Thursday, June 16, 2005

Kolangal Kolangal...


[Pic Courtesy Sun TV]

Tamil megaserials are usually treated with derision by everyone other than the people who watch them.But from what I've seen during my trips to India, it cannot be argued that they have had a major impact on the TV landscape back home. Serial viewers are glued to the TV from 7 to 10. Even household chores are moved around/discarded to accomodate the serials and guests/phone calls are not welcome during those hours(not that there are too many guests since there are serial watchers among them too!). Characters from the serials have become part of an extended family in homes and their actions are hotly debated.

The only megaserial I've watched quite a bit off is Kolangal on Sun TV. There were two main reasons why I started watching it. One, I was curious about the popularity of megaserials and wanted to try one out. And two, it was telecast at a convenient time(6pm) that didn't intrude much upon the tasks at home.

For those who've never watched it, here's a short primer. Kolangal's troubled protagonist is Devayani, who married a money-hungry husband soon after the serial started. Her mother-in-law(Nalini) too was equally money-hungry and the only person on Devayani's side was her father-in-law. At home, she has a sister who eloped, another sister whose marriage has been cancelled and a brother who is unemployed. She is now divorced and her husband is on the verge of marrying a rich divorcee he works with.

All the oft-heard complaints about megaserials hold true for Kolangal too. It is almost eternally drenched in sorrow as Devayani and her sisters encounter one problem after another(I havent kept track but I think every episode features atleast 1 character crying). Most characters behave unrealistically and are stereotyped(for eg. a married woman's parent must bend over backwards to satisfy the whims of their son-in-law and sammandhis). It is very slow and there are entire episodes where the story does not move forward even a bit. And there is mamiyar-marumagal friction with the mamiyar portrayed as the devil incarnate.

Inspite of all this, Kolangal did have me hooked for a while. It had a female protagonist who was quite strong and though going through several problems, didn't take them all lying down. It had many characters, each with separate storylines, that allowed the serial to keep moving by jumping between the different storylines. It had a few twists regarding Devayani's past and some suspense as to when she would know about it. Most importantly, it had something to look forward to i.e. the time when the balance would finally tilt in Devayani's favor. Ofcourse, it helped that missing a few episodes didn't matter since the story moved so slowly that it was easy to catch up!

But the slow pace eventually got to me and I began losing interest. The fact that the telecast time moved to 5.30pm didn't help either. But the director gave the serial a nice jolt last week by killing of Devayani's ex-husband's fiance on the eve of their marriage. So the serial's turned into a whodunnit, which as readers know is one of my favorite genres. The 5.30 time is still a hassle but I'm gonna try checking in on Kolangal atleast a couple of times a week.

PS: Metti Oli, probably the most popular megaserial currently, is finally wrapping up on Saturday. Looks like they're gonna have an extended finale and also have the actors chat with fans on the phone. I've never caught an episode of it but my mom and both my in-laws watch it regularly. I guess I know what they're gonna be doing this Saturday afternoon :-)

34 Comments:

At 8:02 PM, Blogger Nithya Swaminathan said...

If you are getting hooked to Kolangal, beware!!! The story is the same in all the mega serials...

In all the Radhika dominated ones, you will have a much worse scenario... Her dad wouldve gone bankrupt, and she will have to settle his loans etc... besides she will have half a dozen bro/sis who will either be studying/about to be married/unempolyed... and of course, there will be a villain... and the story will be how she starts from a pichakari to become PM of India!!! Total BS man, dont get hooked to any of them!!:D

All the mega serials are women dominated, and if you start waiting for the balance to tilt in their favor, you will keep waiting till you have grand children!!

 
At 9:41 PM, Anonymous ram said...

My parents are so passionate about Metti Oli that they cried their heart out when the Father character ("Delhi" Kumar- admittedly a wonderful actor from the little I have seen of him) passes away...

but for an avid movie lover like me, its a bane...the reason why Tamil cinema is devoid of fine 'dramas' is coz the family audiences are glued to the idiot box and so filmmakers have come to the conclusion that the typical masala fare for college students is what will help them make money....sure, the occasional Autograph or Kadhal gets wide recognition but there is hardly any scope for a Balachander or a Bhagyaraj to make a comeback with the kinda movies they used to make...

