Monday, March 20, 2006

A Morning With ATN Hindi

It was Sunday morning, and I was up early to catch the Indian test innings. After that ended, I was flipping through the TV channels to see what was on - I rarely wake up early on Sunday mornings so this was a rare opportunity. The English channels were either Oprah, or some Jesus guy *black men singing hallelujah at top of lungs* or *white man saying how he was cured of thrombonical cancer or some other weird disease by Jesus*, or some infomercial selling vitality pills to the elderly. Then I switched to ATN Hindi.

I have never watched any Hindi programs regularly. I did see a bit of Saregama but that was it. So when I noticed on the guide that the ATN Hindi channel would be showing a few of the famous series, I decided to watch. Started with Saat Phere. Pretty soon, I realized one thing.

Ever seen a child master some new magic trick and then repeatedly show every one that trick until you get sick of it? That seems to be the case with these Hindi programs. They seem to have discovered ... FREEZE FRAME.

Freeze frame is when, near the end of an episode in a dramatic moment, the camera focuses on the protagonist, and the image on the screen stops, freezes and becomes a still shot, with the words 'To Be Continued ...' rolling up. The Indian TV serials have taken this concept and applied it to every *friggin* frame of an episode.

Consider this (made up) scene:
Old Woman: Parvati, Woh tumhara saheli nehi, sautan hai!
(Parvati, she is not your girl friend, but your husband's other wife!)

Immediately Parvati turns her head to the old woman (what, she was not looking at the person who was talking to her for 5 minutes?). Then she turns again. And then she turns again. Three times she has to turn her face, make her eyes go wide, and scream. Accompanied by a dramatic drum beat. Three times. Then ... Freeze frame.

You think the episode is over. But no, Parvati now continues ...
Parvati: Nehi (No)! Ya aapko kaise paata? (How do you know this?)
Old Woman: Yeh saach hai. Sari zaidaat aab uske naam pe (It's true. All the property is in her name now).
Parvati: Nehi!

Repeat face turning scene mentioned above thrice. And again, the episode is not over. It's just a commercial. And pray, what commercial do you see on ATN?
Very sad looking loser guy (to a stranger in the park): I am lost. My life is in ruins. Kya aapke paas Ajmeri Baba ka number hai?
Random Stranger in the park: Ofcourse. For happiness, everyone must have Ajmeri Baba's number.

A number comes up on the screen. An Indian priest's mug shot. And a voice-over announces, 'For 100% guaranteed results, call Ajmeri Baba now'.

A thought. These ads cost money to run. And they are some of the most common ads on ATN Hindi. Which implies someone (and a lot of them) must be buying what they are selling. Hmm, maybe I should make a Muslim equivalent ... oops, already taken! Peer Syed Sahib's ad follows. All that is missing is a Christian dude and a Sikh dude, and we would have the full house. Again, all 100% guaranteed results. I wonder how the refund policy applies.



Aisha said...

yeah I've heard of this guy and others. I see the ads when I Watch desi shows at my folks or kashif's folks. How can they guaruntee? I'd LOVE to know how many people get refunds.

NAB said...

the "freeze frame" thing is what bothered you? lolz. i remember catching a few episodes (all different shows, mind you) when I was at home over the summer, and the most common theme in them all: people tend to come back to ALL THE TIME! they frickin' never die! lolz!

good catch though.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mez and his faithful readers:

I came across a very touching story online... Here it is... Read it...

- Behbood

Isheeta said...

oh god, your recount of the soap was hilarious!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you.These soaps are so stupid. IN this SaathPhere the daughter in law is such a bitch (Kaveri)
What indian family live like that
They are so naive. Sleep and go outin the clothing. They spoil indian family reputation.

Don't watch them. Everyone is afraid of the elders so they live the lies. No wonder indians are so back ward. Too much
make up traditions.