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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Chithi, serials and the like..

"Chithi" -- the mega-serial -- marked a watershed moment in Tamil TV serials going from good to tolerable to absolutely nonsensical. There was much hullabaloo in Srirangam when this serial started airing in 1999 (?). The ads had been showing for a good month before the launch and everyone was terribly excited seeing the Srirangam temple elephant in the title song. Folks living in Mainguard gate were enthralled with the shots of Malaikottai and Cauvery. All-in-all, many people in Trichy were going to be glued to the TV come premiere-night.

Rumors floated around that the entire serial was set in Srirangam. My cousin came home with news that her friend's house in East Chithirai Street had been used for filming the first few episodes. Both of us made a slight detour to the said house during one of our shopping trips. We were terribly excited!

Anyway, the serial was good enough for the first few episodes. After that, CJ Bhaskar or someone else decided that the public had no brains and started dishing out crap. Of course, many more crappy serials followed.

The reason for this post is not weepy Tamil soaps but rather, another class of TV serials that seem to be extinct now. I had long ago given up hope on serials until S suggested watching "Rudhra Veenai". I was sceptical initially but started watching anyway. I was totally thrilled with the direction, screenplay and the story! "Marma Desam" and "Vidaadhu Karuppu" followed on my list. Director Naga has done such an excellent job with the lighting, plot, casting and dialogues!

Watching the series made me wonder how we made the descent from the likes of "Marma Desam" into crappy serials like "Selvi". When I was growing up, we used to watch "Kaiyalavu Manasu.." and "Vanna Kolangal" regularly. There were many more classy serials the names of which I can't remember right now. Why are comedy/mystery stories not a main course in the serial fare today? Where have all the good directors gone? Where are all the good stories? Just like they have competitions these days for singing, dancing etc.., someone ought to come up with a forum that'll let directors with innovative story ideas showcase their wares. There's no telling but what in 20 years, I might be sitting at home during the day and I definitely demand better entertainment than weepy soaps! :)

8 comments:

P B said...

When DD was ruling the roost, we had wonderful serials. They were made in 13 episodes. Serials like "thamizh thatha u.ve.sa, "maale mani vanna" and one ramana maharshi's life were few of my very favourites.
Maale manivanna opened my eyes to the world of azhwars. Similar things can be told about other serials as well. We had many serials of CHO also. I think even now podhigai has better standards thatn others.

As usual supurb write up..Keep them coming.

expertdabbler said...

In the recent past, the one urupadiyana serial (ennai porutha varaikum) was Enge brahmanan...

Nee solra mathadhellam enna bashai ne enakku therila!

Innum 20 years kalichu nee vettiya irupenra orey karanathukaaga you want this serial form of entertainment to survive till then?

Aandava!

sowmya said...

Recently Star plus ran 4 episode serials by popular film directors in Hindi and it was such a hit, with superb performances. There were also couple of short story kind of serials in tamil long time ago. When the serials are of shorter duration they are crispier and watchable.

Badhri said...

Don't start whining yet! I am sure you have heard "Rakhi ka swayamvar". Its quite a hit in Hindi and imagine.. just imagine if that finds a tamil reincarnation...

Maayaa said...

I think people don't want to deal with intelligence :)

Moolaiya mazhunga adika edhu help pannumo adhu dhan paaka thonum..

DR said...

seri could be a very late comment - but just curious: where did you get a copy of vidadhu karuppu and all the other naga serials? I loved them as a kid!

and yeah btw - how are you doing? where are my manners!

Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron said...

This is a new topic for Radhika Saarthkumar's next serial after Selvi, Arase. It's going to start with the New Year and we assume it's going to telecast the same time as Selvi did.Hopefully it will be as good as Chithi!Please post any updates and opinons......
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