the other afternoon, surfing channels looking for something to watch, i came upon a scene in bade bhaiyya ki dulhania that made me pause and watch. i honestly don’t remember what the scene was, but there was a silent intensity mixed with a beguiling amiability in the hero’s eyes, the heroine looked fey and was actually so, there was a mother on the upper floor of the house whose eyes were as eloquent as her son’s… the hero. there were young people who felt like young people all around and aunts and uncles and a grandmother who all felt like you might meet them somewhere or have already.
as the episode unfolded, more characters came by. a snotty ias officer raised in delhi who reminded you of some you’d come across, there’s a timeless quality to this lot and this young actor had it. a sister of the heroine, who looked like she did actually belong to a well off south delhi family, just like her sister did.
actually, a sense of real sophistication touched almost everything in the show. the casting was beautiful, the tenor and pitch of acting really nice.
i kept watching, intrigued. almost nothing about the show felt like it was a contemporary indian soap from one of our many cable channels run by trp focused multinationals. there was a freshness here, an ease, letting the viewer stroll in casually, sit down, and enjoy a story. and yes, there was a flair for art/art direction missing from most shows. a rambling home with a homestay wing was the scene of the drama. it was in a place called devpur up in the hills, not too far from delhi… not a famous hill station, i think it’s based on one of the new ones that a lot of people like going up to of late. the colours and decor of the place where pretty and the touches of fresh white and lace and a sudden gazebo in the compound, really nice.
actually, a sense of real sophistication touched almost everything in the show. the casting was beautiful, the tenor and pitch of acting commendable. the vibe between the leads, their attraction, just lovely. the dialogues were good, relationships had specific notes and were believable.
there was a freshness here, an ease, letting the viewer stroll in casually, sit down, and enjoy a story. and yes, there was a sense of art/art direction missing from most shows.
all the must haves of hindi soap were there, from the class wars to big family to girl who must fit in with family and be do gooder to a love story that must include family to nasty rich blokes to good not so rich folks to gazing at stars while romancing to dream sequences… okay the mandir in the drawing room was missing… but it was all done with a different sensibility. a real story with people you might come across was being told. not just writers srinita bhowmik and malavika asthana had looked for this, i felt, but everyone in the show and the actors was part of this motif and got this quality so so well. i read up a bit on bodhi tree multimedia, the producers, and found they do all sorts of shows but mainly for the younger channels. maybe working with young audiences had taught them a language the older folks were happy to hear. i particularly enjoyed the lack of the loud shrieky thing you find in practically all hindi shows.
two characters stood out for me specially as i found myself coming back to watch the show every day. this started about a month ago i think. when i’d first heard the name and seen the promo i’d been sure this was not my kind of thing. and maybe the warm up episodes were a tad all over the place, i do recall sitting through one and thinking, this is going nowhere. maybe that rustic sounding trying to be funny name put me off… the elder brother’s wifey (very hard to find an english equivalent of dulhainia… bridey? help me out here, someone).
but back to the two characters… abhishek pant, the young patient looking man who takes care of his slightly chaotic clan and runs the homestay making sure the family gets by, had this dark unhurried gaze and a slight pleasant smile and a way of acting that brought out an entire character. i could sense a childhood we never saw, the chaos set off in him by a father gone missing and watching a mother lose herself, and becoming a man overnight because he had to. he was easygoing yet strong you knew, he may not be wealthy but he was clever and with an exciting sense of purpose you could tell. the way he was attracted to this girl from delhi who was so unlike him but perhaps just as innocent was terribly charming, touching too. i wondered who the actor was, i was sure i’d never seen him before. then one day, it suddenly struck me when abhishek smiled a little more than he usually did. it was titu, the lead of a very strange serial. but he was just not this guy there. i couldn’t recognise the actor though i had seen several him times before. amazing what a little bit of weight and a thoughtfully created look and good direction can do. priyanshu jora was a really neat abhishek. amiable, understated, sexy.
she was not the heroine, she was the “komolika lika lika” like vamp element, another hindi soap staple. only done refreshingly. can’t remember her name, but the girl who desperately wanted to marry abhishek, she was wonderful… the note of raunchiness she added was at such odds with everything and was funny, especially in the way this sort of disturbed the air of genteel good wholesomeness all around. the slipping pallu, i have seen that before, so have you i know. again, perfect casting.
the theme song from the show credit uploader
namita dubey as meera raizada was initially a bit irritating, almost falling into the usual cute girl category. but somewhere along the way, between dialogue, direction, and her talent, they turned a corner and she was suddenly someone you loved to watch. even if you could spy bits of the lead of highway and a couple of other characters in her.
i so liked abhishek’s mother played by ushma rathod. ritu chaudhary seth as his aunt madhu who kept trying to get him married to this other girl was very very good as was the gentleman who was her husband. applause and special mention for yash acharya who does a brilliant rohan, the slightly mentally challenged younger brother of abhishek, such roles are almost always ruined by both writers and actor. actually, everyone was good and as someone mentioned, the rich people really looked like rich people. this, if you watch hindi soap, you’ll know is just unheard of. in fact even the middle class people rarely look like they are that. so wardrobe, make up, casting, all pretty terrific.
i wonder who acted as meera’s mother, she was so authentic. meera’s ias fiance, i will say again, was never off key, always perfectly loathsome…
pushkar mahabal’s direction was sensitive with a canny understanding of character and also fun. akash agarwal’s cinematography was had a sense of cool and some angles were totally unlike anything you see in soaps. music was good, though i am in two minds about the song that rhymes dulhania with super womania. i fell for the wardrobe at the wedding sequence, oh those diaphanous veils the women had merrily pinned on… madhu chachi’s saree, now where did they get that very up/banarsi looking shaadi wala saree from.
i realise i have written the entire piece in the past tense. could it be because the show is about to end?
sony has decided to pull the show after only three months, as always audiences are mystified. but then our channels are known for behaving in this inexplicable manner. people like the show, maybe trp isn’t adding up, we’ll never know. so it will be fifty nine episodes of bbkd, last episode end of this week.
we look forward to your comments… are you sad the show is getting over?
seems like a hurried decision, and it is telling on the story, especially dialogues… a rush to end in style. but still, something remains enjoyable in it. and a little ache in my heart i do feel at times that i won’t see this set up and these people again when i am browsing through tv land one afternoon.
visuals courtesy uploaders/internet.
ritu chaudhary seth as madhu pant is coming back to television after eight years. she was tulsi’s daughter in kyunki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi.