Lockdown saw return of the old guard as far as tv soaps are concerned. ‘Metti Oli’ made one more comeback to our homes and is concurrently doing two channels easily even after all these years. How can it be possible to retain such a rapt audience interest during repeat telecasts?
Well, for these very simple and at the same time thought-provoking reasons:
*For truly middle class values.
*No glamorous or cosmetic content
*Down to earth portrayal of characters, characterization and scene settings
*No erosion or watering down of morality or ethics of the community in general
*No graphic or violence content
*No vulgar content
*Family oriented underscoring relationships and family and old world values
*No hidden agenda underlying the script and screenplay
*Honest portrayal of circumstances without exaggeration
*No villainification of family members deliberately pitted against each other
*No hero worship of a singular character
*Every character is fallible and no character is too perfect
*No spite or vengeance or intense hatred or malice beyond acceptable standards
*No sister-in-law planning to poison the new bride
*No brother-in-law rooting for his sister-in-law
*No daughter-in-law hatching plot to oust her mother-in-law
*No mother-in-law pining to strangulate her daughter-in-law
*No maligning of characters or character assassination
*No kids talking too much for their age
*No customary prison scene
*No alcohol consuming or smoking character
*No extra marital affairs
*No clandestine affairs
*No home breakers
*No brother-in-law scheming to usurp family business
*No plotting of murders in temple precincts
*No sense of hopelessness
*New hope even in dire situations
*No overt negativity
*Relatable to our very own lives and environment
*Nothing flashy or fancy
*More forgiving, more generous
*Dignity and earnestness in character portrayal
*Immense patience and tolerance and goodwill in/of characters
*Over-all feel-good factor
*Wholesome family entertainment that you can watch with family
*You watch this serial for the story content not for the glamour of characters or their clothes.
*No single hero/villain. Equal importance to all role players.
*Joint families crux of the story. Joint families are fast disappearing in India replaced by nuclear families.
*Life humbles characters. Life overwhelms characters who swallow pride and shame frame to frame to keep the family in-tact. Which is what matters over anything and everything. Family stays united at any cost.
I hope there is a lot to learn from this very decent and grounded and low-cost/budget production. You don’t need to invent conspiracies to cheat and kill and dupe and shortchange to have a roaring audience. I don’t watch soaps at all but years back, Metti Oli on its very first run was compulsive enough for me to let down my guard and watch some episodes from midway. Recently I caught my mother-in-law still hanging on to the old do over others. I leaned over from my dining to take a peek at what was playing in the tv screen and found that Metti Oli is still charming and appealing to my heart. This is the secret to success. It is easy to warm hearts without damaging anyone or pouring poison into someone. Let each one of us remind ourselves of this. We can take a leaf or two out of Metti Oli even for our very personal life.