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Penchant for the past


K. BALACHANDER LEANS on his past works once too often. KB's repertoire of cinema and television creations offers examples aplenty to prove your point. Even in his heyday in cinema, if he made an "Arangetram' with a young woman being forced to bear the onus of a large family, he made an "Aval Oru Thodarkathai" on similar lines, though from a different perspective. And similar was the theme of "Manadhil Urudhi Vaendum." But the characters were so differently etched that you were mesmerised by the nuances of each.

Now the creator seems to transfer the same tendency to television too. "So "Sindhubhairavi" on the big screen was followed by "Sahana," a sequel, on the small. And now it is over, Min Bimbangal has begun its next mega, "Edhir Neechal" on Jaya TV.

Originally "Edhir Neechal" was K. Balachander's successful stage play that was made into a feature film. And it is the title of Min Bimbangal's latest soap. "But this has nothing to do with the film ... and why only us? There are so many who go in for familiar film titles. `Kalki' for example," says Kailasam of Min Bimbangal Productions. He is very appreciative of Jaya TV. "At every step we have the channel's co-operation ... and they are very particular about quality."

So what's new about this mega with an old title? "Just about everything. It's about five young women with high ideals. Each may come from a different social stratum but their goals are high and ideals lofty. They will definitely not be mere couch potatoes or kitchen queens ... "

As Kailasam goes on you feel relieved that at least one soap is seeing women beyond the ambit of the home and daily chores. But isn't shedding tears an indispensable part of serials? Kailasam cuts in with his response. "True ... so we have to strike a balance ... satisfy our advertisers, increase our viewer base and also try something different. We too have to do sob stuff. But in "Edhir Neechal" even amidst the constraints, we hope to make a point about the power of women."

The approach seems very youthful — the story revolves round five women. Vijayalakshmi, who made her debut in Tamil opposite Surya in the film "Friends," enters the tele-scene with "Edhir Neechal." She is very happy about the scope her role would offer, you are told. Divyadarshini, a known small screen face, is playing another significant part. Then you have Sindhu, Shruti and Shraddha doing other important roles. But here again you are reminded of the K. Balachander film, "Kalyana Agadhigal," which dealt with about five young women and their joys and sorrows. "Look ... television is going through a phase when the themes of the 1960s and 1970s seem popular. So certain themes of the past appeal to TV viewers," says Kailasam.

Rajendra Kumar and Ashwin Bhaskar are the directors of "Edhir ... " working under the over all supervision of KB.

"A lot of homework and hard work goes into every project. Sometimes things may not turn out as expected, but our conviction is strong and effort sincere," Kailasam adds. Meanwhile it is too early to judge "Edhir Neechal" or gauge its draw. Let's wait ... and of course, watch.

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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