A friend asked me today whether I was aware that Hindi soap writers were paid thrice as much as Bollywood screenplay writers. She said it in a disdainful tone.
I think writing for Hindi soaps requires heck lot more imagination than say, certain movies. I mean, giving new voices and new conflicts to those
cliched cardboard idolized characters for years who barely even
step out of their cocoon and have to go through various stages of life looking
like their young decked-up self can be no small feat. It must take a toll
on the writer.
got lured stumbled upon an
episode of Saath Nibhana Saathiya, the show on Star Plus that’s been on for
eons and honestly I assumed had been over eons back. The timid, docile,
once-illiterate Gopi Bahu was sent to jail for a decade for killing her evil
sister. (I had to look this up. So much effort!) You’d think a woman like that
would sink into irreversible depression and lose all sense of self-worth and
dignity. Not our Gopi Bahu. Our GB is like the mother of dragons; returns with a
swagger, bangs and some crackling zingers. Her attitude, confidence and the ability to cut naysayers to
size are so refined, Hilary Clinton could take a cue from her for the 2016
presidential election. You’d think GB had returned with an MBA from Yale, not a
decade long jail term for murder.
She makes it home but alas, the coochie cooing will have to wait. Husband now lives with a girlfriend and surprise surprise, she's not the first 'other woman' in his life. The pig also almost married someone else. But hey he’s still Ahem-ji ok ok?
She tries to impose herself on him with her new
jail returned self.
“Hey baby I’m back. Kisses?”
If there’s one thing you learn in b-school, it’s persistence. So she keeps at it.
Ahem-ji is sick of being wooed by two women he doesn’t deserve in the first place so he berates GB. When all else fails, GB resorts to the ultimate weapon of men destruction – sindoor.
Ahem-ji romances the girlfriend in full public view, dishing out trite periodic insults at GB, while GB lovingly has to engage a bottle of sindoor, her only ally in testing times. Hey producers, why don't you get the poor wifey a battery-operated er bottle – you know the kinds that talk back, to keep her company?
GB is determined to win husband back, come hell or high water.
She’s like, let’s do this no, hun?
He’s like, no dice.
She’s like, don’t make me say the s-word.
He’s like, whatevah. I get plenty already.
She’s like, eww perv. I meant sindoor.
He gets so vexed he does something crazy amazing. He asks GB to explain what sindoor means to her while a dozen onlookers nervously bite their lower lips in anticipation. GB gives a huge sermon, no points for guessing, on the magical powers of the colored powder. It's just what the bugger wanted. Sly! Women – do not, I repeat, do not fall into this trap. He lunges forward, grabs the bottle and jumps back to the tile he’s been assigned in the living room. Then as the camera rolls and the
cacophony soothing background music ensues, he creates a divider
in his house with it in a high tension sequence. Brilliant, no?
This is Rekha, he declares cockily.
Wait, I thought she’s Mansi, GB can’t even keep track of the girlfriends.
Lakshman rekha, you illiterate women, he roars. "If you really value sindoor, you'll never step on this rekha and try to
shag shack make up
The episode ends with Ahem-ji and the girlfriend staying on the other side of sindoor ki rekha happily ever after in the same house while poor GB had to buy new sindoor pronto since he used it all up. Dawg.