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Kairee - Rishta Khatta Meetha

Kairee... Rishtha Khatta Meetha : By Vierendra Bhargav

Channel: COLORS

Serial Timing: MON to FRI - 7:00PM

Cast: Hema Singh, Jay Bhanushali,Roshini Reddy, Preeti Chaudhary, Sajni

Produced by: Shashi Mittal, Sumeet H Mittal

The Review

The Saas syndrome…

Kairee- Rishta Khatta Meetha

(Mon to Fri – 7:00 pm)

That Saas again… SOS - somebody please!

It seems that Television has been worsted and bested at the altar of that Gorgonian entity striding our small screens with utter impunity since eons now – we mean, the ‘SAAS’! Time was when Ekta Kapoor unleashed this she-wolf on us unsuspecting viewers. In the process, she drew loads of both popularity and flak (and heaps of moolah as well) for manufacturing the TV avatar of this malevolent presence.

Since then, it has been appearing in various garbs, milieus and strata on the small screen, but with one constant – its sadistic bent of mind and persona. And take it or leave it – it was there… it is there… and in all likelihood, will always be there!

Even though, of late, we’ve been living in denial!

That’s because when after almost a decade of bombarding us fiercely with Kitchen-politics, Saari-Sindoor-Mangalsootra syndromes and the nastiest bitching imaginable, those initial Saas-Bahu serials waned and wilted finally, everybody heaved a big sigh of relief…

The Saas-Sultanate is over!

But was it?

Despite the brouhaha over a Saas-free TV, the reality has been far different and even when the pigeon has shut its eyes to wish away the cat, she is still there, looming large all over it!

Just cast a glance around you and you would know that we are not talking through our hats. In serial after serial today, we are still witnessing the Saas stranglehold as the focal point of the story, an epitome of which is seen in the crater-eyed, stone-faced Saas, Santosh of ‘Diya Aur Baati Hum’. The long and short of it is – the ‘Saas’ is very much alive and kicking (literally)!

And amongst the more recent onslaughts of this species is in ‘Kairee’ at Colors.

It comes from the stables of Shashi & Sumeet Mittal of the same ‘Diya Aur Baati Hum’ fame, a serial, as we said, bursting at the seams because of its spiraling Saasdom.

In ‘Kairee’, instead of the fire-spitting Santosh of ‘Diya…’, they create Imarti Shrivastav (Hema Singh), whose honeyed stings are as vicious as the former’s acid tongue. For the hapless viewers, it’s like being from tossed a hawk to a slithering reptile.

And Imarti is a text-book of a TV Saas!

A staggeringly compulsive-obsessive case of megalomania, she can go to any extent in puppeteering people around her (Bahu’s in particular) and crushing the slightest note of dissidence.

Indeed, only ‘seeing is believing’ the way she goes about it – twisting fingers, trampling feet, pushing, shoving with frenzied ferocity… she does it all and more to her cowering, quaking daughters-in-law with sheer abandon.

Her house is an SS camp of the Nazis and she is its sole Supremo.

What is even more sinister, Imarti has been couched in comic hues and her barbs evoke laughter. When that happens, the regressive content of her quips goes down your throat even without your realising it.

But such characters as Imarti Devi can and do become patently unhealthy for the lesser evolved, impressionable minds in the audience, because while the Imarti’s of the TV-world are tickling your funny bones, they also are silently playing havoc with your mindsets, elbowing you into the abyss of orthodoxy. This is particularly true in a society like ours that is still finding it so hard to shake off the yoke of feudal, decadent values.

Coming to the other inhabitants of the house living under the thumb of Imarti Devi, there are those two Bahu’s, one of which, Kusum (Dipti Dhyani) moves around pathologically petrified at the slightest stir and stare of her Saas… and then there is another –Sajni, the ‘Laali-lip(i)stick’ (as Imarti Devi calls her… the phrase seems to be an obsession of Mittals’ as in ‘Diya…’ also the Saas calls her Bahu, Meenakshi (from whom Sajni has been Xeroxed, actually)– ‘Arree O, Laali-lip(i)stick’…). And the Kairee Laali-lip(i)stick (Roshini Reddy) is also a numbskull like her original. She just keeps fluttering her eyelids, pouting her lips and speaking in a squeaky, screechy tone (comedy?).

