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)
(to be continued)