about writing and other such passionate matters

Archive for the tag “Zee TV”

Gandhi, The Movie – Then and Now

When I saw that Zee Classic was showing Gandhi, the iconic movie of 1982, I was thrilled because who doesn’t love the classics from years past. 

But it also brought to mind an interesting interaction I had with my son, about music.

A few days ago, I was engrossed in editing a particularly difficult scene of my novel (WIP) when a few familiar lyrics from long-ago fell into my ears. After the song ended, I told my son, who was watching TV, that I was reminded of Fast Car by Tracy Chapman. He replied that it was the same song. But it isn’t Tracy Chapman’s voice, I insisted. That was a classic.

With a laugh, he said it was a cover of Fast Car by Jonas Blue. I made a face and commented that it was certainly no patch on the original. He begged to differ – he preferred the modern, faster version.

I was faithful to the original and keeping aside the WIP,  I searched for all Tracy Chapman songs on YouTube and spent a few nostalgic, soul-warming hours with her.

Which brings us to Bollywood songs!

The number of contemporary songs that pierce the utter mundanity  of life and uplift it with their memorable lyrics, can be counted on the fingers of one hand. And so it has become an acceptable trend to morph the unforgettable songs of yesteryears into today’s feet-tappers. These are successful just because of the exceptional quality of those songs of yore.

And then my mind drifted to the classic films of Bollywood. And this being the season of Independence Day, I realised TV viewers were in for a goody treat of iconic movies from an era that made us movie-crazyfans.

‘Woh Zamaana Kare Deewana’ by Zee Classic

Zee Classic has, in fact, rightly named its ‘Woh Zamaana Kare Deewana’ section which showcases classics as well as new age movies along with their creators. In this endeavour the very first movie it premieres in celebration of India’s 70th Independence Day is the iconic ‘Gandhi’, this Saturday, on 13th August at 8 PM in ‘India’s Finest Films’ and on Monday, 15th August at 9:30 AM.

This is the story of a barrister from India who responded to racial discrimination in South Africa with Satyagraha and used the same method of Peaceful Agitation  in India to drive out the British and bring the British Empire to its knees. He also proved that simplicity and the power of collectivism can bring about a massive change.

Yes, this is the story of Mahatma Gandhi, whose life inspires us even today in our fight against injustices. And in that vein every time I watch the movie I am in tears and feel enriched with motivation to be a better person. As Gandhiji said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

My mind again speeds ahead (or rather, to the past) and wonders how different it would be if the movie was made today:

Come, let’s see how it would be if Gandhi was made in 2016:



1982 : Sir Richard Attenborough had the ability and talent to accommodate a person’s entire lifespan in a couple of hours. He did a phenomenal job right from the research to bringing alive the legacy of the father of our nation on big screen.

2016: AshutoshGowarikar known for his love for historical films and bringing lost eras to life with Lagaan, Jodha Akbar and Swadesh, is undoubtedly our choice to direct this film today.

Mahatma Gandhi


1982: Ben Kingsley played the role of Mahatma Gandhi in the movie.

2016: Mr. Perfectionist Aamir Khan is the man for the job. Known for his chameleon skills to adapt to various roles and characters combined with his attention to detail, Aamir Khan should play the role of our beloved Bapu.

Kasturba Gandhi


1982: Rohini Hattangadi, beautifully portrayed Kasturba Gandhi, wife of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

2016: Kajol, one of India’s most acclaimed actresses can easily pull off the role of Baa.

General Dyer

gen dwyer

1982: Edward Fox is etched in our minds as the dreadful and shrewd General Dyer who was hated by all for his infamous JallianwalaBagh massacre.

2016: Tom Alter with his international looks and versatile talent can be General Dyer in ‘Gandhi’.

Jawahar Lal Nehru


1982: Roshan Seth played the role of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to perfection. 

2016: The Nawab of Bollywood, Saif Ali Khan wins hands down with his charming royal looks.

Sardar Patel

sardar patel

1982:Saeed Jaffery pulled off the role of The Iron Man of India, Sardar Patel flawlessly.

2016: PareshRawal’s known for his diverse character roles makes him our choice to play the part.

Mohammad Ali Jinnah


1982:AlyquePadamsee brought to life an important historic figure, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, popularly known as the father of Pakistan in history

2016: Irrfan Khan, a global Indian will surely cut ice in this role.

Lord Mountbatten

lord mountbatten.jpg

1982: Peter Harlowe played the part with the sternness of a bureaucrat and an attitude on his face.

2016:The suave, Rajat Kapoor has our vote to play the last viceroy of the British Indian Empire.

This is a story that needs to be told again and again, down the ages, because this is an important story of India’s Independence and we and the generations to come will be inspired by this to understand freedom and what it really means and thus value it.

 Tune-in to Zee Classic to watch Richard Attenborough directed ‘Gandhi’ on this Saturday, 13th August at 8 PM and Monday, 15th August at 9:30 AM





Zen and the Art of watching TeeVee

Indian television serials can test your patience. The other day I was watching one that has been on air since more than a year. The beginning episodes were interesting because it had an unusual storyline. Underlying it were the standard MIL-DIL face-offs that characterize most of the serials today. It had been a long time since I’d seen any of the episodes but I noticed that the character of the Mother-in-law (MIL) was as antagonistic towards that of the Daughter-in-law (DIL) as she was when the serial took off on air.

This was surprising because quite a few episodes had been devoted to the tele-family comprising of the FIL, MIL, the son and the DIL travelling together to a foreign country for participating in a cooking competition. Could one be faulted for expecting that such proximity would have led to thawing of the MIL’s antagonism towards the DIL especially since the DIL, being educated, had helped to make the trip successful? Apparently, such things do not happen in Indian serials.

So, here I am, watching this episode in which the archetypal cunning Elder DIL is provoking the MIL against the other DIL (the educated one – these serials can get complicated that way).

This is how the scene plays out:

The camera zooms in on the cunning E-DIL who mouths her dialogues with the appropriate twitching of eyebrows and curling of lips and once the dialogues are done, the camera focuses one by one on all the other characters present in that scene. First on the MIL, then the FIL, followed by the DIL, then the E-DIL’s husband and a couple of others that seemed to have joined the cast since I last watched this serial.

The camera then focuses again on the MIL and then goes back to the E-DIL’s face. This happens twice before the E-DIL speaks a few more lines of dialogue and then it is the MIL’s turn to talk. And during the camera-focusses, one should not be surprised to note that the expressions on the faces are completely unrelated to the happenings in that scene. This interplay of dialogues and the intense focus on the characters’ faces continues unabated and at the end of the episode not much action has taken place. Ah, but that’s not completely true. The viewers might have pulled their hair out in frustration.

Contrast this with some other serials such as Homeland. Or Mad Men. One just cannot get enough of them (though Mad Men is somewhat beginning to grate). Snappy dialogues, snappier expressions, not a second of airtime is unaccounted for. The viewer gets drawn, willingly, into the action and lets it go, oh so very unwillingly, when the time is up, on tenterhooks, in anticipation of the next episode.

Does this remind you of writing? Of ‘clunky’ prose and unnecessary backstory when what the reader actually wants is some action. Action, which might not be actually physical, but anything that takes the story forward. Swiftly. Interestingly.


Zee TV’s ‘Connected Hum Tum’ promises to be a reality show with a difference, in which six women have dared to bare all (emotionally) in front of the nation. It begins tonight.

And continuing with all things TeeVee, here’s wishing a very Happy Birthday to Alan Taylor who wrote for the HBO series ‘Deadwood’.

What has been your TeeVee experience?

Post Navigation