Ram Kapoor and Sakshi Tanwar in Bade Achhe Lagte Hain
In May 2011, Bade Achhe Lagte Hain beamed into our homes and within the first few episodes, redefined primetime television viewing. Positioned and promoted as a “mature love story”, Bade Achhe Lagte Hain brought in the TRP staples of romance, drama, comedy… and even sex to shoot its way to the top of the viewership ratings. Three years after journeying with the protagonists through their ups and downs on the show, Bade Achhe Lagte Hain airs its 644th and final episode tonight. Here’s why we will miss BALH, the Sony TRP topper.
1. Ram Kapoor Bade…’s biggest crowd-puller, Ram Kapoor — playing Ram Kapoor — made age 40 as well as a 40-inch waist very, very sexy. Playing a billionaire tycoon who staves off romance for most of his life, Ram finds himself falling gradually for Priya (Sakshi Tanwar). Ram’s endearing gawkiness made his romance with Priya a delight for the Bade… fan. As his popularity soared, viewers found themselves loving his various turns — devoted son to doting brother, loyal husband to loving father. Over the years, constant rumours of him quitting the show to give more time to his film commitments would send fans into a tizzy because there were many who watched Bade… just for Ram Kapoor.
2. Sakshi Tanwar Kapoor may have been the ‘bigger’ draw, but Sakshi Tanwar’s turn as Priya, a resilient and independent woman who doesn’t flinch from taking on the world — and even her man — is what made the women in the audience root for Bade…. The more sensible among the two, Priya’s presence brought stability to Ram’s life and became a role model for every middle-class girl looking to keep aside conventions and strike out on her own. Even her sense of style became a rage through the years — replicas of her saris and salwar suits on the show continue to fly off the shelves.
3. The Ram-Priya chemistry: The searing chemistry between Ram and Priya gave Bade… much of its viewership. Even when they were separated by distance and circumstances, there continued to be a simmering dynamic between the two. And then there was that evening in March 2012 when the Ekta Kapoor show grew up in a hurry — with that passionate kiss (in picture) between Ram and Priya, culminating in quite a bit of action between the sheets. That was the day Ram and Priya became #RaYa for countless fans across the globe.
4. The me-too look and feel: Unlike the saas-bahu stories that dominate our prime time menu, Bade… scored because it dealt with the love story of two mature people in their 40s. The concept of discovering love after marriage also found favour with many in the audience. RaYa’s romance, their misunderstandings, family bonding and lasting friendships also touched a chord.
5. The side players: Lending adequate support to Ram and Sakshi was the show’s talented ensemble cast, each of whom contributed to Bade…’s ever-increasing popularity and kept the viewer’s interest in the show alive. A special mention for Jai Kalra and Tarana Raja who played Ram and Priya’s friends Vikram and Neha. And yes, even though he was around for only a few episodes, Extraaa Innings man Samir Kochhar as the suave and sexy Rajat Kapur upped Bade…’s eye-candy quotient.
6. Baby Pihu: After Ram Kapoor, Amrita Mukherjee who played baby Pihu (in picture), Ram and Priya’s daughter, was a major reason to tune into the show. Precocious yet adorable, this pint-sized powerhouse of acting talent gave Bade… much of its comic relief and ensured that a lot of kids formed its core audience.
7. Strong subplots: The Ram-Priya relationship may have dominated much of the action, but Bade… also worked because of its strong subplots — from the Natasha-Kartik relationship woes to the strained Vikram-Neha marriage to the complicated love triangle involving the grown-up Pihu. And whenever, the TRPs floundered even a little, there was a fresh twist in the Ram-Priya dynamic to make sure the Bade… viewer’s remote stayed put on Sony every weeknight.
8. The title track: The soulful title track — an RD Burman number from the 1976 Rajshri production Balika Badhu — became an instant hit. So much so that many in the audience now identify it more with the Ekta Kapoor show than the Sachin film.
9. Global flavour: Even as it kept its plot rooted in Indian sensibilities, Bade… shot many of its episodes on foreign shores — Australia to Dubai — giving the viewer the opportunity to soak in the sights and sounds of international locales.