A week ago, I was visiting my grandmother when my eight year old nephew surprised me by saying something very odd in crude Konkani. Before I could wonder where he had picked up the language, my mother’s shock turned into uncontrollable laughter. “It is a line from that new Marathi serial,” she explained. While I continue to remain in favor of children not being exposed to adult television, I was impressed with the discussion that ensued. Not only was my little one regularly watching this serial, he was also drawing unbiased conclusions from it.
Ratris Khel Chale which hit our television screens on February 22 unravels the strange on-goings in the Naiks’ ancestral home. While the eldest son’s wife (who btw is a scientist) strongly believes that there must be some practical explanations to these incidents, the rest of the family perceives them to be paranormal activities. And indeed, some of the characters do spout some strange dialogues that press you to wonder if all that you see is real.
Exactly a week ago, a far-right political party called for a complete shutdown of production activities for this TV show citing “adverse effects on Konkan tourism” and “micro-aggression” as the reasons for their protest. It seems that since majority of the dialogues are in Konkani, the makers of the show hurt the sentiments of the local people by displaying them as orthodox, uneducated, and brandishing tantric customs! After a couple of days, the show was back on air, but without repeat telecasts during the day.
How does any of that make sense? Who exactly goes to konkan? And how many of those people base their decision to visit on a Marathi TV serial? People don’t stop going to Hyderabad because they make movies like Hrudaya Kaleyam! These are such ridiculous notions. Is this what India has come to? Do we not have any choice over the kind of content we want to view on media? Instead of focusing on duties they were elected to fulfill, we have elected representatives protesting on the streets against a TV show. If you are really against orthodox beliefs and their impact on viewers, where were you when Asambhav aired on the same TV channel a few years ago? You are OK with reincarnation, but not with suspected paranormal activities? Is that it? Well, I hate to break it to you, dear politicians, but nobody apart from you has such narrow interpretative skills. I called up my nephew last night and asked him who he thought was causing those strange incidents. Pat came the reply – “someone who badly wants the house. they are all fighting over it, aren’t they?”
This TV show (I admit after a week of watching) is a huge departure from the regular shit that dominates regional television. If you understand enough Marathi/Konkani watch it. In fact, watch it even if you don’t speak either. There is an unparalleled pace to the dialogues. There is no time wastage on zoomed visuals for impact. Everything is in the script which is tightly bound and crisp. A point to note is that every single person in this cast is a non-established actor, which is a departure from Zee’s policy of maintaining at least one famous actor/ess in each show. If I am pushing my bedtime by 30 minutes just to watch it, rest assured that there is some promise in this story. And to those of you who tried to bring it down for the lack of better political agenda, I have only this to say : dhairyaniki bhayamesthe … dindu kinda naa photo pettukoni padukuntundi!