 
At 10:31 PM, Blogger Orange Fronkey said...

I hate these idiotic teleserials... My family is hooked to them!!!

My Amma too was crying when that Father character in Metti Oli passed away... Before that... I was like "I'm surprised he hasn't had a heart attack with all those stress & insults & heartaches he goes through" .. typical tamil movie style.. but noooOOOOO..

I hate Kolangal... The reason is because of that "Aditya" dude... The way he speaks and acts, it gets on my last nerve... If he was near me, I'll choke him to death!

And then the other stupid ones.. "Kanavarukkaaga"... Putting up with all that shit... And that stupid bitch "Baddhu"...

Lets not forget "Manaivi".. what load of crap!

How do I know this if I hate these serials? Sometimes thats how I get to spend "quality" family time when I come over... *sigh*

ALso the fact that this is quite lengthy and drags on does not help... I guess I'm also a movie person, I want things to unravel and end in 2.5 hours =P. Enakku "Ippo! ippo! ippavey mudivu therinjaahanum"...


Off topic: Mayuri.. Jothika's friend character in Manmadhan suicided... So sad eh! I thought she looked more like a heroine in that movie than Jo. =(

 
At 12:01 AM, Anonymous ram said...

i read about the suicide too...its a depressing trend...

yep, she was very pretty...had those lovely eyes...and from what I heard from ppl, she performed very well in that serial, Salanam...

wonder what drove her to such a tragic end...lez atleast hope her soul rests in the kinda peace that she couldnt find when she was alive...

 
At 12:32 AM, Blogger Kaps said...

I don't watch any of these....the fact that they are telecast after 11pm in S'pore doesn't help my cause either.

BTW there are some more mega serials which are telecast between 10am and 2pm IST....they cater to the needs of the housewives and retired people.

 
At 6:24 AM, Anonymous Balaji said...

Balaji,

One reason I hate mega serials completely is that they just play with the emotions of the people, especially the women and the retired getting them addicted in due course.

I have some how convinced my mother from watching mega serials. My friends used to accuse me of robbing her only entertainment. But I feel she would feel and stay better this way.

 
At 7:13 AM, Anonymous GP said...

Balaji and others, do any of you watch hindi mega serials like Kyunki, Khusum, Kasauti, Kahani, Jassi, etc? I had a write up on Kyunki in my site last week..

 
At 12:06 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

nithya, thanx for the very funny warning! *starts from a pichakari to become PM of India* LOL

ram, good point. but i'm still not sure which led to which... megaserials became popular since there was family fare in the theaters or family fare is out cos of popularity of the serials... chicken or egg?!

merino, my sympathies :-) knowing so much about the serials without liking them is quite sad!

didnt remember mayuri from those movies but i did think she looked very pretty in the photo in the article... RIP

kaps, yep. mother-in-law watches a couple of those too :(

balaji, nalla idea. am surprised it worked though!

gp, nope, never watched any of the hindi ones...

 
At 1:07 PM, Anonymous ram said...

we should prob list the prettiest TV actresses...for me, Mandhira Bedi will be from No. 1 to 10 and then the rest...

I also think Gayathri (one of the sis in Metti Oli) is a "semma homely figure!"

sorry, am in that frothy, friday afternoon mood!

 
At 1:15 PM, Blogger bhuvan said...

You could torture me with TV serials... my aunt tapes them and rents them out and I one day was so unfortunate to suffer through some of them. The most bizarre one is probably "My Dear Pootham" which looks like a comedy (the title credits at least do), but actually is just like every other serial: corny, mawkish, hilariously stilted and boring.

The most amazing thing about these serials is the fact that they have like 10-minutes-opening-titles, some 15 minutes of new material and then another 3-4 minutes of closing titles. This would be considered a total ripoff in other places, but my family seems to lap it up.

Given the success of such shows and the overal mediocre-to-awful quality of Tamil movies, I figure, Tamils who never came upon world cinema (and even some who did) are probably the most undiscriminating viewers on the planet. They would even watch paint dry as long as some bimbo like Jyothika stands in front of it and some sort of music plays in the background. Oh boy!

 
At 1:45 PM, Anonymous ram said...

"Tamils who never came upon world cinema (and even some who did) are probably the most undiscriminating viewers on the planet."

