Friday, November 29, 2013

Further Continuing The Indian Tradition of Child Cruelty: Isn’t this Slightly Odd?

Zee Bangla, or its cannibalised content on UK channel Zee Café (prev Sky 846) had a particular obsession with young g!rls. Of the main primetime Bengali and Marathi -language shows on the channel from its launch in July 2010 to Hindi re-branding in Dec 19 2011, 5 (Khona, Kunku, Kanya, Subarnalata, Dance Bangla Dance Junior, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil’Champs, Marathi Paaul Padte Pudhe - Atkepaar Zenda) featured a pre-pubescent girl in the lead role. 

 
I’m trying to avoid the inconvenient reminder that West Bengal (renamed ‘Paschim Bongo’ in a fit of nationalist pique) is the child s** capital of India (Link: Unreported World, Land of Missing Children), or the recent resurgence* of trafficking of lasses to the Farming Hicksville Goatfucking – STRICT VEGETARIAN – CowBelt of pious, devout, PROSPEROUS little Femicidaires in Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan since they’ve butchered most of their own females.

But is that not DEEPLY strange?



*Not new either. Writer Sharat Chandra wrote about Dad’s making a quick buck selling their daughter’s westwards from Bengal into families in the same area in the 19th Century.

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Further Continuing The Ancient Indian Tradition of Child Cruelty



The medical profession and media in India: it *won’t* divulge the reasons why unofficial ruler of the country Sonia Gandhi had to leave for medical treatment in the US in 2011, leaving terrified pensioner Manmohan Singh in charge, and still prissily goes “ooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOHHHH! Look at them k.i.s.s.i.n.g.!” when confronted by the poster for films featuring couples like Ashiqui,
but it is happy to let the world know the following pieces of medical information:

(THANKS for sharing that Delhi Pigs)

  • Child assault victim nicknamed ‘Gudiya’ (=Doll. They like their irksome nicknames. The Delhi bus victim is now ‘Braveheart’) in April 2013 (the 5 year old, not the other 6 year old one also namesaked later that month after being found unconscious in a public toilet) after being abducted from a school playground ….. whilst the 6 year old has received ‘a 4 inch injury to her private parts’.
 
  • 14 year old Arushi Talwar, found murdered in her parents Greater Noida house in 2007 and the mute spectator in the subsequent botched police investigations culminating with the highly unsafe conviction of her parents for her murder, also had ‘a prominent opening to her private parts’ (THANKS AGAIN INDIAN MEDIA) which implies she’d done SEX* because she had also a disgraceful habit of TALKING WITH BOYS.
*It doesn’t matter that she might have been raped, Conservative Indians will Always Know She Led Him On.

Patient confidentiality obviously not being a primary concern when the victims in question are not party chiefs.

The year before it was ‘Baby Falak’, a battered toddler dumped in hospital by a trafficked 14 year old. Drawing parallels with the Baby P case in the UK, the child, who subsequently died after receiving massive head injuries was then revealed to have been the end of a complex chain of child trafficking (sold by her mother who was then sold on into another marriage herself). Given the endless portrayal of child cruelty on TV soaps you would have thought that the public would have at least had some inkling of this, but no; magical thinking prevails as always.

Not that the continued prevalence of Child Cruelty has stopped the mushrooming of kiddy-centred talent shows, drama’s and comedy programmes. Not actual programmes for them though. Programmes with them as entertainment.

It started as a spin off from regular TV talent shows like Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. There were by 2010 approximately 300 variations covering singing, dancing, singing AND dancing, stand up comedy (they LUUURRVE fat comedy children), plus aforementioned soap fodder. IMDB barely covers these programmes so for most background info I have used Sky EPG, programme websites and Wiki


They scare toddlers, don’t they?

