Saturday, January 7, 2012

10 Things I hate about Indian Soaps

10 Things I Hate About Indian Soaps
            I have always been impressed by how Bollywood has emerged as an internationally renowned entertainment industry by keeping up with the technological advancement, production quality, talent grooming, and creativity and packaging the ingredients in an intelligent marketing strategy. Lately, what has impressed me more about Bollywood is their inclination towards experimentation. When Bollywood became my benchmark to assess the Indian entertainment industry, I obviously expected something close to that standard, if not equal, from the Indian television industry as well.

  Honestly speaking I have drama serials and soaps have never been my thing regardless of their origin, however,
1. Its endless. To put it simply, climax for these soaps do not, I repeat do NOT exist –at all. It reminds me of one of the stories of my childhood that was about a king who went hunting to the woods with his minister and had to spend the night in the woods due to bad weather. Unable to sleep, the king commands his minister to tell him a story until he falls asleep. The minister than tells him a story of a king who goes hunting with his minister and had to spend the night in the woods, and then asks his minister to tell him a story until he sleeps. The story moves in circles at the same constant perimeter. The only difference between my child hood story and then soaps is that the former made a bit more sense to me.
            I still remember how one of the characters in a Star Plus soap was shown to have lived through four generations and the director still planned to keep her alive had she not died her natural death.
2. When you are dead, you are dead. I heard about nine lives of a cat. To my surprise, the number of lives that the characters (who by the way do not know the purpose of their existence in the story) is almost infinite. A character can die and return as many times as the director wants. Take it like this: disagreements with the producer, character dies, work relationship resumed, character returns, and s/he returns with a bang, actually a lot of banging.
3. The tendency of returning not only alive, but with a completely new and ravishing face. Not only the face but even the height, eye colour and the voice changes. Perhaps, that is the reason of so much of banging going on in the background, while s/he makes the return. Under some circumstances, the said characters returns with his or her memory lost and remembers nothing except the latest fashion of course.
4.  Every soap has to have an extra marital affair and every extra marital affair has to produce an illegitimate child. Errr.. I thought science has advanced enough to take care of that. Not just that, but the heartiest welcome that the antagonist illegitimate mother gets along with her child from the whole family and how easily the society accommodates her. 
5. The absurdity of a couple of dozen family members living in a single house, and yet each one of them managing to have their personal bedrooms. Not just that, but each new person member joining the family manages to get accommodated in a separate room as well.
6. The mindless Math and insane economics – Rich folks are rich when they have a net worth of at least three thousand crores *coughs* (I wanted to write this amount in numerics but lost the count of the number of zeros in three thousand crores).  The mega rich family, when loses just one contract to an antagonist character, or if one of their fifty factories catches a fire, loses all those zeros in the three thousand crores, get their super big mansion mortgaged, and settle in a dwelling, at least 20 times smaller than the previous one. Surpassing all the laws of economics, the whole Kunba of a few dozen people get stuffed in the small house, not to forget that the brand of their saris remains the same, with all the jewellery, make up and fashion sense remaining intact.
7. The universal utility of the set. The living room seen in the first soap becomes a restaurant 30 minutes later. Another 30 minutes and it turns into an office premises. The same building keeps on changing into a club, a bar, a disco theque, and even a five star hotel.
8. The drum rolls. Whether someone dies or a supposed-to-be-dead person returns alive (only to attend his/her spouse’s wedding of course), your eardrums are to be pierced through.  The mega annoying drum beats are complemented with a close up shot of every single character in the scene. If the number of people is less than ten, then it is likely that each character in the scene gets a screen shot more than once.
9.  The non existent door lock. You live in a big, I mean huge mansion, worth a few crores and you do not have locks on your bedroom door and in some cases not even the bathroom door so that some nosy aunty from the ‘Kunba’ can easily peek in your bedrooms when you are getting naughty with your husband’s sister’s husband’s cousin. Not to forget that the main entrance of the huge mansion is always open.
10. The age math. The incomprehensible logic of the son looking older than his mum and younger than his wife, while the grandmother’s age freezes once she becomes a grandmother reminding me of the Cullens. 

An edited version of this article was published on Express Tribune Blogs on 7th January, 2012, and in Express Tribune Sunday Magazine on 15th January 2012.


  1. Hey Sana,
    I totally agreed with you. Indian Soaps are really a pack of endless stupidities.


  2. Sana ji, customer says fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on you

  3. Haha.. good one sana. you have summed up really well. I am Indian and I also don't like those serials.I have been using Most of the points that you have mentioned during "soap-bashing fight" with my mother ;). But most of the house wives in India watch it.It's a good time pass for them. In fact, if you are feeling hungry at 8 PM., you will have to wait for serials to get finish. :))

  4. What they show is totally crap. Today most of the Indian women's just switch the channel and try watching shows which are more sensible. They just want to make money and nothing else. If you ask any Mumbai guy/girl who are in colleges, they are all looking forward in getting work in TV Ads or in daily soaps. All about money, they can broadcast the crap and few mindless women will watch it.

  5. Hey Sana,
    Im vicky from India. Just stumbled upon this blogpost and could not resist laughing hysterically.
    Every point you have mentioned is 100% valid and that's how these serials are designed to do 'business'. Thanks to thousands of Indian households who stupidly get glued to TV sets watching such daily soaps..
    Perhaps entertainment in our continent comes with very different flavor.. isn't it?
    Needless to say. they show things far from reality :P