Film and TV
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Sunday, January 24, 1999
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Showing the police in a good light

IT’S two years since they took upon themselves to show the police in a good light — a herculean task by any standards. But Shapath on Zee TV has done just that and has garnered an impressive TRP averaging 8.7 in 1998. With such ratings it is not surprising to see it figuring in the top ten list across the channels.

A scene from
Says director Homi Wadia, "We thoroughly researched the job of a police officer and turned a drab subject into something interesting for the viewers. Cops are not always corrupt and this is the unknown aspect which I have tried to bring forth".

A lot of the success of Shapath goes to Kiran Kumar who plays DCP Jairath with an aplomb which is rare in television stars. "The most creditable part of the serial is that a single story has retained viewers attention for such a long time".

Though critics may pan it as a blatant PR exercise for the cops, the fact is that the serial is slickly made with a taut storyline explaining its high TRP ratings – which, an uncharitable wag says, is because it is so popular among the cops and their families!

In the Bodo heartland

It’s a telefilm which looks at a world torn apart by violence. Based in Assam, it goes to the roots of the Bodo problem which has engulfed people in a vortex of violence leaving behind a trail of bitterness. How does one make sense of living in an atmosphere of suspicion and brute force? That’s the question Duphang-Ni Solo tries and answer.


The telefilm being shown at the International Film Festival in Hyderabad, and later to be aired by Doordarshan, highlights the prickly issues by juxtaposing tales and stories, which not only look at the problems but remind the government of the dangers of forgetting and indifference. It focuses on the folk theatre Gaan, which goes beyond stories of gods and kings by providing critiques of socio-economic situations. The cast of Shapath celebrating a century.
The cast of
Shapath celebrating a century.

The telefilm wants viewers to pause and reflect. The film chooses to frame events from the play in long shots, never allowing viewers to get emotionally involved in the dramatic incidents in the play.

Rather than drive home a moral, it juxtaposes tales, stories and incidents from daily life. And in all these, there is a suggestion of hope. Despite the hardships, women work at their looms; children play on the river banks and elderly men sip tea at a teastall, waiting to narrate yet another tale. And therein lies the beauty of Duphang-Ni Solo.

TV Punjab

There’s serious competition to the newly launched Punjabi Channel. A brand new Punjabi language TV channel to be called Channel Punjab is being launched. It will commence programming from the Baisakhi day coinciding with the completion of 300 years of the birth of the Khalsa.

A spokesman of the Channel Punjab says it will endeavour to be a truly universal "Punjabi" channel catering to Punjabis of all types of background. "The term "Punjabi" no longer refers to just a physical region but rather embodies a state of mind and type of culture which travels with the Punjabi wherever he or she goes, whether in India or other parts of the world," says he.



It will be a complete family channel with programming content that will be appreciated by both young and old, traditional as well as modern viewers. The mix of programmes will include films, film based programmes, pop and folk music and dance, soaps, dramas and sitcoms. Programmes dedicated to the defence services will also form part of the channel’s fare.

It will be a complete family channel with programming content that will be appreciated by both young and old, traditional as well as modern viewers. The mix of programmes will include films, film based programmes, pop and folk music and dance, soaps, dramas and sitcoms. Programmes dedicated to the defence services will also form part of the channel’s fare.

Indeed, come Baisakhi and the Punjabis will now have the luxury of choice as far as TV viewing goes.

Another Nikah on TV

It’s back to Nikah days as the small screen is ready to re-thrash the runaway hit of the early eighties. The Muslim family melodrama seems to be the new fad of TV producers. A few weeks ago Star Plus began airing Naved Antulay’s Indo-Pakistani serial, Tanha. Now it’s the turn of Sony with Heena, the story of an innocent 18-year-old Muslim girl who marries Sameer only to discover he is in love with someone else.

Heena earns the love of her in-laws but can’t change Sameer who keeps meeting Rubina. Sameer’s friend, Akram is the only person who senses Heena’s loneliness and a tender relationship develops between the two. Things get worse. Sameer is so begotten with Rubina that he divorces Heena. But soon discovers Rubina just wanted to break his marriage as revenge for not marrying her.

Shattered and humiliated Heena returns to her parents. Meanwhile, Sameer, ditched by Rubina, wants Heena back but according to the Muslim law, he cannot re-marry her until she has married someone else and divorced him. He asks friend Akram to help. Will Akram agree to this arrangement? Will Heena be told of this pact? An interesting storyline and so what if it is a take-off from B.R. Chopra’s hit film Nikah.

In the groove

Bored of the same shows, bored of all the shows looking the same on all channels? Welcome to a brand new Channel [V] in 1999. Some of the new shows include The Juice, Cabaret and Catch 22.


Of these the most interesting is The Juice, a weekly half-hour show featuring the hot, hot VJ Laila slipping into the slinky soulful sounds of the grooviest funk and soul music of the present and past times. Every month there’d be one special show dedicated to one artist featuring tracks, information, discography and interviews.

A scene from Heena

Says Laila, who is also a co-producer of The Juice, "I am very excited to be part of the new show. It will be the first of many — a window to the beautiful soul and funk sounds and my debut as a producer. The New Year certainly looks groovy". Not just for her but for viewers as well.

Fun while working

To some she may come out as laboured and wooden — someone who would be more comfortable speaking Hindi than English. But for an increasing number of viewers, the effervescent and perky MTV VJ, Raageswari crash-landed in the Channel V studios as hostess of the immensely popular BPL Oye in 1993. Then she switched over to MTV and is currently anchoring Ek Do Teen and MTV Most Wanted, the former a favourite of hers because of the simple scripts and clean jokes which goes down well with people of all age groups.

Rags, ventured into the world of showbiz at the early age of 15 with her first film Zid. Then came Aankhen followed by Main Khiladi Tu Anari. But seeing the film offers drying up she switched to television. Says she, "MTV is an immensely creative channel and a perfect platform for my creative interests. I have great fun hosting the shows". Considering the megabucks she gets, who wouldn’t have fun hosting!

— Mukesh Khosla


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