One of the most galling was ‘DanceBangla Dance Junior’ aired by Zee Bangla (Bengali language channel) and shown on UK screens as part of the Bengali-language programming on Zee Café (Sky 846, until Dec 2011). Running 3 nights a week, every week for over 100 episodes between 2010 and 2011, it rapidly lost any pretence of being an X-factor type talent competition and morphed into an unfathomable dance psychodrama requiring its performing children to carry out ever more technically rigorous dances - the child with the lowest vote facing the threat of being carried off by an animated ghost. Presiding over events was former Bollywood film star Mithun Chakrobarty who drunkenly listlessly played some sort of Wizard or sh!t with the power to gift magic tokens (balls, literally) to fend off the ghost.

 
The ghost. Essentially Skeletor from the old He-Man cartoons, but just different enough to avoid copyright infringement, he would pop up intermittently to launch into bizarre unfunny routines and scare the children. This included reducing one of the youngest performers, star toddler Dipanita Kundu (age: 4) to tears. Rather than attempting to comfort the child (other than when the script demanded, i.e. in recognition of a particularly show-stopping dance) this seemed to be a comedy interlude. 

Source. YouTube 



(I could embed a clip of her here. but given that if I go on you tube to look at it i get bombarded with ads for russian mail order brides i'm terrified i might end up Yewtree'd. Try http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UibZtawXygs)

And so another episode would trigger me complaining to OFCOM.

Not that Dipanita’s Mother seemed overly bothered by the privations: in this 2010 Times of India article
she was surprised to note:

Says Paramita, "My daughter, Dipannita, loves to watch anything related to children on television. I have seen her shed tears when she sees children being beaten up in serials or classic movies. [remember: she’s 4] If a film is well-made, I think she will watch it though she hasn't yet watched any children's movies in theatres. She hasn't watched Potter movies or the Ray classics yet." And if Dipannita is offered a role in a movie now, can she leave her show to shoot for it? "Right now, I don't think it's possible since this show has made her a household name and I can't be lured into making her do movies at the cost of this show. In future, I'll definitely consider such offers if they come by," she says.”

 
Given the sensation she generated with her stint on DBD it’s unlikely that she’d be allowed to live a life away from the limelight. Later episodes had also introduced a hated rival (age: 2 ½ ) to out-cute her, casting her as an insecure burn-out before she could attend primary school. I’m sure the poor genius has a brilliant future ahead of her. Things worked out SO well for Michael Jackson and Judy Garland




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Friday, August 09, 2013

Dr Mindy Lahiri Does Not Have an Older Brother

There is a graveyard of washed-up actresses (mainly actresses,), who nearly always ‘stray’ in the eyes of the Indian media, leading inexorably to grief. The recent demise of tousled haired self-styled ‘free spirit’ Jiah Khan is an exception, since she was an actress raised in the west who found herself hopelessly adrift in the Bollywood shark tank.

(The moment she popped up as the barely 19 year old EMPOWAD Lolita clone in debut film Nishabd against Amitabh Bachchan – ex squire/slayer of former fragile co-stars Parveen Babi and Rekha, and directed by the self proclaimed auteur of po-faced softcore that masquerades as films of Important Social Comment Ram Gopal Verma, we should have known she was doomed).

Witness the aforementioned Babi – breathtakingly successful in the 1970’s and the 1st ever Star to grace the cover of TIME magazine, she did what any moderately ambitious actress in the peak of her career might consider – she opted for a Hollywood try-out.

(pic: Indiatoday..com)


Ah. And then she did it. That thing.

That terrible terrible thing.

She posed topless.

Whereas the Obligatory Tit Clutching Photoshoot is now par for the course in Bollywood for every 25+ actress struggling to prove she’s Still GOT IT, then, and particularly doing this for the Amriki symbolised the crossing of a very definite line. No matter that Bollywood is now the refuge for every shit faded porn star whose acting skillz even make the makers of Donkeys Gone WIYLD baulk.

And so began, in the narrative, the descent into what would end in paranoid Schizophrenia  and death as a recluse in 2005.

See also PersisKhambhatta- known globally as The Bald Alien Space Chick in Star Trek The Motion Picture, but forever sullied in the eyes ofthe Indian media for having done a titty shot in Playboy. Both died disturbingly young. This is also ALWAYS mentioned in the media. It is as if leaving India – let alone *sinking* towards slack western morals means a sort of rejection tantamount to betrayal.  

