The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, February 4, 2001

Woman power to the fore

THERE may be nothing intellectual about it but as soaps go, Sukanaya stands out for its contemporary theme.

Telecast on Fridays at 3 p.m. On B4U, it is the story of a young Lucknow woman whose perfect world is shattered when her parents are killed in an accident. Hence, begins her new life. Her fatherís rich sister, who lives in Mumbai, reluctantly offers to give her shelter.

A scene from Sukanaya...Contemporary themeSukanaya manages to get a scholarship from IIT, Powai, from where she graduates and joins an IT company. Her childhood friend Raman arrives in Mumbai and the two of them start their own software company. Within a short span she becomes a corporate giant.

Shot in Lucknow and Mumbai, the serial explores the world of a brave and brilliant young woman. Itís about the clash of values and cultures that confront her. And how deftly she negotiates and encounters hurdles to emerge victorious and successful.

Says celebrated author Shobha De, who has written the story, "It was a plot close to my heart." And why not? Given her own background, she has both the pen and the perception to work around themes of professionally successful women.

Another run-of-the-mill serial
January 28,2001
An engrossing tale of relationships
January 21,2001
A familiar, predictable family drama
January 14,2001

Mistress of the mind
January 7,2001

And now Neenaís third avtaar
December 24,2000

A tale from the hills
December 17,2000

The second coming of Zeenat Aman
December 10,2000

The Mallika of many roles
December 3,2000

Chandigarh children on a winning spree
November 26, 2000

Breaking a misconception
November 19, 2000

And now mythology from the feminine perspective
November 12, 2000

Focus on family fortunes yet again
November 5, 2000

A tale of two sisters
October 29, 2000

Face to face with Madhuri
October 22, 2000

Triumph of the mind over matter
October 15, 2000

Intertwined lives and their story
October 8, 2000

Making their dreams come true
October 1, 2000

How to cope with two wives
September 24, 2000

Story of revenge and retribution
September 10, 2000

Being a saheli to women viewers
September 3, 2000

Papa donít compete!
August 27, 2000

Hotspots: A treat for armchair travellers
August 20, 2000

A sermon that drags on
August 13, 2000

Kader Khan is here to make you laugh
August 6, 2000

Oh brother, Apna Apna Style
July 30, 2000

Going potty over Junior

With Enid Blyton giving way to J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter replacing the Famous Five in the new millennium, can our scriptwriters be far behind?

The character of Gaurav in Junior 6 on DD, Saturdays 12.30 pm, could be right out the world of Potter. The young boy has been sent to earth on a special mission: to destroy Fyumancho, an evil magician bestowed with great scientific powers.

Junior 6...Magical featsHeavens open up for this orphan, living with his scheming aunt and uncle, when two celestial asteroids collide. The debris which falls on the earth has the power to change any human into super being with unmatched magical powers.

Fyumancho is desperate to get the debris. But it is pre-ordained that the one who gets hold of it will destroy Fyumancho. And that person is none other than Gaurav who triumphs over evil and becomes Junior 6, the saviour of the world.

Despite the fact that many portions sound suspiciously familiar, the serial will hold the attention of young viewers because of its absorbing storyline and excellent production qualities.

Stepping into the arclights

In real life, sheís far removed from Rushali, the mentally retarded character she plays in Choodiyan on Sony.

"Itís a tough role and I like challenges in life," says Shraddha Nigam whoís been around for sometime but wasnít heard of because she never got a dynamic break in films or TV.

Shraddha in Choodiyan...Stardom beckonsShe starred opposite Mithun in Apne Dum Par and in the Ajay Devgan-starrer Aghaz, but both sank without a trace. Then she headed South but after one box-office disaster, she decided to bide her time in Mumbai.

The break came with Choodiyan and with it the wheel of fortune started spinning for Shraddha. She featured in a New Age movie, Take It Easy, and then, of all the people, Shah Rukh Khan approached her for his film, Ashoka The Great.

"Iíve a lot to thank Choodiyan for. Had I not been noticed I wouldnít have got the big offer, says the rising star whoís also doing the hit stage play, Whose Wife Is She, Anyway.

So will it be films, TV or stage? "I am keeping my fingers crossed and my mind open. Iíll do a good role anywhere," says Shraddha confident that things can only look up from now onwards.

With God on his mind

Ever since he struck gold with Ramayana, Ramanand Sagar has realised that thereís a fortune to be earned from the small screen. And whoever cared for production values.

Brahma Vishnu Mahesh...Lords of the universeBrahma Vishnu Mahesh, telecast on Mondays at 8 p.m. on SABe TV, is another offering from the man who specialises in portraying deities on television. Assured of a dedicated viewership, Sagar sees no reason to lend quality in terms of production, acting and script to these intrinsically powerful themes.

As the name suggests, the epic deals with Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu the Saviour and Mahesh or Shiva the Destroyer. In short, itís about the life cycle of human beings.

Sagar says that there are some people who are making serials individually of each of these gods but only he has thought of making one where all three are portrayed. A surprising line of thinking for Sagar, considering he could have made three separate serials and earned three times the moolah!

Carry on doctor

Many of the serials Zee English airs may have gone off the air years ago in the West, but it must go to the credit of this channel that some of its selection cannot be faulted.

One such series is Emmy Award winning ER, on Thursdays, 11 p.m. which combines the talents of best-selling author Michael Crichton and actor George Clooney. It proactively explores the chaos of a hospital emergency room and the lives of physicians.

Some years ago this was one of the few "must-see TVs" overseas. Now Indian viewers can enjoy its drama ó life-and-death conflicts, humour and even a touch of the soap opera.

March of pachyderms

They read like stories from a fast-moving soap opera: Shanthi lost her infant to a mysterious virus, and is undergoing artificial insemination in the hope that she will get a second chance at motherhood.

Urban Elephant...Crossing manís path.Chendri, a Malaysian immigrant who was blinded in a bitter conflict at a palm oil plantation, arrives in the USA to begin a new life all over again.

Dramatic tales, to be sure, but these arenít episodes of Days of Our Lives. These are the stories of urban elephants travelling across Africa, Asia, Europe and the USA.

Urban Elephant on the National Geographic Channel, February 8, 9.30 p.m., tells eight tales of elephants whose lives have been touched by human beings.

Adapting to the challenges of being a wild animal in a man-made world isnít easy for elephants like Shanthi and Chendri, but their human caregivers are dedicated to the task of fulfilling their physical and social needs.

A sensitive series for all animal lovers who care for the basic dignity of life for animals.

ó Mukesh Khosla