all that bad initially. So I would like to venture into un-chartered waters and risk appreciating this ‘k’ katha just a bit. For, like it or not, the show had the potential of being met with a different fate had many aspects been handled differently.
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<b>The Good</b>
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<b>Family ties:</b> A joint family in the confused 21st century was one of the major USPs that got the viewers hooked on to the show. When most of the soaps were busy celebrating nuclear family freedom, ‘Kyunki’ came as a refreshing break. A show about an affluent <i>Gujarati</i> family that had a modern outlook yet traditional values immediately clicked with the audience and garnered the highest TRPs.
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<b>Widow re-marriage:</b> Everything said and done, the show did break a lot of taboos. The soap, time and again, took up the cause of widow re-marriage. Tulsi, her daughter Shobha and daughter-in-law Nandini were urged to remarry once their spouses passed away.
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<b>Marital rape:</b> The prima donnas of TV serials ‘Kyunki’ once again took the lead in bringing the harsh reality to the fore. The loveless marriage of Nandini and Ansh served the plot to present this brutal truth. Nandini is raped by her husband Ansh, who was subsequently dragged to court by Nandini on the behest of guess who??? Ansh’s mother Tulsi.
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<b>Mother India Tulsi’s killing of own son:</b> Not that I want to promote domestic violence but Tulsi killing her own son Ansh to protect her <i>bebas bahu</i> was one of the few eye popping, unbelievable, exaggerated sequences. Nevertheless, it was the right thing to do. May be killing was a little to much for anyone’s taste but the idea was well conveyed.
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<b>Baa-the 84 yr old (or was she 400?) fashionista:</b> This was one of the few crowning moments of the show. Just when critics were breathing fire down Ekta’s neck to send Baa to the grave, she sends her to the school of fashion design. Once again the point was taken well. The aged can’t be just nudged away, they have a life too.
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Even a ‘Kyunki’ basher like me feels that the show did have the potential had it not slipped from good to bad to downright ugly.
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<b>The Bad</b>
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<b>Blah blah blah… about <i>sanskaars</i>:</b> Anyone watching the show could easily give religious channels like 'Sanskaar' and 'Aastha' a miss. The characters of the show had loads of <i>faltoo gyaan</i> to pass on to its poor moral defunct viewers any given day.
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<b>Privacy went for a toss:</b> From bedroom talk to kitchen politics, everybody overheard everybody. Whether is was a husband and wife doing coochie coo or a <i>saas</i> bitching about the new bride, someone would always overhear and pass on the golden words. The motto being: if informed then better misinform.
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<b>Drama queens galore:</b> Who needs dialogues, when your body language speaks volumes? Cunning smirks, weird eye moves, and look east talk west actions, exaggerated reactions reduced the dialogues to mere lip service. In fact, put the show on mute and you are as good as someone who’s heard all the wailing, screeching and thundering.
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<b>Sleeping beauties:</b> They smiled in make-up, they wept in make-up (water proof of course), they even slept in make-up; the characters were good enough to enter a beauty pageant on any given moment. Being glamorous is good, but did no one tell these <i>saas bahus</i> that sleeping with make-up on was a beauty disaster. Quiet literally the characters hid their true colours behind the glossy exteriors.
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<b>The Ugly</b>
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<b>Reverse ageing process:</b> Generations leaps had a different connotation here. The most bugging factor was the characters getting younger and sassier with each passing year. Instead of getting sober with age, they just got lousy make up jobs done and the beauticians had a ball. Getting older here meant extra coats of foundations, oodles and oodles of mascara, and even more glam accessories.
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<b>Arise from the dead:</b> Grrr grrr… even Ramsay Brothers would have bowed to Ekta Kapoor when she pulled Mihir out of the coffin. The day Mihir returned from the dead, the show was fated to be doomed. For the tacky scheme was used time and again as the characters deemed dead would suddenly appear and instead of going BOOM, the audience went Yawn…
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<b>In-law incest:</b> Being accommodating is one thing but marrying your brother’s ex-wife is simply tacky. Every now and then a wife would leave her husband and go and marry her devar. What kind of a sick minded plot was the show promoting?
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<b><i>Saaziish</i> and more <i>saazish</i>:</b> Mindless conspiracies ruled and misunderstandings were the order of the day. Just when something good would happen; the bad immediately followed leaving room for ample of drama.
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It will always remain a mystery as to how a serial so banal and plot-dead, where the characters always remained dressed as if they were attending a barat or a Halloween party, could become so popular.
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But like it or not ‘Kyunki’ was one the most popular shows the telly has ever known. But with the channel the tying a goose around its neck and finally sending it to the dungeons, all I am left is with a list of ‘if only’ that could have saved it from its unprecedented death…
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If only Mihir had not died or brought back from the dead on popular demand, if only the characters looked their part, if only Baa bid adieu before she turned 400, if only the family members understood the term privacy, if only Ekta Kapoor gave some credit to the viewer’s intelligence and did not take them for a ride, if only Tulsi did not have to be such a goody two shoes…. The show could have been bearable!

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