Frieda Pinto is not *yet* being subjected to full-on catcalling. So far there have been snide comments about her walking out of a characteristically cack-handed Bollywood production schedule (with attendantBelowTheLine vitriol from losers at the Times of India deriding heras a failure). So then, she’ll just *have* to go back to making films in Hollywood, she must be DEVASTATED she can’t piss about in a badly choreographed potboiler.

What then will be the likely reaction when awareness of The Mindy Project (for it will happen) goes critical in India? I am vaguely aware of the Indian Diaspora in the US. From the point of view of someone from the UK, they form an interesting case study – what might have happened if there hadn’t been a critical mass of working class Gujju, Bangladeshi or Punjabi/Pakistani migrants to the UK, rather than the elite cadre of Tamils, Bengali’s, and Kannadans working in IT, academia and Medicine. No Southall, no Blair Peach, no Grunwick Strike or Hillingdon Health Workers, No Newham 7.

I doubt if you’d get a mass appeal for the tragic contests Indo-Americans revere like Spelling Bees in the UK - Outside of the tragic child genii featured on Channel 4 in June 2013. Too nerdy. Too showing of vulnerability in a hostile climate. Witness the histrionics on Twitter at Child Genius Shrinidhi Prakash and her top lip.

It’s not that there hasn’t been outright racism in the US – far from it, ranging from the 1980’s ‘dotbusters’ carrying out race killings in New York to Mukaka-gate with Bobby Jindal and the attacks on Sikhs after 9/11 and the Oak Creek massacre in 2012.

But still: because of the scattered nature of the diaspora stateside and the more overtly aspirational backgrounds of their parents, the 2nd gen Indian diaspora tend not to need to wear the fact that they are Asian as desperately as it feels in the UK. Their Blog posts are WAY more whiny and rambling though as compensation.
(Enraged male relatives not pictured)

Reasons why India will not be able to cope with The Mindy Project:
1) She’s non-Wheatish – the tragedy being that whilst this is not so much of a barrier in the US or UK (where one’s ethnicity is the focus) – it almost certainly would in India. Would she grace the cover of Indian Vogue? Would she Want to? As neatly summed up by this tweet:
“Watching The Mindy Project. Even more wow than an Indian gal fronting a sitcom is that IN India she'd be considered too "dark" to be a star.”

2) She drinks alcohol – and does not suffer the consequences.
3) She chases the white – actually, this will be the absolute killer. There has already been a snottily contorted article attempting to accuse her of racism owing to her alleged preference for white partners. (So let’s get this straight: Mindy Lahiri is prejudiced for fancying white guys, but when Mirpuri taxi drivers groom and molest predominantly white teenage girls, YOU’RE the bigot for pointing this out? Thanks Guardian. What do you think should be done? Should they attend an equalities workshop to make sure they rape more BME women?)
4) She never ever ever EVER mentions her parents. India will be utterly uncomprehending of this. It is as if she is some sort of individual who does not feel the need to consult with them on day-to-day functions. Does she not love them?
5) That episode where she gets that generically hunky Gyno to prod her Jack’n’Danny, only she’s really hesitant and so everyone tells her to imagine her Warrior Self is doing this instead. Using a Secret Warrior name. Which she reveals at the end as Beyonce Pad-Thai. Beyonce. The most supine of R’n’B singers after Rhianna. Beyonce. Not Durga or yer Kali’s. Beyonce.
6) Did I mention this? She is both loose and decidedly forward and generally bold. In India, where moral policing is creeping back into national life (The Delhi Rapists felt they had to teach their victim a lesson for being seen out with a male she was not married to, remember), gamely chasing man-totty would  in conventional Indian drama terms, warrant the promissory slap from an older male relative. Usually a burdened Father or concerned Uncle, often an older brother, or a ‘corrective assault’ from her suitors so she realises the error of her westerner ways – as in the pompous ‘auteur’ and rape suspect Madhur Bhandakar’s ‘social coment’ film “Fashion” where the lead female’s descent into disgrace is illustrated by her Sleeping with a Black Man. Dr Mindy Lahiri does not have an Older Brother. Indians will note this.

