Cult shows such as ‘Hum Log’, ‘Buniyaad’ and ‘Nukkad’ are a thing of the long past now. These television shows, which were nothing short of a revolution, had succeeded in striking an emotional bond with the viewers, primarily because the on screen characters exhibited a realistic touch despite being on reel. The stories too revolved around the common man and ‘Malgudi Days’ testified the fact.
Back then, Doordarshan was perhaps the only medium for entertainment on screen. And these shows weren’t merely meant for leisure; they engaged the audiences and succeeded in keeping their interests intact.
‘Mahabharata’ and ‘Ramayana’ proved what TV series can do when delivered with utmost conviction. However, with the advent of private entertainment channels, the idea of producing quality shows coupled with thought-provoking realism declined.
TV followed in the footsteps of its big brother- silverscreen- and opted for the business path. Audiences were slapped with cliché stories and were given an overdose of what one may call - melodrama. Thanks to the newly launched Zindagi channel, we are now getting the much-needed break from monotony and treating audiences with shows that reflect reality on the small screen in the simplest possible way.
Perhaps, one of the reasons why Zindagi has become such a huge hit is because its serials mirror daily lives of commoners across the border, which are in many ways similar to the ones that people lead in India.
Despite airing prorams of a nation which otherwise has the reputation of being an unfriendly neighbour, Zindagi has succeeded in bridging the gap and connecting commoners from either side of the border, who understand no barriers of cast, creed, faith, nationality and geographical boundaries. ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hai’, ‘Aunn Zara’, ‘Kash Main Teri Beti Na Hoti’ and ‘Kitni Girhein Baqi Hain’ are classic examples of what serials ought to be like.
These shows reflect what Indian Television at its nascent stage believed in: airing- realistic stories which could help the audiences relate with the characters on screen. ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hai’ is a modern-day love story of a flamboyant boy from an affluent family and an ambitious self-reliant, middle-class girl, who discover their love for each other, regardless of their hostility towards each other in the beginning.
The makers of the show were able to weave the story with close-to-real-life circumstances and dialogues. The characters looked real with minimal or no make-up unlike Indian TV characters who are made to look made-up and incredibly unreal. The costumes too are simple and elevate the mood exhibited by the characters and their situations.
The shows aired on Zindagi are neat, crisp and intriguing. Based on Faiza Iftikhar`s novel ‘Hisaar-e-Muhabbat’, ‘Aunn Zara’ triumphed in narrating the tale of a young man (pampered to the core by his family), who wants to break away from the clutches of his loved ones in order to spend time with his wife. ‘Aunn Zara’ throws light on the importance of family bond with a witty storyline. Isn’t that a welcome break from glycerine-loaded unapologetically melodramatic sequences on Indian TV?
Zindagi has helped in breaking stereotypes and treating audiences with shows that genuinely echo an average Indian’s life. The channel has given the much-needed relief from the regressive saas-bahu sagas which speak about unbelievable sacrifices made by women to uphold their family values.
Indian television, in the recent past, did see the emergence of awe-inspiring shows with thought-provoking concepts. But the purpose of introducing novel themes to Indian audiences gets diluted when the story is subjected to undue elaboration. Episode after episode, all one gets to see is how the basic concept takes a backseat thus paving way for uninteresting and irrelevant sub-plots to increase the length of the show.
Perhaps it is time for Indian TV producers and writers to retrospect and take effective steps to revive the long lost glory of Indian Television.
Pic courtesy: @ZeeZindagiTV