One of the more embarrassing things I did recently was to share these pictures on Facebook:
In my defence, I was about to send them to my cousin for some laughs. Technology got the better of me. Soon enough, people wanted to know if this is what I was doing at home. Uhhmm, not really. (Though this could be one of the things I do at home. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?)
I think I grew up on a diet of serials. Marmadesam, Alaigal, Metti Oli, Kolangal. I did learn something different from each. For instance, horses and Chetan Hansraj make a frightening combination. Or that Venu Aravind is the second most scary person in the Tamil entertainment industry (Raghuvaran is number one, but you knew that, right?). About ten years ago, my parents started watching Hindi serials almost exclusively. Yes, back when Smriti Irani’s claim to fame was standing outside her palatial house and welcoming us; and K serials were all the rage. The reasons for this transition still elude me, but I’m beginning to think they harbour some nostalgia for Hindi serials from Doordarshan days. Or maybe they just like better production values.
I may be mistaken in thinking this, for I haven’t followed any Tamil serial in the recent past, but I do believe Hindi serials have become more regressive as time goes by. Every serial invariably incorporates many cringe-worthy tropes: Bad women try to seek employment for their own fulfillment. Good women (i.e., daughters in law) do not attempt to do so. If they wish to be employed, they can try their hand at overseeing their husband’s business (not enough clarity regarding the nature of this supervisory role). It is not of any great importance for women to complete college (sometimes they can, if their husband’s family allows them to). Women who wear pants or skirts to work are evil by nature (they would be wearing sarees or salwars if they weren’t evil). There are some other concepts which make an appearance every now and then: rebirth, facial reconstruction, patriarchs who are shown to be (always) right, advantages of joint family system (koodi vaazhanthaal kodi nanmai?), “middle class” families with 4000 sq.ft. houses etc. This might even be funny, if only they didn’t take themselves so seriously.
You may be silently judging me for being aware of these serials (I don’t blame you), but I really want to know if Tamil serials are as bad, or if they have some redeeming qualities after all.
For more laughs: The Making of “A Decade Long Daily Soap” by TVF