7) Whereas most people who watch the Mindy Project will think “ho hum, an everyday tale of gossamer-lite romances and chit chat about that stumpy woman who’s an ethnic”, Indian audiences will probably not be able to get past: “But She’s Bengali Brahmin, wouldn’t she visit relatives in Kolkatta or something?” And from there, would flow the lost in translation verdicts that this serves as an indictment of western moral values, for this would be the only lesson to be learned – for all stories featuring NRIs must be sermons that could only ever be taken to mean that Indian values, whatever those are, are in peril and must be defended.
8) That VOICE.
9) Courtesy of a generation of politicised UK Asian playwrights/luvvies, all appearances of Asian characters in UK dramas have to represent some sort of profound cultural statement on the state of the Asian Experience in The UK. This actually fits in *very* neatly with how UK born Asians are portrayed in India – always the uppity Angrezi-born who Has No Idea Of Their Culture to them is just as much a tiresome trope as The PermaConflicted 2nd gen Indian Struggling With Their Identity. Never mind that The Mindy Project wouldn’t have got commissioned in India – they simply couldn’t process a single woman living as independently as Lahiri – there is no WAY it would have been commissioned in the UK. “But why hasn’t she been racially abused yet?” “Should we include an allegory for the War on Terror?” “Could we include a delightful little Bollywood song and Dance routine? All Indians like that”, “Shouldn’t she be more actively challenging preconceptions about the Hijab?”
10)…No, sorry, even after they exhaust all the other options they will still return to #6). And seethe.

August NEWSFLASH. After an extensive search, news reaches that The Mindy Project will be shown on Comedy Central India starting August 12th.  
“She is surrounded by quirky co-workers who consistently add to the fun factor to her already adventurous life.”
That’s obscure enough a channel to prevent the mass scale OUTRAGE that greeted saccharine tv adaptation of saccharine costume drama Jodha Akbar on Zee by “members of the Rajput Community (=CASTE)” which have subsequently escalated into violence.

The expected form of the backlash:
It will begin with snide articles in the Times of India or FirstPost. So far India has been studiously ignoring the Mindy Project. This will lay the ground work for the casual misogynist browser to realise there is a show about a dusky and homely spinster on the television. They will then watch this. The resulting flowering of hate could well escalate into the levels of vitriol meted out against Caroline Criado-Perez.
  • Moral panic – Aaj Tak will find a way to link this to Dancing parties where wimmens taking DRUGS and moral policing.
  • Questions asked in Parliament – I wouldn’t put it past them, if they can do the same about child bride soap Balika Vadhu.
  • Burning effigies – Mindy Lahiri representing the shameless womens of westerner life and disgraceful moral lacktitude and the threat she poses to Indian Moral values. Bets on when the 1st will be burnt – late September?
  • Some sort of attempt to link this to the myriad grievances India has against the Amriki. Probably led by a Bollywood star jealous at his continuing failure at entering H-town. I’m looking at the ageing Ham Bachchan perceiving some sleight caused by the programme to his country folk and attempting some magnanimous comment on twitter that then turns into a shit storm.

It’s not even actually that funny. But I don’t think that will actually matter. Meanwhile, the countdown to the shitstorm on the subcontinent begins. Tick..tick…tick…tick…tick…
  

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Thursday, August 08, 2013

Bollywood’s Disastrous attempts to CONQUER Amriki fillum and supplant evil Britisher Culture: A Guide

It’s a curious blind-spot. The Indian media show a near-obsessive interest in what the West (be they Britishers or Amriki) thinks, or makes, of the achievements its far-flung Diaspora. How Indians’ hearts were warmed by the news that Keith Vaz, Indianorigin Keith Vaz, had been invited to Margaret Thatcher’s Funeral.


Such ACCEPTANCE! Every 2nd Bollywood news article on a moderately successful new actor or more specifically actress in B-town will speculate as to whether THIS actress will be The One. The One to finally do it. To finally manage to break Hollywood.


