Friday, August 13, 2010

Kadhai (Story)

Chithiiiiii (with 6 'i's).... For those acquainted enough with the Tamil silver screen, this word is a legend (for few others its a terror!). It was one of THE Tamil serials that was aired during, well, most of my schooling. Quarterly ended, half yearly ended, annually ended, even school ended but Chithiiiiii did not! Half of TN did not believe it could end. Most housewives truly believed the world would end the day Chithiiiiii ended. Such was the legend. Alas, even Dumbledore had to die, you know. You ask me about life after Chithiiiiii? Pretty much the same. Chithi illana oru chithappa, namma pozhappu adhe dhan pa! Dear non-Tam audience reading my blog, kindly condone the overwhelming Tam influence in this particular series of posts. After all, we are dealing with Tamil serials here.

Now that I am home and I am grounded, I get to watch a lot of Tamil serials. Yeah, one for each flavor! No, it has not been easy at all. So I decided to take notes and do some analysis. Note to self: Six years of school and six years of college without so much as a page of notes and now you are taking notes on Tamil serials, gosh! Anyways, getting back to my analysis, I decided to carefully deconstruct each and every aspect and demystify the esoteric obscurity called Tamil serial. In a series of ensuing posts, I am going to handle one facet of Tamil serial that is true to itself. Therefore, ladies, skip the next sentence. Gents, buckle up, we are dealing with truck loads of crap here!

The first facet we are considering here is the most indispensable part of any serial - Kadhai aka story. If stories are what movies are based on, then, logically, I am bound to think that a serial must be based on a novel, volumes of it actually! But this is where we are distancing ourselves as far away from truth as possible. A Tamil serial is generally based on stories that are one sentence long. Or should I be saying one sentence short? There exists an unwritten relationship between the longevity of a serial and the story it is based on - the longer you want the darn thing to run, the shorter the story you must be attempting! You remember in school you used to do this - once a chewing gum had lost its chew-ability, you used your hand to pull it as long as possible and then chew it back and then pull it again? Chee... Ovak... Disgusting, right? That is exactly what they do with our Tamil serial stories!

These guys are smart in one respect though. If you restrict yourself so much as to a story, you are reducing the scope of creativity! You heard it right, creativity. So our people base the serials on broader themes which are easier to twist, turn, manipulate and even start all over again. These themes are generally poignantly peaceful and completely family oriented. One would want their kids to imbibe all the portrayal and emulate them in real life. That would way the kids would have really meaningful lives. Typical Tamil serial themes include rendu pondati karan (bigamous husband), odukali pondati (run away bride, no no, run away wife), mamiyar-marumagal prechanai (saas-bahu episodes), sakkalathi sandai (bahu-bahu episodes), varumai kottuku irandu mile keezhe vazhkai (abject wretched destitution), theerpu sollum nattamai (your friendly next door chief justice of India for the village) and other such jolly good items. Things get really really hazy when these themes mix, match, metamorph, mangle and finally mutate. Are you still worried about your audience? Never mind, they never seem to care!

So much to the story and we have just seen the tip of the iceberg. We will slowly uncover and thereby discover various breathtaking facts and mannerisms of the quintessential Tamil serial as we gather more and more courage. I will also reintroduce to you one legend of a Tamil serial that ought to be remembered in the beginning of every post. More insightful and not-at-all tongue-in-cheek articles about screenplay, star cast, music and other such truly exciting facets of Tamil serials in the making. Enjoy the insanity as long as it lasts...

(to be continued)


Ratzzz said...


me the girl commenting first... :D

u missed "thangachi with pirablem", "Criminal brother", "brother in law who covets the sister in law" etc etc...

sigh... i remember watching an episode of some drama before leaving home after a vacation... i returned 3 months later to find that it was still wr i had left it *facepalms*

Gowri said...

Good one..
waiting for your next episode :)

Girish said...

i should say a grand beginning... the kids emulation part was super :) waitin for detailed analysis next :P

Mrudula Aaduru said...

The protagonist of the story is almost always a middle class woman. She wears crisp sarees and a handbag... And she always walks wid a purpose. She is single/married, but divorced/married, but separated/married, but amnesiac.

And she's forever a problem-magnet. Although, she does manage to get out of them. :D
Great start. Looking forward to reading da next part. :-)

Quicksilver said...

Dei ! Certainly is the definitive guide ! Amazing analysis, looks like you have been a victim for a long time :)

Vasu said...

@All - We will continue our foray into the darkness with our own little flashlights... :D

@Ladies - Whoa! Enna oru technical expertise! No wonder you are the Subject Matter Experts. I will definitely consult one of you if I hit a roadblock construing the subtle nuances of Tamil serials... :P :D

Sethu said...

Machi, not sure if it is of relevance to 'Kadhai'. But you probably missed thideer maranam (mostly accident, where even the face is completely decimated Ref Bhanupriya in Shakthi) due to salary problems or many other mega serial commitments elsewhere (typically from Sun TV to Jaya).
The insanity is so high that housewifes have this difficulty.. 'Evan already setthu poitaane?'
'Ela maami, adhu pona serial la'
Evangala elam thirutha mudiyaadhu!
Good one da.. keep more coming