Hindi soaps have a new
obsession. After enduring the echoing slap, the falling thali and the
repeated-thrice-in-succession crash zoom, viewers now have to live with
another unwarranted TRP
tactic: copy-pasted Bollywood songs
as soap titles
Scroll down your set top box menu and you can't help wondering if your
TV screen has morphed into a giant playlist-there's Sasural Genda Phool,
Bade Acche Lagte Hain, Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon, Ruk Jaana Nahin, Na
Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha,
Kuch Toh Log Kahenge and the latest Kya Hua
Tera Waada. But the epidemic isn't just about channels' allegiance to
the marketing mantra of "recall value"-such titles also come to the aid
of producers who aren't sure which way the hundreds of episodes of their
soap are going to go.
"These poetic titles attract family
audiences, they sound good and strike an emotional chord," says Kamlesh
Pandey, writer-producer of daily soap Ruk Jana Nahi (a song from
Imtihan, circa 1974). "But they are also useful to scriptwriters, who
have to invent twists by the hour. An open-ended title allows the story
to turn and twist any way."
Ask television scriptwriter Sharad
Tripathi if such titles allow the story to take an unspecified course
and he responds with a definitive "Definitely". "Publicity is a must for
any show, good or bad. And if the title is inspired by a popular
Bollywood song, then half the work is done," he says.
Siddharth P Malhotra, creative producer of Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna
Hai, who was contemplating a title for his soap on the undying love of
two sisters, it was clear that the hit song from Hare Rama Hare Krishna
(1971) would convey the theme. "So we went ahead with the title and also
retained the original song, as nobody can beat R D Burman," says
Malhotra, who calls titles and songs "garnishings" that are used to make
a show successful. "However, we'd be making a fool of ourselves if we
relied entirely on show titles or songs for success. TV's real strength
lies in its characters."
In the early '90s, says Kamlesh
Pandey, shows like Rajni, Tara and Banegi Apni Baat echoed changing
sensibilities among the middle class and were thus given relevant
titles. "But daily soaps today have nothing to do with reality," he
says. "They portray a fictional society, in which middle-class families
live in havelis and flaunt clothes and jewellery that no middle-class
Indian can afford." Pandey says that Ekta Kapoor's soap factory began
this trend in 2000-though some of her soaps began by tackling 'issues'
like extra-marital affairs and the rise of the working woman, it all
came to nought very soon. "After a few episodes, the story was hijacked
and the fictional world of daily soaps was created, which has only
flourished since," he says.
The songs-turned-soap titles are
also symptomatic of the growing creative fatigue in the world of daily
serials. "There is so much interference from the channel at every stage
that after a point, one tends to give up. Instead of brainstorming,
coming up with catchy titles and getting a title song composed, it is
simpler to get an already popular song approved and buy the rights,"
says Tripathi. Lyricist Nawab Aarzoo adds that the level of competition
on this score is so high that channels vie to get songs registered as
titles. Aarzoo wanted to call his forthcoming show Gudiya but the title
was already taken. So, he altered it to the long-winded Suno Chhoti Si
Gudiya Ki Lambi Kahani (from the 1955 film Seema).
Bollywood has always been TV's mother ship, reasons Arzoo, an industry
veteran who has written lyrics for many TV shows, including Bade Acche
Lagte Hain. When the famous song is used within the show to complement a
situation, Arzoo changes the lyrics to fit the tune and the mood. "I am
now used to writing like that," he says.
Incidentally, the song Bade Acche Lagte Hain
is from a film called Balika Badhu, which, of course, is now the title of a famous soap.
"These poetic titles strike an emotional chord. But they are also
useful to scriptwriters, who have to invent twists by the hour. An
open-ended title allows the story to turn and twist any way"
P.S. - if already shared please close the topic..As i haven't seen this here, thought of sharing