A summary of previous attempts:
How we squealed in anticipation in 2010 at the imminent breakthrough of item-girl-CUM-general titjiggler Mallika Sherawat (See previous), set to STORM Hollywood with her GROUNDBREAKING erotic Horror movie Hiss.
(hattip: Musiqplanet.blospot)

Aided by excitable tweets from the self proclaimed Queen of Twitter on Bollywood, the Indian media THRILLED at news of Madam’s star studded life being in the same restaurants as some people who were on the TV, and having a milkshake named after her.

This, they believed, would be IT. As of June 2013 Sherawat was personae non grata in India for the unforgivable crime of calling India (‘the Guernica of women’s rights’, well done whoever came up with that) ‘regressive’ in its attitudes towards the wimmens. Cue ritual evisceration by other Bollywood filth eager to shout down any introspection with cries of JAI HIND as usual.

Meanwhile ageing ham and Shiv Sena groveller Amitabh Bachchan appears to still be kidding himself that he will conquer Hollywood. Indian media thrilled at his insistence on speaking in Hindi at press conferences in Cannes 2013 to promote The Great Gatsby (cast as Meyer Wolfsheim!! Hitler obsessive Bal Thackeray would be horrified!) “this means,” said an awestruck relative, “that they are really Scared of Bollywood’s power now, Bollywood is going to bring everybody to its cause….”

(Pic via DigitalSpy)

Or the attempts of Aishwarya Rai to BREAK Tinseltown in crossover disasters: 


(Pic: wikipedia updated Nov 2013)


Mistress of Spices (the usual magical realism dog shit involving anything Indian that involves La Aishwarya being winsome-and-a-wibbling) – bored audiences didn’t quite *get* the Rai magic:
Toronto Star quote 
“About all that can be said about The Mistress of Spices is that actress Rai manages to retain a straight face while uttering some of the most risible dialogue ever heard in a supposedly serious drama”
 (that’s every Bollywood film ever made, pal)


The Pink Panther 2:


Err….

Bride and Prejudice

(via Movieguide.org)

Oh fuck off. More cringeworthy Gurinder Chadha mawkishness. Solely of interest in that it depicts a Punjabi family who are supposed to be wealthy and yet have 4 daughters. Did they not have ultrasound there?

Meanwhile “Sexiest Asian woman of 2007 and former Miss Vivacious” Bipasha Basu has been hailed as The New Sophia Loren by her publicity people since at least 2005.  Existing in a sort of  near-recognition globally, (she’s currently best remembered as having got off with Ronaldo in a nightclub and formerly shagging dimwit Zoolander –like Model-turned-actor John Abraham), Bipasha Madam might *just* get to see the release of her debut actioner Singularity in 2013 after only 2 years in production. Great! And the Indian media proudly notes that “it features not only her picture, but mentions her name too.”

BIG TIME!
(wikipedia)


 The actors that manage to make some sort of living in LA tend to be those with credentials as character actors (Irfan Khan, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi). That there *are* actors who manage to cut it over there doesn’t stop the Indian media crying racism whenever one of the more photogenic actors falls flat with the mediocre appearances they manage in Hollywood.

So you would think, surely, that a top rated show, starring an Indian origin lead – a Female Lady person – that had gained strong ratings in the US would have had wall to wall coverage in the Desi press, not to mention that the English-language media would have gone CrazyNutsso for The Mindy Project on Fox (boo!), yes?


Nothing. 


Not a peep. 

As of the end of July 2013 it hadn't been shown anywhere near India, which doesn’t normally prevent coverage – witness the coverage of some asian model turning up on Eastenders.
Why on earth could that be? 

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

All Extended Families are Psychotic: Punarvivah: Zindagi Milegi Dobara

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punar_Vivah


Sky EPG:
The journey of two individuals who tread into the world of marriage despite being wedded earlier. Will they experience the same magic that they did in their first marriage?

