Upping the glam quotient!
In the past 17 or so years, the influence of soap opera vamps on India’s middle-class lives has been tremendous. No, we are not accrediting the spike...
That, with the onset of the never-ending K-series soaps, the Indian television industry underwent a renaissance of sorts in early 2000, is public knowledge.
But the uncomplimentary trend ensuing from it remains to be is an unbearable caricature of a typical housewife, nurturing the sole ambition of marriage and serving her in-laws in yards long glistening saree, with a face loaded with gaudy makeup, and a body laden with kilos of jewelry - all of which combine to make a perfect “behenji” out of this newly-wed, barely-in-early-twenties lass.
Now when this overtly “sanskari bahurani” bores our hero off the bedroom, he finds himself enmeshed in an extramarital affair. Here enters the vamp who, since the past decade and a half, has been providing that much-needed glamour quotient that the audience crave with desperation.
In the past 17 or so years, the influence of soap opera vamps on India’s middle-class lives has been tremendous. No, we are not accrediting the spike in extra-marital affairs in Indian households, but the plunging backs of blouses in traditional wardrobes, to these charming ladies.
Urvashi Dholakia, who played Komolika in ‘Kasautii Zindagi Kay’, was the pioneer of the “Seductive Antagonist” movement. Her voluminous braid, metallic bindis that could blind the viewer across the screen and the overtly drawn lips traversed into mainstream makeup in no time and every wedding ceremony saw a bride surrounded by five incarnations of Komolika.
Next to this Bengali vamp, was Pallavi from ‘Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki’, the archetypal venomous sister-in-law sans whom lives of the average housewife in a joint family, including the two other bahuranis of the Agarwal family would have been a bed of roses.
She was the only member of the parivar, who got the men in our houses turn toward the television during dinner, all thanks to her perfectly chiselled – or if I may say, sexy - figure, something one wouldn’t dare expect from the good bahurani wrapped in infinite lengths of silk.
But it was Ramola Sikand of ‘Kaahin Kissii Roz’ to help us understand that sexy has no age limit, sexy is beyond mere years. Her oh-so-dramatic appearance, bindi’s that put Leonardo di Vinci to shame, rings greater than that of the Saturn combined to create that larger than life image.
Though this antagonist was a mother-in-law, Sudha Chandran essayed the role with unparalleled panache and hypnotised her audience like witchcraft. In later years, the actresses who replaced the initial flagbearers of deception on the small screen took the oomph factor many notches up; in fact, if we said, one glues oneself up in front of the LED screen to admire the sex appeal, the trendy ensembles and the on point make up of these bad girls alone, it won’t be an exaggeration at all.
It was for sure the winsome Rashi with her poker straight hair and well-draped saris that added the bare minimum vivacity to the stale storyline of ‘Saath Nibhana Sathiya’ stretch across seven years. We can all agree unanimously that a mockery of Indian television that runs by the name of ‘Nagiin’ owes every bit of its TRP to the stunning Adaa Khan, and it’s not the on-again-off-again matrimony of Ishita-Raman but the atypical patterns of Anita Hassanandani’s blouses that pull viewers to Star Plus every evening.
It is Amrapali Gupta who makes ‘Ishqbaaaz’ worth our audience and the brimming success of ‘Beyhadh’ is on account of the iniquitous Jennifer Winget offering a fresh and welcomed break from the boring, benevolent bahurani, whose days, on the Indian television screen, seem numbered. It’s a vamps’ world, viewers, and we all are merely living in it.
By: Avantika Debnath