--> i know...it never ceases to amaze me why movies like chinna thambi and thaavani kanavugall failed to put us on the map of world cinema...I can relate to your feelings sir...we are all devoid of taste...

"They would even watch paint dry as long as some bimbo like Jyothika stands in front of it and some sort of music plays in the background. Oh boy!"

--> no no...I would rather watch Paravai Paati in her "Thumbs Up" pose sitting next to Thaeni Thatha and chat with them about the future of Tamil folk songs...Surya must have his eyes checked...why would he fall for a "bimbo" like Jothika...he should have proposed to someone more knowledgeable about world cinema...vidunge...elaarum karpoora vasanai theriyaadha pasanga...

 
At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Sandya said...

Scary but true.. I've stopped watching tamil movies all together. I returned all the rentals for this month (not even seeing 1 of the 3 I rented!).. Only because I have officially become an addict of Sun TV serials.. My strict diet (avoid all morning serials) consists of "Aandham," "Kolangal," "Metti Oli," "Selvi," "Manaivi" and the god-foresaken "Kanavarukkaga"..

Don't ask me how insane I have become to follow all these serials (knowing fully well that most of them are bull! :-).. But then again, if they really weren't interesting, why is it that I find myself and my hubby chatting over dinner about what happenned to Bhavani's arranged marriage and if they ever caught Ranjini's murderer or better if Thamarai ever woke up from her coma?..

They must have some entertainment value, if you find yourself talking with your parents or husband or some other loved one, but what happened, when and why.. (of course, not even realizing that it's not the end of the world even if you didn't talk about it!)..

Whatever the case maybe, we all know this is unbelievably torturous.. but somehow unbelievably fun to watch!..

Can't explain it.. but I can assure you that if you get sucked in.. it's very difficult to get out!..

So much for the ranting..
So, signing off..
Stuck in neverland....

 
At 2:25 PM, Anonymous GP said...

OK.. looks like everyone has their own sad/angry story to tell about the serials.. me too feels the same. I think it is only targetted for housewives and retired men. Their expectation levels are very low.. For them, it is like gossiping.. Look into other house's stories.. So, outgoing people and younger generation wont like it..

The scenario is pretty much the same in hindi serials, except that, instead of the middle class scenario of Tamil serials, they always deal with multimillionaire households.. This is a difference one can see in hindi vs tamil movies too..

The most worrying part is how it has affected the families.. TV's never get turned off once sun sets.. There is clash of generations when there is a overlap of say, cricket or tennis with the serials time.. (The clashes get real serious too) For non-serial watching guests, it is irritating to see the bahavior of the hosts.. and so on..

 
At 2:35 PM, Anonymous GP said...

Ram, Mandira is sure hot.. but cant occupy all 1-10 spots..

Gayathri debuted in the movie "Paasa Malargal".. Of all the girls in that one, she was unique I was sooo impressed.. When I saw her in Kolangal, was heart-broken.. put on so much weight.. looks like maami.. nevertheless, still impressive..

How about Mahalakshmi? Dont wanna see her crying.. she has a nice smile..

And Gauri Pradhan of Kyunki? I thought she is heroine-quality..

I really liked Mayuri.. poor girl.. she stood out in her little roles in Whistle, Aei, Kanakandaen and Manmadhan.. Terrific eyes and smile..

BTW, has anyone noticed Trisha as Simran's friend in Jodi, obviously with less makeup? Recently watched that movie and got surprised.. Who knows.. Mayuri also could have been lucky.. :-(

 
At 2:56 PM, Blogger Orange Fronkey said...

The news on the web keep saying Mayuri prolly had medical condition that also lead to her committing suicide.

Anyways... Did Trisha in JOdi look fugly? I think she went under the knifes to look like how she does... she has big eyes in Jodi...

---

By the way.. who's this "Gayathri" I mean.. which one is she???

 
At 3:00 PM, Anonymous ram said...

gp, yeah yeah, edho konjum tension aayten...Director Vasanth (diplomatically, I might add) told me this about Mandira -- "There is something about that female thats very attractive!"

yeah, Trisha looked horrible in Jodi..."Make-up illaa azhagi mugam kaanathevai dhil!" balaji, un SISTER trisha irukaaley-- make-up illaama waste baa!

dont want to write anything else about Mayuri than what i did in my earlier comment...feel horrible when I think of them...another suicide that has always disturbed me ws that of Actress Shoba...in a very short time, she turned in some work that will remain immortal for eons to come...