Length30 minsEntertainment, Drama



It seems like a trite little premise. The programme website however, depressingly illustrated how *bold* it appears to be for a woman who by definition has DONE SEX before remarrying to survive daily life without being burned at the stake for witchcraft. (http://www.zeetv.com/shows/punar-vivah-zindagi-milegi-dobara)

Does Marriage only happen once and remain for lifetime? Does Remarriage equate to marriage (??????)...does a person feel the same excitement, same enthusiasm about his remarriage as he felt about his first marriage. Along with remarriage, the duties, responsibilities remain the same as marriage , even if you dont wish to yet you have to fulfil these duties. Expectations from such remarriage remain the same as the first marriage, does an individual feel the same enthusiasm to fufill these dreams and expectations as the first marriage?


The one minor surprise here is that being a widow (traditionally shunned by loony Hindus and Sikhs as automatically responsible for their Husband’s death) is now not seen as so dreadful compared to a woman who was divorced (and Divorce in India is always ALWAYS her fault). Hence the central conceit of the female lead being fixed up with a moping widower by her in-laws on the premise that she is a widow when – GASP – her husband merely ran off with some strumpet. Angst ridden gnashing of teeth ensue as her in-laws (their son is dead to them, you see?) persist with said pointless lie for the sake of family honour, as otherwise sourfaced widower would never consent to entering into such an unseemly arrangement – which is only being undertaken as a duty so his daughters have someone to cook for them and her son has an indifferent adult male just like Daddy. But OH NOES, he actually starts to LIKE HER. And so even a set-up where you are married to someone you like is portrayed as Hideously Unnatural. The looking-glass mores managed to last 300 episodes until the male lead flounced off in 2013. Devout conservative Indian TV audiences might also have expressed horror at lead couple Gurmeet Chaudhary and Kratika Sengar, both having previously played venerated roles as Lord Ram and the Rani of Jhansi in previous programmes. It’s like Jesus shagging Boudicca.

Harridan:
Maya Bua (Ananya Khare)



A seething, embittered childless widowed Aunt. Consistently vicious, the prospect of her sharing house space with SHOCK! A ‘widowed’ SHOCK! Remarried SHOCK! New wifelet results in brain melting levels of doom-mongering at the HELL IN A HANDCART portents that this DISGRACEFUL behaviour entails, delivered in a hissing voice and reptilian stare. Latest coup de grace involves banning a female relative from a baby shower: not because she’s a murderer, but because she is barren, and therefore destined to bring ill fortune. Classy!
Hunt-Sharples rating: 90

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Continuing The Ancient Indian Tradition of Child Cruelty

(Originally started c. 2012)

Indian TV, from a cloistered period of innocence upto the early 1990’s, rapidly evolved, absorbed all matter of new fangled programme formats within a matter of months of them appearing on global tv, and now finally eaten itself.

Further to my earlier posting on the prevalence of CC and C actors in Indian Soaps, trailers in late 2011 started advertising a new Soap starting on (the now defunct) NDTV Imagine (Sky 831 in UK). Haar Jeet is the story of 2 child performers. The trailer should be self-explanatory whether you understand Hindi or not:


Recent convulsions of soul searching have wracked the Indian media over the case of ‘BabyFalak’, a battered toddler dumped in hospital by a trafficked 14 year old. Drawing parallels with the Baby P case in the UK, the child, who subsequently died after receiving massive head injuries was then revealed to have been the end of a complex chain of child trafficking (sold by her mother who was then sold on into another marriage herself). Given the endless portrayal of child cruelty on TV soaps you would have thought that the public would have at least had some inkling of this, but no; magical thinking prevails as always.

 
December time in India, means its time for another CC festival. The other week it was B-dropping festival at the Dargah. Not droppings *from* a baby, Dropping *of* a baby.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

All Extended Families Are Psychotic: Jeevan Saathi

Rishtey Sky 831
Sky EPG:



Weekdays 8pm
The show depicts the struggle of inter-religious relationships. It is an eternal love story of a couple, which withstands the test of time and destiny.

