Curtain call

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By Gaaner Oparey gears up for a grand finale. Priyanka Roy Will you miss Gaaner Oparey? Tell
  • Published 14.04.11

For the Chatterjees of Kalighat, weeknights post-Saturday will never be the same. With three generations of the family — grandmother, mother and daughter — glued to their television sets at 10.30pm to watch what happens next in the lives of Gora, Pupe and Pradipto, the news that STAR Jalsha’s Gaaner Oparey will air its final episode on April 16 has come as a rude shock. “The drama has just peaked. How can the show go off air in less than a year?” wonders 47-year-old homemaker Chandrima Chatterjee.

Fans want more

An ode to Rabindranath Tagore’s music, Gaaner Oparey had notched up loyal fans and high television ratings within a few months. So, the decision to pull it off air has met with protests in both the real and the virtual worlds. On social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, viewers have floated forums demanding that the channel reverse its decision.

“We, all Gaaner Oparey lovers across the globe... protest against STAR Jalsha and Gaaner Oparey management (Ideas Creations) that we are not going to accept the untimely ending (16 April, 2011) by any means,” says a Gaaner Oparey support group on Facebook. “The only show (Gaaner Oparey) that depicts Bengali culture. Please protest by forwarding the message to all Bengalis,” writes fan Amrita Datta on Facebook.

We are family

Conceived last year to celebrate the 150th birth year of Tagore, Gaaner Oparey is a mega musical about Sohini aka Pupe, who learns Rabindrasangeet in the traditional style, and Gora, who loves to experiment with the Bard’s tunes. Written by Rituparno Ghosh and produced by Prosenjit’s Ideas Creations — they introduced siblings Arjun and Gaurav (actor Sabyasachi Chakrabarty’s sons) and Mimi Chakraborty — the show has had a slow but steady rise to the top.

The cast is, predictably, disappointed and emotional. “We always knew that the show would be on air for a year but that doesn’t mean that I am not emotional about the fact that it’s ending. All of us are very emotionally attached to Gaaner Oparey and I will terribly miss the crew. The very thought that I will never face the camera for Gaaner Oparey again is making me very emotional,” says Mimi.

Adds Arjun: “We knew that the show wouldn’t be on air for more than a year.... The cast and crew have become like family.”

The countdown

Amid the protests, STAR Jalsha holds its ground. “We believe in telling a story in a logical way without dragging it unnecessarily, irrespective of its popularity. Gaaner Oparey, too, like other shows was conceptualised with a timeline. It has been very well received by the viewers of Bengal but the storyline demands that we do justice by bringing it to a logical end,” says Ravish Kumar, executive vice-president and general manager, STAR Entertainment Media.

The fan clamour for more makes show producer Prosenjit happy but the Tolly star is confident about his decision to bring the curtains down. “Gaaner Oparey was always meant to be for a year, that is 260 episodes. We never kept the option of stretching the serial if it became a hit. I don’t think stretching it further on popular demand would have been a good idea — though at one point it had great TRPs — because then the serial would start losing its novelty. Already more than 250 Tagore songs have been used. Gaaner Oparey has a niche audience and I know it will be talked about as one of the few serials to leave an indelible mark. As a producer, that is my satisfaction — delivering a product that has its own brand equity,” says Prosenjit.

Plans are afoot to make the final episode special. “The backstage team decided to have all of us in the last episode. So it’s being planned like a video album where I and (wife) Arpita will also appear,” adds Prosenjit.