I have said time and again that I hardly see T.V (I would rather read a book), as most of the shows being aired have never struck my fancy, neither do I have the time nor the energy to invest in a daily soap, where the villains and vamps rule the small screen, making things difficult for the lead pair.
But all this changed last year when I saw the promo of a new show called Zindagi Ki Mehak, when I was chatting with my mother while she was watching her favourite show. Something about the promos attracted me, and I decided that I would watch this show when it started. So on Monday 19th September, I sat down in front of the T.V. at 8 p.m. and started watching my first ever show.
The serial started off very well, it was about following your dreams and women empowerment. The heroine/female lead is a doll who has wriggled her way into every viewer’s heart and when the male lead made his entry, the entire female population of the country sighed collectively and went into a mass swoon. The story was fresh, there were no villains and vamps, and the lead pair has a sizzling chemistry that burns up the small screen.
The reason I’m discussing this show is because as a writer I’m constantly wondering that if this was my book or story, how would I tackle this plot point (which in television language means a track) and I also had no idea that when the makers mention an upcoming twist in the daily soap it means that a new track will start. My television knowledge has come via Amrita, a girl who would reply to all my tweets whenever I tweeted about this show.
It’s the story of this simple, middle class girl Mehak Sharma who loves to cook. She is forced by her aunt to join India’s Super Cook where she meets the celebrity judge Shaurya Khanna, a leading hotelier of Delhi and also one of its most eligible bachelors. Both of them are not aware that they chat frequently as FB friends, cause they haven’t revealed their real identity online. In due course they fall in love and their wedding ceremonies start.
When Shaurya ran away from his wedding, leaving his bride at the mandap, I joined the other fans in creating an uproar online. Plenty of Shaurya bashing started. My main concern was that this was sending out a wrong message, that a guy can fake love to a girl and then ditch her at the altar once his selfish motive (in this case a recipe book) is fulfilled, without feeling guilty.
Everyone who watches this show discusses it passionately online, and has an opinion on how the story should move forward, including me. Sometimes I wonder are we as viewers getting too opinionated and interfering with the story and spoiling things for the writers. Isn’t it a writer’s prerogative of how a story should move forward? The other day I had a strong pang of anxiety when I realized that as a writer would I like to be told how to write my story. Definitely not. I would welcome feedback but certainly not interference. I do feel that the male lead’s character is being butchered and it's going to be an uphill task to redeem his image in the viewers’ eyes. I hope the writers have a reason for it and the solution.
Okay, there are certain stereotypes of the suffering girl and the humiliation piled on her, the insults on her middle-class stature, body shaming her, jilting her at the altar, that makes me want to give the male lead and the writers a good shake, but at the same time the female lead is gusty and is always quick to get back on her feet after every fall and more often than not gives back as good as she gets.
I was just telling a friend that I feel I should just enjoy this serial, without screaming instructions over the creative teams’ shoulder or try to tell the writer (via telepathy) how to take the story forward. Have you had this problem? Do you keep thinking that if this was your story in which direction would you take it? Do you find it difficult to switch off your writer’s mind when you watch TV shows?
Picture Courtesy. I have taken the photograph from one of the fan pages.