Length30 minsEntertainment, Drama
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fymfxkSs3Cw 



The most histrionic of the lot. Features a permanently hypertensive EvilDAD, incessantly moping surrendered wifelets, chronically moping sainted grans etc. After topping simpering daughters WUNTROOLUV, has her married off to mute village hick as punishment and then carted off to Mental Asylum in order to… oh I dunno, fulfil wank fantasy of Wimmin In Peril TV producers, whilst helplessly bleating “Ishwar!!” to call out to 2ndTROOLUV in a deeply annoying manner. Obligatory S/M ECT sesh results in said helpless heroine gurning like a cunt and lolloping about like a toddler (the standard criteria in Indian soap for actresses to prove they can Do Range, see also: Hitler Didi) in order to fully realise the impact of debilitating brain trauma.
 



Harridan:

A magnificent Trunchbull-dyke Asylum warder in the tradition of Vinegar Tits from Prisoner: Cell Block H. You.Go.Grrrrrrrrrl.

Hunt-Sharples rating: 40.
 

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All Extended Families are Psychotic: Housewife Hain.. Sab Janti Hain!




Sky EPG:


In an age where working women are considered "cool", Zee TV breaks this cliche by bringing to the forefront the humble housewife and her selfless attitude towards her loved ones. 

Length30 minsEntertainment, Drama



Yes, you read that right. Note the spitting contempt of those quotation marks and steel yourself for 30 minutes of surrendered wife dogshit as a newlywed top investigative journalist decides to find true happiness by masochistically proffering to spend ALL FUCKING DAY lingering round the kitchen trying to source cooking gas in some self defeating pass-agg attempt to rebel against her money-grubbing Saas (Mother in Law) who’d prefer son’s wifey to work as it could bring them money or some shit for her repulsive poundshop Dabanng* *(Gene Hunt with a Movember) shit of a bent cop husband  - which may or may not be an attempt to connect with a (blatantly depressive) pet Bahu (daughter in law) who spends all day silently doing chores. Key message: working women are LAZY FAILURES who SPOIL their UPPITY DAUGHTERS.

(June 2013 update):


Harridan: Sunaina Chaturvedi (Himani Shivpuri)  

Hunt-Sharples Rating: 35 

More cloying Mother-love than outright vicious. Recent attempts to up her game have included issuing some arbitrary fatwa preventing her son from entering conjugal relations with goody two-shoes investigative bahu and banishing her to her grandparents house, to assuage the indelible hurt caused because they were CAUGHT HOLDING HANDS in the FAMILY HOUSE (not even fucking or anything). This also seems to be a recurring theme in Indian soap. I mean DUH, like the only reason they fret about getting their fuckwit male spawn married off is so they can churn out more spawn in turn, what are they supposed to do?



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Thursday, September 20, 2012

All Extended Families Are Psychotic: Subarnalata

Subarnalata (Zee Café Jan - Dec 2011)
http://www.zeebangla.com/shows/subarnalata.html

Sky EPG: An adaptation of the classic novel "Subarnalata" by Ashapurna Devi. This serial is about the journey of a girl who is married at the tender age of 9 years. In Bengali.



Harridan: Muktokeshi (Sabitri Chatterjee)
Fuck. FUCK. Oh My GOD. At this point, Hunt-Sharples becomes Logarithmic. First, this makes justifiable claims to being a *mega-serial* rather than a standard soap, as it is attempting to stay true to the original source material of the novel it was based on and is a period drama.

Oh my. Where to begin… I watch a lot of soaps. I used to watch Santa Barbara for crissakes. And Sons and Daughters. I KNOW what a finely turned-out harridan looks like. The growling voice, the Medusa stare. But I am struggling to find a character anywhere else in UK/US/Australian /Indian soap who comes anywhere near close to the vindictive, self-pitying, spiteful, childish, maudlin, vile, violent, lazy, abusive, insanely dogmatic, wilfully stupid, wilfully neglectful, neurotic, narcissistic, foul-mouthed, callous Weapons-Grade Cunt portrayed here as the mother-in-law to unfathomably reasonable child-bride Subarnalata in early 20th C. Calcutta. 

