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No "Mettioli" after June

Despite the high TRPs, "Mettioli", the famed mega serial, will soon come to an end



Ordinary, yet extraordinary: Members of the "Mettioli" family

One of the longest running mega serials on Tamil television "Mettioli" (Sun TV 9 p.m. to 9.30 p.m., Monday to Friday) will be wound up by the first week of June. For the last two years, "Mettioli" has been constantly topping the charts with an awesome TRP that fluctuated between 29 and 32 and a spot rate (10 seconds) that hovered around Rs. 25,000. When many serials do not have sufficient ads, "Mettioli" ads are sold out one month in advance!

"Mettioli" redefined Tamil serials. It concentrated more on storytelling than on big stars, lavish sets and expensive wardrobe. The characters struck a chord with the audience. The story was about the trials and tribulations that the characters in a joint family went through. The serial had an old-fashioned narration reminiscent of the 1960s tearjerkers, which depicted the triumphs of traditional values. Rajamma (Shanthi Williams), the traditional mother in the family, was glorified by director Thirumurugan. The message of "Mettioli" was that egoistic individuals are the cause of conflicts in joint families.

Shanti, Chetan, Gayathri, Viswa and director Thirumurugan himself along with new faces played their roles with spontaneity and conviction. Says Thirumurugan: "All the characters you see in `Mettioli' are caricatures of real people we come across in our daily life." Though critics say "Mettioli" is down market with tacky sets and characters with ordinary looks, Thirumurugan is quick to reply: "Where have you seen people wearing make-up at home? And most of the middle class people whom I know live in houses similar to the ones you see in `Mettioli' and that's one of the reasons why it clicked."

But what has shocked the television world is the sudden decision of Thirumurugan to wind up the serial, which could have easily been stretched for one more year. Says Thirumurugan: "I don't want the serial to drag on. After the five-year leap in the story which took place last week, we want `Mettioli' to reach a logical end. I feel it is better to stop when the TRPs are high rather than do it after people start losing interest in it."

Siddique of Cinetimes, producer of the serial, says: "A lot of people advised me to continue with the serial by introducing new characters but my director was against it. Anyway Thirumurugan will be starting work on our next serial on the same channel in the same time slot immediately after `Mettioli' ends."

The five-year leap in the story has made it even more interesting. Adds Thirumurugan: "Every family serial needs constant changes to help the storyline move forward. If you remain in a time warp, the viewers will lose interest." And hold on, the ending too will be "innovative", according to the director.

SREEDHAR PILLAI

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