How things change...

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By If you can't beat the saas-bahu brigades, join them. Like Sarrkkar has discovered to its benefit. Hopefully. By Sneha Hazarika
  • Published 8.07.05


Looking at the number of reality shows, foreign inspired serials and GenX shows on air these days, it is clear that each channel is trying to beat the other when it comes to offering variety. In this rat race Zee TV is certainly not lagging behind. The latest from their kitty is a daily political drama, Sarrkkar ? Rishton Ki Ankahi Kahani, that is totally removed from the ‘now so boring’ saas-bahu genre. Penned by Shobhaa De, Sarrkkar was launched on Zee TV in the last week of April.


The very accomplished Divya Seth (once so famous in serials like Daraar, Hum Log, Sparsh, Banegi Apni Baat) returns to television after a long hiatus. And real-life Roy brothers, Ronit and Rohit, famous TV stars in their own right, are seen together onscreen for the first time ever. They play brothers in the serial, too.

Here Divya Seth plays the head of a political family who is caught between her family and the power games of high politics. Her character is thrown into the hot seat when her Chief Minister husband gets assassinated. She expects her sons to stand by her. But things are not all that smooth because the mother and the sons don’t see eye to eye at all. And thereafter comes the various twists and turns. Mouli Ganguly is the family’s daughter and Tisca Chopra and Shweta Salve are the two daughters-in-law.


Divya Seth’s comeback is all set to give a lot of competition to all primetime stars which includes the saas-bahu brigade and other leading ladies. Even Divya’s mother, Sushma Seth (a veteran herself), seen in Star’s new prime-time daily, Miilee, might get overshadowed.

Sarrkkar also gives a chance to Ronit Roy to break out of the mould. For some years now Ronit has been seen doing the same old repetitive stuff in KyunKi?Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi? and Kausautii Zindagii Kay. Though his decision has enraged Ektaa Kapoor (there was this big controversy lately of Ektaa getting offended because of Ronit’s bulk dates to Sarrkkar), it gives him a tremendous scope to grow as an actor.


As the story progresses, the roles of the four female characters will get even more significant in the serial. Though Mouli Ganguly, Tisca Chopra and Shweta Salve are established names in the world of television, Sarrkkar is expected to give them further mileage. Tisca had a small but interesting role in Astitva ? Ek Prem Kahaani and was seen in Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii (and the film Hyderabad Blues 2 also). Shweta was known for serials Lipstick and Kitty Party and Mouli had become famous with Kahin Kissi Roz, Saakshi and later Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam. Sarrkkar would probably give them a chance to better their skills. Because after a certain point the serial would become completely woman-centric.


But will Sarrkkar be as popular as Swabhimaan, which was also written by Shobhaa De and had set high standards for television programming 10 years ago? Interestingly, Swabhimaan had made Rohit Roy a household name. Speaking at the launch Shobhaa De had this to say ? “It is a script that is very close to my heart. I am glad that Zee TV has shown such confidence in the serial. I, in turn, am assured that the actors will do complete justice to the script and bring out its true essence.” Shobhaa had also written the earlier soap, Kitty Party, produced by the same production house, Siddhant CineVision.


There were debatable issues related to the serial from the time Sarrkkar took off with confidence. First, there were talks that the story was inspired by the Gandhi family, which did not go down well with many people. In a way the story seems to be inspired by the Gandhi family though it has not been acknowledged by either the producers or the channel. Divya Seth’s hairstyle looks very much like the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s.

Then, a little known writer accused Shobhaa De of plagiarism. The queen of soaps Ektaa Kapoor wasn’t too happy about her leading man Ronit Roy working outside her banner. Both sides have still not reached a decision and Ronit at the moment remains in both the camps.

In spite of a really good storyline and good performances the serial failed to receive the desired TRPs. The good old cat fights (the saas-bahu sagas) on the other channels continued to rule.


But the makers of such an ambitious project would hardly give up this way. New elements were brought in. A track inspired by the Marine Drive rape case, which shook Mumbai not very long ago, was introduced (the track involved Divya Seth’s onscreen daughter Mouli Ganguly who witnesses the rape of her friend by a cop).

Now the makers seem to have understood the pulse of the audience fully. It’s surprising but true that family dramas are far more appreciated. Insiders have revealed that Sarrkkar is slowly changing into a family drama. Although the producers, the channel and other related people continue to remain diplomatic, the obvious reason for the change is definitely the low TRPs. The producer of Sarrkkar, Manish Goswami, who heads Siddhant Cinevision, says, “After the culmination of the the Marine Drive track comes the track which would focus on the marriage of the characters of Ronit Roy and Shweta Salve.” So from now on the politics in the serial would obviously be less.


Rohit Roy, the lead actor, defends, “Sarrkkar was never a docudrama on Indian politics. It always meant to focus more on the politics of human relations.” Looking at the tastes of the general viewers, the change seems to be a wise decision on the part of the makers. The political dramas till now (Mahayagya, Pradhan Mantri, etc) have been mediocre. Hopefully now, with a correct mix of both (family drama and politics), Sarrkkar would have better luck.