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The Rise and Fall of Taarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashmah

2022-01-15

Taarak Mehta is a name that almost every Indian within a hundred meters of a TV connection should know. It is after all, one of the most beloved comedy TV shows in the Indian market. It is based on Duniya ne undha chashma (A world with inverted glasses), a weekly magazine column. In the beginning it did try to stay true to the source material like all TV shows always do, but gradually over the period of TEN long years, it has simmered down into a hot pile of monotonous episodes that are more predictable than the direction of a turtle’s movement.

Taarak mehta ka ooltah Chashma
Taarak mehta ka ooltah Chashma

After rewatching some initial episodes, the stark difference between the old TMKOC and the new one is painfully obvious. The old one can be described as a daily sitcom with heavy satirical undertones of Indian culture while the new one is.. well, I don’t know what it is. If you look at the early episodes, the show was self-aware. The characters were not monochromatic, they had their flaws and they were aware of them. Gokuldham “family” as it is known these days did not exist. Everyone had humane qualities. The neighbors were not all happy-go-luckys who were always ready to help each other no matter what. They were sometimes envious of each other, were condescending to others and had their own flaws and patterns that were not visibly fake. On the other hand, the show that airs today is a series of repetitive story arcs that lead nowhere and exist solely for the reason of making money off of the brand that is TMKOC. Everyone is loving and happy and caring and no one on this society has ever done anything remotely wrong at any point in their lives. It’s like everyone is forced to smile and be happy forever.

Looking at the state of TMKOC today, you could not fathom that the show would be capable of global political satire, and yet at one point in the early episodes, it provides stark commentary on the USA-Israel situation. But such is the bane and boon of television in India. It has to be catered to a particular taste of the audience, and at that point it stops becoming what it is and starts to become what it is expected to be. What it loses in spirit, it gains in TRP and income. When TMKOC first soared in popularity, celebrity placements were sparse. Every few weeks a new celeb would join the cast for an episode promoting their movie. It was a fun change of pace from the fantastic comedy that the show provided back in the day. But as time passed, the promotions became more frequent and thus the quality degraded.

Looking at it now, even the promotions are low in number, but the show goes on. It doesn’t matter if the jokes are dead or the characters are uninteresting anymore. THE.SHOW.STILL.GOES.ON. All the jokes are same, stereotypical nonsense that the writers have been spewing for the past few years. Even some actors have left the show but it still goes on. The question remains, is it still the ship of Theseus after all the parts are replaced?

In the end, I would suggest you all to rewatch the early days of the series and relive the show that stole the hearts of Indian audiences in its early days.

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