 
At 4:14 PM, Anonymous GP said...

I recently saw shoba's "Nizhal nijamagirathu" of KB.. Couldnt believe that was her debut venture.. She was awesome as the poor girl with big dreams..

Monal was another sad story.. needless tragedy..

 
At 4:38 PM, Anonymous ram said...

Shoba was great in a number of movies...
Nizhal Nijamaagiradhu...Azhiyaatha Kolangall...Mullum Malarum...
But I havent seen "Pasi," the movie for which she won a National Award...

 
At 6:28 PM, Blogger Orange Fronkey said...

Trisha was miss chennai right?

Perhaps after the movie.. she saw the Fair & Lovely ad and started using it and tried for Miss Chennai... =P

damn those fair and lovely ads

 
At 8:25 PM, Anonymous Prakash said...

We turned on 'Sun' when my mother-in-law came visiting. By the time she left, my wife got hooked on to 'Kolangal'. I couldn't stand it, and couldn't stand the fact that she actually enjoyed it. Her analogy was that she didn't understand why I loved basketball! I thought it about, and realized it was true. I would watch any NBA games, even the ones I didn't really want to watch.

So I asked her if we could try cutting out service for a couple months. She agreed, we did, and we have been TV-free for 8 months now! :-) Loving it!

 
At 9:55 AM, Blogger Balaji said...

ram, totally out of league on this one :)

asokan, i know. but the good thing is that since i watch only the meat and not the intro song, ads, etc. i don't feel like i'm wasting much time! About 10 mins is all i need to catch an episode :)

sandhya, they definitely offer some entertainment, atleast to their target audience. my mom-in-law was saying that with the veyyil and the lack of places to visit, etc. serials provide the perfect entertainment for housewives, etc. who are not into cinema that much.

and it looks like i can check with u on the progress of the investigation into rajini's murder :)

i've heard about trisha in jodi but never seen that scene after that. did catch shyam in kushi and he looked the same as he did later.

shobha was awesome in mullum malarum. the perfect li'l sister. the way she smiled while crunching up her nose was oh so sweet. she was great in moodupani.
pratyuksha was another one. probably the saddest of the lot considering the circumstances...

prakash, i know of one of my friends(coincidentally, he's named prakash too!) who did exactly the same thing i.e cut off tv after the elders left. i'm guessing he is loving it too :-)

 
At 12:01 AM, Anonymous Murthy said...

Check out this review of Metti Oli's final episode.

 
At 12:01 AM, Anonymous Murthy said...

Check out this review of Metti Oli's final episode.

 
At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Krishna Sivaramapuram said...

Balaji,

Sometimes it gives unintended comedy relief... Many times I watch serials to see how the hapless director will try to extend the serial's life today...

Sometimes I watch it for how badly an actor can perform... This is particularly true for ALL the characters in "kaNavarukkAga". If you watch with that mindset, you will really love this particular serial for the comedy aspect... It's even better with the volume muted. ;)

Krish

 
At 3:52 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

krishna, i guess thats true. havent seen 'kanavarukkaaga' but whenever satyapriya starts talking or crying in 'kolangal', we always burst out laughing. her doorstep attitude is so irritating :-)

 
At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know about metti oli but Kolangal is by far the best tamil serial i have ever seen.IT'S WICKED!!!! i reccomend it, yes in the beginning it's msotly crying but so far it's going pretty good a girl who has to take on soo much responsibility n ends up in jail for something she did not do. really Great!anandham is also fantastic abiramy acts perfectly for the villi. kanavaukaha is also ok, but nothing can beat kolangal it's beautiful i'm only 13 but i love it! soo many things abi one girl has to face reminds me of my life she has no life of her own she's living for other people..truly a magnificent serial by thiruchelvan! I HIGHLY RECCOMEND IT!

 
At 2:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The public likes to see other people suffer, a form of sadism.
In all serials, the father, sister or mother suffers.
Thats the bottom line.

