The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, November 11, 2001

Another soap traverses the beaten path

WITH her first Bollywood venture — Kyonki Mai Jhooth Nahin Bolta — bombing at the box office, Ekta Kapoor has gone back to her reliable money-making machine — producing TV serials.

Kasautii Zindagii Kay ....Love triangle
Kasautii Zindagii Kay ....Love triangle

Her new project — you guessed it — is a family soap revolving around a scheming woman and — you guessed it again — it starts with the letter ‘K’. Kasautii Zindagii Kay on Star Plus from Monday to Thursday, 8.30 p.m. is woven around two large business families, the Basus and the Sharmas on the threshold of coming together in matrimony.

Anurag Basu, handsome, soft-spoken and very disciplined son of businessman Maloy Basu is in love with Prerna, the daughter of another business tycoon Rajesh Sharma. Maloy and Rajesh are the best of friends who are looking forward to the marriage of their son and daughter, respectively. The spoke in the wheel is Anurag’s scheming mother who forces her son to marry another girl, thus leaving Prerna shattered and pregnant.

Scorned in love, Prerna decides to take revenge. She can never forgive Anurag because she has never forgotten him! The serial explores the trials and tribulations the two star-crossed lovers go through. The saga of love, revenge and passion is interesting in parts but all too predictable in others. But then, don’t all soaps traverse this beaten path?


Marriage mess-up

There seems to be a serious scarcity out there. The number of people producing family soaps seems to be dwindling sharply and just one name keeps emerging across the channels — Ekta Kapoor.

Kutumb: Opposites attract
Kutumb: Opposites attract

If Star Plus started airing Kasautii Zindagii Kay from October 29, Sony Entertainment Television too has begun telecasting Kutumb from the same date. Both Monday-to-Thursday soaps from Balaji Telefilms. Sony has been careful in airing it an hour after Star Plus. So now, you can comfortably go from one Ekta Kapoor serial to another.

Kutumb is the story of Pratham and Gauri. He is a spoilt, egotistical young man, while she is headstrong and self-willed. There could never be two persons more different. But then, in a bizarre twist that leaves everyone shell-shocked, the two end up getting married!

Despite marriage, Pratham’s desire to teach her a lesson in humility hasn’t diminished. The spirited Gauri rises to the challenge relying on her high values and inherent simplicity. Will he succeed in crushing Gauri’s ego? Will she ever find acceptance? Will love ever bloom? It seems like an impossible dream. After all, doesn’t love beget love?

Kutumb takes a long, close look at relationships. At a young daughter-in-law caught in the crossfire of rejection and isolation. Her mind wants revenge, but her heart and upbringing tug her the other way. The trouble here is the same as in Kasautii Zindagii Kay — it’s all too familiar. If you’ve seen one Ekta Kapoor serial, you’ve seen ‘em all!

Flying high

From Superman Shaktiman to Super Boy, Junior G, India is all set to send its very own, indigenously spun young hero flying off into space chasing the evil guys. Junior G, the super kid is vested with supernatural powers that he uses to rid the earth of evil.

Junior G: Superboy goes desi
Junior G: Superboy goes desi

Gaurav, an orphan, is metamorphosed into a super child when he accidentally stumbles into the crash between two asteroids. Emerging a much-empowered child from the collision, his mission becomes to destroy the evil magical genius, Fyumancho.

There has always been untapped space for children’s TV serials in the country. Apart from a diet of cartoons, largely translated from English, Indian children rarely get a fare that can fire their imagination or their own native icons. Very often they get hooked to watching film-based programmes that dominate the TV telecasts.

Producer of the serial, Aneesh Dev Jhhamb, seeks to fill this enormous gap. With a concept and presentation that is completely different from the usual run-of-the-mill children’s programmes, he hopes to capture the imagination of the Indian children. Typically, the serial hopes to deliver some social messages as it navigates through its different episodes.

An overwhelming early response confirms the enormous untapped potential for kid’s programmes on TV. Within the first few weeks of its telecast on Doordarshan’s, the TRP rating of the serial have climbed up to the 15th spot, even though it goes on air on Saturday 12.30 p.m. (when many children are at school) rather than the more watchable Sundays.

In spite of its shoestring budget, producers claim not to have sacrificed production values. However, it certainly remains devoid of the digital imagery that only more funds can bring into the programme. For the time being though, watching Junior G seems high on children’s list of priorities.

Chhoti Maa badi baat

Here’s a tele-serial that does not talk about saas-bahu spats and doomed lovers. Chhoti Maa...Ek Anokha Bandhan is different. It is the story of a woman who shares a beautiful relationship with her stepdaughter.

A scene from Chhoti Maa: Ek Anokha Bandhan
A scene from Chhoti Maa: Ek Anokha Bandhan

Being telecast from Monday to Wednesday on Zee TV at 9.00 p.m., the story revolves around a woman who strives hard to break the mould of the archetypal stepmother who personifies evil. She makes a great effort to woo her husband’s daughter from his first wife developing a unique bond with her.

However, the joys are short lived, when the past catches up with the mother threatening to ruin the lives of the happy family. In these testing times the mother shows exemplary courage and decides to fight her own battle without jeopardising her home life.

The serial stands out for its simple narration and absorbing storyline. There are no costly bungalows and high speed cars, instead this is the story of a small, happy family of three whose aspirations and needs are few but there’s plenty of love for everyone.

Exploring the universe

BBC World is going where very few have gone before. The Planets every Saturday, 7.40 p.m, sets course for the ultimate voyage of discovery — a natural history of the solar system. Since man first walked on the moon, robust little robotic probes have travelled into the radioactive cauldron of giant Jupiter and soared with awesome precision through the rings of Saturn. Pioneers, pathfinder, mariners, Vikings and voyagers have explored, imaged, sampled and analysed the furthest reaches of the solar system.

Through their glass eyes and metal arms The Planets rides on Mars, skims across the Venus lava fields, soars over iceberg-strewn moonscapes near Jupiter and sails towards the very edge of the solar system.

The series has taken mapping data from NASA to produce the most accurate representations of the worlds that lie hidden from the gaze of even the most sophisticated space probes.

Episodes like Different Worlds, Terra Firma and Giants tell the story of mankind’s first steps off planet Earth into the most amazing vistas in the planetary neighbourhood recounting the gripping stories of some of the most inspiring scientific ventures ever.

Quest for adventure

Get ready for a rough ride on National Geographic Channel’s Toyota Out There every Wednesday at 9 p.m. The series puts you over the shoulder of gutsy photographers, explorers, scientists, and filmmakers who will go anywhere to find a story, get a shot, and solve a riddle.

Spanning the realms of adventure, science and exploration, the series captures stories from new frontiers, told from the perspective of the men and women seeking answers both intensely personal and profound.

Capture the dramatic human spectacle of Kumbha Mela, a festival that draws millions of Hindus to Allahabad, once every 12 years with photographer Raghu Rai who captures deep impressions of a human scene of truly biblical proportions and beyond all imagination.

Accompany volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer on an expedition to one of the most sought after wonders of the volcano world — the lava lake of Erta’ Ale in the Danakil Depression of Ethiopia. He was turned back in his attempt in 1995. But now, after studying satellite images of Erta’A for six years, he is determined to risk it all to finally reach, and study, his scientific holy grail.

Meet head-on the fierce fossa, who is king of the jungle in Madagascar, and "one of the most ferocious predators on Earth", what conservation biologist, Luke Dollar, fondly calls it. Follow Dollar’s field research as he works to understand this complex and elusive creature and races to save its forest home from annihilation.

Watch all this and much more on this thrilling adventure series throughout November.

— Mukesh Khosla

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