Take the Mother from Precious then multiply it by a thousand - you're still nowhere near it. Sabitri Chatterjee was a romantic heroine in the 50’s. She must have borne a passing resemblance to Suzanne Pleshette. In this her face curdles all dairy products in a 5 mile radius. The USP of this drama is its intricate depiction of the Tiny. Petty. Myriad. Ways in which it is possible to cause offence to someone determined to find fault with the uppity new bahu- ostracised for the dangerous ability to read and write (and these aren’t rural no-marks, the men in this family are middle class, upper caste professionals). 

Like, for example, when your dim-witted sister-in-law is about to die in childbirth, and your other brother-in-law is in the room down the hall with his LAWYER SCUM mates pissing away the last of the household’s food on ANOTHER gambling session (and on viewing, I just remembered this - are enraged that they are not being served tea as promptly as a household of *status* would demand), and whilst the little wimmin are fretting away at the impending tragedy, through the walls you can hear the garrulous laughs of aforementioned LAWYER SCAB SCUM oblivious.


Would you:
a) Storm into the gambling session, tell Lawyer scum to fuck off and demand your snide brother-in-law to fetch some sort of actual like *help* or go too
B) run amok with a kitchen knife. No jury would convict.
c) anxiously fret over what to do, but eventually appear in the room and make some veiled allusion which might perhaps be interpreted as a suggestion that there might be other events taking place which may disrupt their enjoyment
d) none of the above





I reckon most would pick a). Most right thinking British Soap women would b). Subarnalata picks c).
She is then subsequently admonished by the remainder of the household for not doing d) in another ‘tough love’ style family confrontation, not least because as A Married she entered a room with MEN in it thus marking herself out as a Harlot and Hooeer and has SHAMED the faaaaaamily.


House Arrest
It is this relentless detailing of the Myriad. Intricate. Every DAY tyrannies of her imprisonment (never has the term ‘housewife’ been more adeptly illustrated - once that front doorway is sealed, one is literally housebound) that made this so hideously compelling. And it illustrates the slow painful process of attempting to challenge bigotry and entrenched neuroses tarted up as custom that makes the progress of society possible on a personal level. It is therefore deeply political. Ashapurna Devi’s account means that even if you are a housewife who never heard of Orwell or Doesn’t Do That Political Stuff or can’t even read, approximately 10 minutes watching this and you know what Fascism looks like. 

I was having difficulty placing the actual time period the events in this were occurring in. All that can be certain is its pre-Independence India. There is no electricity. There is no radio let alone TV. The household even forbids newspapers. There is the terrible sense that this could actually be set in the present or even the future, so strong is the force-field of orthodoxy permeating everything.

Hunt-Sharples rating: At this point, Hunt-Sharples becomes logarithmic. 50 Mega-Blanches.









  

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Friday, June 15, 2012

All Extended Families are Psychotic: Agnipariksha


Agnipariksha (Zee Café July 2010- Dec 2011) (http://www.zeebangla.com/shows/agni-pariksha.html

Sky EPG: Agnipariksha deals with the obstacles faced by a woman, emphasizing on what she goes through. (Bengali)




Harridan:  A maiden Aunt obsessed with horoscopes who sits stone faced at family gatherings. Imagine having Melanie Philips to stay. 
Actually something of a surfeit of harridanry here. In addition to an unhinged auntie-in-law fixated with another set of horoscopes (This is a Big Thing in India)
Hunt-Sharples rating: 12



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All Extended Families are Psychotic: Kunku

Kunku: (Facebook Group



Sky EPG:
Kunku is a heart touching saga of a poor girl Janki who is forced to marry a powerful widower. (Marathi)


Look at the title for the opening credits. Sweet isn’t it?
Until you realise, that actually, she’s not harking after her father like Jenny Agutter in The Railway Children. No. That’s not her Father, THAT’S HER *HUSBAND*.


Hunt-Sharples rating: 15 – bit meh.

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All Extended Families Are Psychotic: Regional language delights


The aforementioned were Hindi-language Indian Soaps. Owing to channel subs/language barriers this doesn’t cover Punjabi or Gujarati soaps (though several of the above are meant to be set in these areas).
However, from July 2010 to December 2011, Zee channel Zee Café showed a number of Bengali and Marathi language soaps with English subtitles.


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