 
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At 4:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually itz not only the public that likes to see other people suffer, a form of sadism. Even parentz like to do it to their kidz. Or else,

WHY FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE SHOULD I FILE A POlICE COMPLAINT AGAINST MY FATHER TO RECOVER THE MONEY HE LOOTED FROM ME WHEN I WAS MAKING TONS OF IT.

ITZ A CRUEL SADIST woRLD and THE SERIALS just portray them aptly.

Oh btw, before anybody comes to my parentz defense, they just sold a property worth for more than a CRORErupees (lotz of black money there too) and now they drive around flashing their NEW CAR.

oh yes, like my father said, he is unfortunate to have me as s kid, because I helped him willingly. STRANGE WORLD INDEED GUYS. JUST BEWARE.

 
At 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should sit and watch all serials. You should also start eating nice cereals. Good health, healthy mind. Fuck you,.

 
At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Adyarboy said...

Ref: Kolangal Serial: Wrong social message being sent
PLEASE NO ABI-BASKAR REMARRIAGE IN KOLANGAL.Gives a very wrong social message.

1:Abi is portrayed a brave single women in the in Kolangal who has faced all her trouble on her own now to take back her Ex husband will send very very wrong social message. Particularly husbands who tortures wives again and again.

2: A women particularly women who have come up on there own must forgive any wrong committed on them and accept husbands deserting them. Abi becomes a builder after her husband deserts her.

3: The scene when the astrologer tells Karpagam that Abi will remarry Baskar and have a child has shocked of all of us .Many of us including myself have had sleepless nights. Many of us have prayed in temples and broken coconuts against the marriage. Her husband deep in debt tries to marry a rich divorcee and she is murdered and with him deep in debt he comes and remarries Abi.If this happens it will send very very wrong social message.
4: Abi has BECOME A GODDRESS LIKE CULT Figure image all over Tamil Nadu and over South India and seen as an embodiment of Good Women. .If she remarries Baskar and has a child it will send wrong signals to Women all over Tamil Nadu in particular.Abi is a member of each Kolangal viewer family. Look at MGR, NTR the impact they had on society.


Now marrying and congenital relationship with Baskar will reflect badly on Abi’s image and will a vulgar act as
1:Barkar would have married Ranjini if she had not been murdered on wedding day.
2: BASKAR ACCUSED ABI OF HAVIING AN AFFAIR WITH THULS IN COURT and Divorced.
3:Baskar accused Abi of Murder of complicity in the murder of Ranjaini and she was jailed.

4:Baskar is high in debt and tortured his Abi and her family.

5: Men who torture women should be rewarded and Abi should rejoin Baskar

Let Abi remain single or marry Dr Mahesh, Thuls or even a new character or even Rajendran the cook (Mama) as he will give no problem.

 
At 4:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kolangal is a Rubbish, created and directed by a maniac, who cannot think anything right and expect the viewers to as foolish and supids as possible.
Any decent police officer should have used his good offices to ket the the producers and director know how much damage they cause to the society. . Depicting the police to his level, well,I think no one stooped to this level.
It is a shame still this serial is allowed to run with all its negative and evil provisions.

 
At 10:00 PM, Blogger Spring said...

I don't understand why there is such a negative response to mega serials when stupid movies like 'Sivaji' where one man beats up 20 men is paraded as Great Cinema.

Kolangal is a very sensitive Potrayal of the trails and tribulations of a divorced women and it might be a little exaggerated at times but a great serial neverthless.So stop writing crap just to follow the herd.

 
At 3:58 PM, Blogger Selva said...

i was on holiday to India, taking 35 days off my work.
What do I see at home was absolutely crazy.
7pm, the TV was switched on and it remains ON until 10pm.

Yea, three hours of serials.

My bro comes back home and he shuts his door talking to his fiance!

My parents stuck to the TV!

Now, I felt like being in hell for those 35 days!
Of course, I couldnt go out every night, disturbing my friends after all these years!

And the characters and story they can ever imagine, whoever writes them, man, you have to whack him with your shoes, from top to bottom, until he dies! Yes, every one of them!

Radhika, Devayani, Banupriya, every one of them, house arrest them!

This is utter nonsense, with evil thoughts and divisions and divorces and evil treatments among family members... that is all is being transmitted on air.

They are not creating any awareness as such, but advertising for divorce even to the slums!!!

God save the whole world, because, soaps and big brothers are everywhere in the world now!!!

 

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