Wednesday, 23 March 2016

episode 351 a test it is


really this take could be done with just that one word. the episode made me realise what melodrama actually does to the viewer... well at least to me.

as the strident flat sound and the doused with colour images got going and tears flowed, while dumbed down dialogues crashed against eardrums, i could feel my inner viewer, the one who watches undisturbed by everything, quietly shut down. there was nothing for it here.

melodrama essentially disconnects me. it slams hard against my ability to feel, to evince, to enjoy and leaves it bludgeoned.

jainesh, i finally understood, had been brought in to spike this very thing in the show. because the indian mass audience were not as excited about the show as us... so "research" must have said, ipk is too subtle. tehmass viewer doesn't get it.

the very things that made ipk, ipk... had to be fixed to get the numbers.

demolish subtlety, unleash the melodrama... must have been the brief. alas, it was not just subtlety really, it was pretty neat writing... from all writers. even if it was a soap and it had its share of soapness. that writing was going to be killed as well.

maa. i was always astonished at how this character and her pivotal role was established without melodrama. you could feel asr and anjali's anguish. you knew how key her death was to the character of asr we were seeing before us. how well it all fit in with the story. no one had to tell us that asr connected to his mother through his gardening... you sort of knew it. unsaid but not unknown.

but no. that's too subtle. let's give her a garden. and so we had the suddenly brought about maa's garden hideaway.

on 15 feb 2012, asr had driven wildly to a cul de sac and had a breakdown. none of us will forget it. that scream into the night... that maa, trapped in a memory somewhere. we didn't know where this bend in the road was, it was just some corner of this fractured world where one brutally wounded had come wildly seeking what he didn't know and then he had fallen on this unmarked earth and again a feeling of maa and earth had mingled, made a tv moment unforgettable.

but no. we must mark everything. underline it, make it bold... so let's have another breakdown (since asr breakdown seems to get trp) and let it happen in maa's garden... with red roses stuck here and there. that way no one will miss the significance of it... and make sure we get close ups of tears... always good for numbers.

i could see barun trying very hard to give this scene weight, beauty. but everything was so trying hard to be right. those flowers were particularly dizzying. the day he had insulted her and driven off then come to realise he was wrong, he had said what he never should have, her memories had come in flashbacks even then, after his many memories of di and sheesh mahal... it had felt natural... a story of love and its place in our hearts was being told. how it comes and starts making a place for itself, how it becomes so very essential to us, how it even wipes out certain unbearable things and soothes... i felt so much that time...

today, it was again a set of too right memories... she's saying i will disappear like sand in his thoughts.

he is saying, if i leave your hand once i won't hold it again, in hers.

he is thinking, she'd said don't make me wait.

she is thinking, he's saying, don't ever leave me.

all of it is saying, here dumb viewer, i am flattening out all the intricacies and interesting bends and curves and peaks and cravasses of the story and its telling... come on, show me the trp.

i felt sad. who decided it was okay to just throw it all away. doesn't good work matter at all? i am not surprised. i have seen the same trend in advertising for years. it's not really arnav singh raizada who has  the wring idea about the importance of money. it's us... our world.

yeh shadi nahin hogi.
this wedding shan't take place.

dadi actually said it... that much joked about hindi film dialogue. she even took the kangans off khushi's hands. she had put it there to wrench it off of course... anything and everything that could shove up the volume and action on the screen was used.

the new actor of ipk had clearly no feelings for it, but the older ones did... and i felt they all tried to give this whole thing the best they could, so an old viewer like me would stay, not be turned off. payal touched me. khushi was supposed to get hysterical (what else, thsi is serial staple, but would the real khushi behave the way we saw her here?), to veer between  certainty and doubt. i felt sanya tried but it was all a bit too much. there was a place though where i felt khushi's emotions... when she turned to payal and asked like a child, he will come, won't he? the vishwas girl allowing doubt to enter her for a moment... something real there.

i even had a goosebump moment. when nani walked up to garima slowly and spoke to her, her words felt as though they were written by the ipk dialogue writers... an empathy in them and nani ji's character.

"hum aapan beti kho diye... hum naahin janat hain ki hum aapko maaf karne ka dil rakhat hai ki nahin.. par yeh baat agar aap ne hume pehle bata diye hote toh..."

i lost my daughter... i don't know if i have the heart to forgive you... but if you'd disclosed this earlier...

nani ji had a magnificence in her that even her wig, stitched sarees and pancake make up couldn't hide. i will never forget how good an actor jayshree t can be if the script lets her be.

garima's breakdown too felt normal... not that in life such bizarre things don't happen, and people don't cry. there is hysteria, tears, bizarreness, all of it here in our lives and in many stories. it was really the way things were told that i just couldn't like. it was not ipk certainly.

barun once said, he found crying difficult. yet on 15 feb he broke down and me along with him.

here, i just wanted him to stop, get into his car and drive to the mandap. it was the sort of weeping asr just never would do.

the crying went on. and the what will happen angst. people said as many obvious things as possible. nk suddenly took charge, not akash. garima apologised to her husband who forgave her instantly. i was surprised, so he didn't know? all these years? bua ji also was in forgiving mood... clearly this part of the tale had to be tied up quickly. not important... or whatever.

nani said the words in everyone's mind... how will chhotey deal with it... bua ji echoed the thought. viewer was supposed to sit on edge of seat biting nails and wondering will he come won't he come. in advertising they would call all those frets about chhotey "call to action." it gets the other party responding at frantic pace (or so they think... i have always disliked those call to action obvious silly lines.)

aaj arnav ji aur hamare pyaar ka imtehaan hai... today, is the test of arnav ji and my love, said khushi.

i thought, uh huh... it's the test of my love for ipk. 


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