Recently, a comic scene went viral. In the scene we see a heart surgeon horrified by the plot developments in a daily soap that his house-helps are watching. At this point nothing can be put past Indian daily soaps, and in this particular scene, Parvati, the leading lady is seen performing a surgery to bring her dead husband back to life while the doctors stand by and watch! Mr Surgeon is horrified at the illogical stuff meted out to Indian audiences that even laps it up. It’s a brilliantly written and hilariously enacted sequence.
Interestingly, the scene is a part of another daily soap, Kahaan Hum Kahaan Tum (KHKT), which premiered on Star Plus on 17 June.
KHKT is a love story between a top TV actor, Sonakshi (played by Dipika Kakar) and a heart surgeon, Rohit (Karan V Grover). While on one hand, the show takes many digs at Indian daily soaps through Rohit, on the other, it also gives the audience an insight into the behind the scenes of the TV world through its female lead, Sonakshi.
What separates this daily soap from the rest is the treatment. Not that the love story isn’t full of cliches, but the non-OTT (over the top) treatment is definitely refreshing. Characters talk like normal people, wear regular clothes, and there are no triple takes, the “nahi nahi nahi” kind of repetition of dialogues, the 100 reaction shots or other such daily soap tropes that have come to define the genre in India. We also get to see the leading lady at work a lot more than we generally do.
KHKT, produced by Sandiip Sikcand and directed by Sameer Kulkarni, comes like a breath of fresh air on television, which is crowded with plots around the saas-bahu saga, one-dimensional characters, nagins, deaths, resurrections and reincarnations.
Mind you, there is tons of drama, as you would expect in the daily soap format, but it steers clear of melodrama, and takes a more realistic approach. And the ensuing drama is also peppered with a good dose of well-written humour and lighthearted moments.
KHKT, produced by Sandiip Sikcand and directed by Sameer Kulkarni, comes like a breath of fresh air on television, which is crowded with plots around the saas-bahu saga, one-dimensional characters, nagins, deaths, resurrections and reincarnations. So just having a show like KHKT, that keeps the story in the realm of reality should mean a good development, as at least it gives the television audience a different option.
The screenplay and dialogue by Ritu Goyal, Niranjan Iyengar and Rachel Navare is a lot more realistic and relatable. The core of a TV serial is the writing, which in KHKT’s case is a lot better than what we have seen on TV in recent years. Many scenes leave a mark.
The performances, too, are more natural and candid instead of overtly dramatic. Dipika Kakar, who is best known for playing Simar in Sasural Simar Ka, which was high on melodrama and supernatural plots, really impresses with her turn as Sonakshi. She is very natural, looks beautiful and really owns every scene she is in, proving her versatility as an actor. Her character Parvati, in the TV show within the TV show, seems modelled on her own act as Simar, and she walks the two distinct parts with finesse. She also breaks the fourth wall and speaks to the audience, which adds to the candidness of her performance and the show.
“Mujhe Devi banne ka bilkul shauk nahi hai. ye sab karne se aap ek acche insaan ban sakte ho (I am not interested in becoming a devi, by doing this you can only be a good human being),” Sonakshi tells her mom in one scene. I hope the writers don’t turn her into an unrealistic “devi” type of female lead going forward, and continue with the empowered and very human portrayal that has been presented so far.
Giving her company is the charming male lead, Karan, who is playing a sassy, but sensitive guy. Karan’s expressions and comic timing really work for the show. Karan and Dipika’s onscreen relationship is progressive, and their chemistry, in comic, emotional and romantic scenes, is easy and refreshing.
The two main leads get good support from a strong ensemble cast, led by actors like Tanaaz Currim Irani, Shalini Kapoor and Anahita Jahabaksh. But some of the acting, writing and direction of the subplots need a lot more work. Improvement in that area could really work wonders for the show.
But for now, KHKT is definitely a step in the right direction for TV, as every genre, including daily soaps, need to evolve with time by taking a few risks, and thus contributing in the evolution of Indian television. After all, Hum Log is the first Indian soap opera, and we have come a long way since then, and we need to keep moving forward too. But balancing the current daily soap format and breaking new ground could pose a challenge for KHKT going forward.
Hope is that the channel won’t push the show into the TRP race. A show like this one will find its own audience and it needs time and space to grow. As we have seen in the past, shows that begin as a fresh concept more often than not end up becoming the same old daily soap it tried so hard not to be, especially when it is subject to only one standard - TRPs.
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