Sunday, 2 July 2017



One channel caught my attention through its fresh shows at ten at night every weekday. Epic ke Dus, that’s what they are calling it. The channel has started new shows on fiction, cricket, movies, cookery and travelogues. 
Any new channel can’t neglect the homemakers and the increasing interests in cookery shows
amongst viewers.  Epic has two cookery shows which appealed to me-Lost Recipes and Raja, Rasoi aur Anya Kahaniya. Both the shows are not exclusive live cookery shows. They have food shown along with travelogues. History and lost traditions of our invaders and rulers revisited through kitchens and royal descendants is a fresh way of conducting cookery shows. The shows tell us about power, politics and food and its correlation in geographical invasions. Must see episodes are those talking about the origins of our very own Sambhar and Rasams, Pattrani macchi, Vindaloo and Bhopali Kadaknaths.

The week starts with tele series of short stories of Rabindranath Tagore directed by a talented Basu- Anurag Basu. Stories such as Chokher Bali, Kabuliwala, Detective, and Atithi are shown one after the other. Each story’s main character gradually introduces us to the next story’s protagonist and that’s how the narrative is spun by the director. The characters of each story are so true even in today’s world when sati pratha, Zamindari system, Polygamy is all abolished. The emotions and events are very much relevant and alive even today. For instance, the female characters of Chokher Bali-I see them all around. A newlywed wife whose husband is working long hours, maybe in corporate company or in defence forces, loves him desperately and passionately so that she understands when the husband moves on to another woman, suggests that he can live with his mistress in the same house. The deceitful widow who loves someone else but doesn’t object to her friend’s husband’s sexual advances towards her. The worldly wise detective husband who gets caught in the same web of lies created by him to catch a thief .The ambitious theatre artist cum mistress of a Zamindar who is unsatisfied with love and wealth and cherishes her audience’s applause. 

All these characters become so real with their very human-like display of emotions. So unlike most of today’s family dramas where everybody is either a Sati savitri or a Shakuni Mama. Tagore’s characters have all shades of white, black and grey. But still you love them. Tagore’s world has been shown by Anurag Basu in such a way that it appeals to every one of us, esp. those who may or may not go and watch his cinema. For them, it’s as good as a one hour short movie on TV. The sets, props, clothes, make-up, every nuance of film-making can be felt contributing to the overall effect of simplicity of emotions, in short, in these episodes. My only hope, the channel realizes what an interesting insight it will provide in Tagore’s literature for young viewers and shifts it to prime time of eight or nine at night, so that it is not missed.

Another new show which is equally interesting is Mid Wicket Tales being narrated by none other than Naseeruddin Shah. His voice, sparkle in the eyes and interesting scripts spin a very fresh narrative about the historical moments in Indian history. It seems to be an effort in reminding us that cricket was also a Gentleman’s game in those good old days. Once you start listening to Naseer, nostalgia will grip you and make you feel the heat and warmth of dressing rooms, on pitch competition, pressures and camaraderie. The smashing sixes of Col Naidu, the stunning success rate of the four Spinners, the 1983 World Cup winning Indian team, the origin of Ranji Trophy, everything is there.

Any new channel’s enterprising efforts are incomplete without significant contributions from Bollywood. The channel show Jaane Pehchane hosted by Javed Akhtar is an attempt to talk about the characters  of Indian cinema, which are stereotype in origin but have been made immortal due to the efforts of  certain actors, directors and/or scriptwriters. The characters that he talks about are really mundane, such as the notch girls/tawaiyafs, the comedian Hero ka dost, the Hero ki Maa, Heroine ka Pita and the bad Villains. He gives us an insight into how some actors like Pran, Meena Kumari, Mehmood and many more have done wonders to create a niche for themselves through their characters. Also the channel shows one classic movie on every week day at twelve noon. I saw Teen Deviyaan, Nau Do Gyarah, Mr. and Mrs 55 last week. It’s much better than watching Indra the tiger and Suryavansham.
Hours can be spent talking about all the new shows but one must feel the freshness to experience it. Some may say it looks like a new version of DD National, Some may say again a saffronising attempt of NaMo sarkar. But I personally feel it is much progressive, educative and interesting than watching our saas –bahu ki sajhish, Pakistani Ranjish or listening to Arnab Goswami demanding answers on behalf of the nation. Whatever said and done, Epic Ke Dus do stand out.

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