Those of us, who keep on sitting pretty in Delhi and Bombay,
tend to think that the centre of TV serials is Bombay,
with Delhi coming a very late second. Of the very first
serials on Doordarshan, some of the best were scripted
in Delhi and whole generations of actors were spawned
in the Capital, who later gravitated to Bombay.
But lately, while the national and metro channels have
been awash with the worst kind of soaps - the longer and
more ambitious they are, the more boring and pretentious
they get - the regions, it seems, have been getting on
quietly with quality stuff, and we in the Capital and
Bombay have not even heard of them.
And while Bombay's soaps have become more and more soapy,
murky and monotonous, with high society, crime and plain
filmi sex and violence, Bengal and Kerala, at least, have
produced two outstanding serials, short two episode ones
at that, which left me stunned as well as touched when
I recently had the privilege of seeing them on video.
MALAYALAM SERIAL, A REVELATION
The Malayalam serial, Nilavu Ariyunnu made by Doordarshan,
was a real revelation. The credit is given to M G Sasi
but I gather it is an employee of DD, who trained at
the Film Institute, who is largely responsible for this
I think Doordarshan has a potentially great film-maker
on its staff and should do its best to nurture him and
give him every opportunity to continue with his obviously
highly promising career in film-making.
The story in itself, is unusual. A young Malayalam couple
lives in Bombay. The highly sensitive husband, shattered
by the Bombay riots, has a nervous breakdown. He sees
a psychiatrist who advises him to go back to his village
to recover. But while returning to his loving parents
is an obvious palliative, over them hangs the shadow
of an uncle who had an obsession with cleanliness and
washing his hands and who, finding no water in the house,
goes in search of it on the river (or sea) bank, and
gets caught in quicksand and dies.
Everything is done for the young husband, a complicated
havan included. But in the end, in spite of every precaution,
he also slips out, goes in search of water, and is swallowed
by the quicksand.
The direction is masterly, restrained and controlled;
every cinematic use is made of the beautiful old house
and the Kerala landscape. The acting is quiet, equal
use is made of sound, music and the camera. This two
part serial grips us from start to finish and leaves
I repeat, the director is someone to watch, likely to
follow in the footsteps of Aravindan and other great
film makers of the region. Doordarshan is lucky to have