Jassi on the web

She is a college teacher and a desperate housewife by the day and a "serial killer" by the night. A mother of a five-year-old boy, Anindita Sengupta juggles with her commitments at home and workplace. By late night the economics lecturer is netizens’ favourite "coolbie", a sobriquet for updater of TV serials on www.india-forums.com As one of the "coolbies" she updates on the Net, every Monday and Thursday, the roller coaster ride in the life of Jassi, the fading darling of Indian television audience.

Net-savvy housewives across urban India, teenyboppers, cool Indian techies in the US — all avid watchers of Jassi, the loveable Cinderella of Sony Entertainment soap Jassi Jaise Koi Nahin eagerly wait for an update by Anindita. www.india-forums.com is a popular TV serial discussion forum.

Anindita’s update is one of the most avidly read contents on the site, for those who miss an episode and even for those who have lost interest in the serial because of its "illogical twists" but still want to know the latest. Developed by 25-year-old Kolkata-based software professional Vijay Bhattar, the website is one such site which has a dedicated reader base of more than 30,000 and it is growing by the day.

Interestingly, the television serial fans across the world manage it. So what was the idea behind the website? "Initial reason was my enthusiasm to discuss Jassi Jaisi...that I believed was something different. I started updating daily. Soon we got so many users coming on to the site regularly to check the updates," said Bhattar. "The basic idea in starting India Forums was to create a universal discussion board for Indian television and to meet people from all across the globe. It was fun as there were no forums which allowed people to discuss TV shows. Soon, members joined us and started penning daily synopsis of what’s missed, and also a daily detailed transcript of different shows.

Its growth has been exponential in all respects whether in terms of popularity, member base or site traffic. We are expecting to have 100,000 members by the end of this year," Bhattar says. Interest in other topics led to sister site www.india-forums.in, which too is becoming popular.

Says Anindita: "People who watch Jassi Jaise... find it different from the normal saas-bahu shows. Later the forum went on expanding for other shows on Sony as well as other channels. "I joined the forum in January. I liked Jassi Jaisi... because it was inspired by the superhit Mexican tele-novella Yo Soy Betty La Fea (I Am Betty The Ugly) which I had read on the Internet after it was translated from Latin on the Google". Says Ajim Bootwala aka Jammy, a moderator currently studying business administration in Britain: "The best part of our forum is that it doesn’t take sides, the users are openly allowed to criticise the serials, actors and directors. But still, there is an eye on the users that they don’t get out of hand or abusive.

"You will be surprised to know how many fans take their serials and actors or actresses seriously and so passionately. So we help them to express their views in a creative manner. It also welcomes all the directors or actors to express their views to the users openly". India Forums brings a TV star each Saturday for interaction with the viewers. — IANS