Then there is Anuj (Jay Bhanushali), the mamma’s boy protagonist of the serial. He is educated, in a good job and in love with Mala (Leena Jumani), who lives across the lane. The love quotient between the two goes up and up to a point of no return and they decide they are made for each other.

But Sonny proposes, Mamma disposes!

Imarti would have none of that and would never accept so padhi-likhi (and hence, self-willed) a Bahu in her household. Mala becomes anathema to Imarti and the latter tightens the noose around Anuj to tear him off from Mala. Anuj proves too much of a wimp to stand up to her and abandons Mala.

Not only this, the lily-livered doormat of a son even agrees to wed another girl, Ambi (Preeti Chaudhary) of his mother’s choice, while slipping into an eternal sulk and knowing full well that he would never ever give the girl her due as his life-partner.

Look closely and see what kind of a debased message such a protagonist sends across – that you can bring home a girl as your wife just to appease your Amma, like you would bring a Saari to her… That you can subject the poor girl to untold indignities during the rituals of the wedding, with each pore of your body oozing disdain at what is happening… That you can just decide, at your own sweet will, not to consummate the marriage and fling the girl in an eternal inferno of solitude?

Goodness grief! What right do you have to do that?

Even though leaving a loved one in the lurch is awfully unjust, one can still perhaps take it with, not a pinch, but pots of salt that okay, you cannot stand up to someone (read mother) manipulating your life, so you meekly succumb to her dictates by throwing your beloved on the scrap-heap. But spoiling another girl’s life by shackling her in such a waste of a marriage is downright heinous and cannot be condoned by any stretch of imagination.

Of course, the new bride Ambi would now go all out to win the husband back – but (and it’s a big, big B U T) why must she subjected to such a situation in the first place? It only corroborates the chauvinistic presumption that Man discards and Woman has to keep kow-towing in abject surrender, all the time trying to ‘Win’ his attention. It’s a travesty, a mockery of the institution of marriage – nay, of human relations, actually.

Perhaps, it could be said that we are getting a bit too unnecessarily hyper about what actually is just frivolous, mindless and done without so much of a deep, sombre thinking into it. It’s just a soap, after all – what’s the big deal? Well, the answer is – no! There is nothing ‘unnecessary’ about what we are saying. On the contrary, it is most necessary to point out that the sway & sweep of a popular medium like TV is frighteningly limitless and there are ‘n’ numbers of people who can get influenced by such protagonists and such mindsets.

So make no mistake about it – It is big deal!

No way can the regressive things like this be condoned – not even in the name of ‘just a soap’. Just for filling your coffers, you cannot shirk every responsibility off from what you are doing.

Coming to performances, Hema Singh as Imarti hams to glory, but all the same, she is the only reason that restrains you from turning off the set. She makes good use of her indisputable command over diction (she teaches diction at the National School of Drama) and hence, even though it is more theatrical than cinematic, her performance is the piece-de-resistance of this mostly insufferable fare.

Jay Bhanushali keeps smiling coyly and sulking gawkily - and if you insist on calling that ‘acting’ – well, each to his own, then. Leena just scowls and Roshini Shetty is more of an irritant rather than a comic relief!

However, Preeti Chaudhary as Ambi does show some promise. She is easy on the eye and seems to have a good repertoire of expressions. It’s early days, yet, but for all you know, she can end up being a scene-stealer.

The rest just go through their motions.

Directorially humdrum and technically the usual soap stuff, Kairee leaves a lot, lot and lot to be desired in terms of making even some semblance of compelling viewing.

This ‘Kairee’ (unripe mango) is too sour to savour!

- Vierendra Bhargav