Saas bahu still sells on TV, and there is no doubt about it!! Creatives keep churning interesting saas-bahu sagas which speak of the tyrannical behaviour of the saas and their demure bahus. Sony TV’s Chhanchan (Optimystix) speaks about the to-be-modern bride Chhanchhan (Sanaya Irani) who will boldly oppose her irate and orthodox saas Uma Ben Borasagar (Supriya Pathak) whenever she does something wrong.
The first episode has already shown a glimpse of Chhanchhan’s bold nature when she protests against Uma Ben’s attitude of paying bribe to the temple priest, thus rightfully ignoring the irrational and traditional decorum that a younger person can’t speak up when an older person does something wrong. In an attempt not to displease the mainstream Hindi GEC viewers, Chhanchhan isn’t too modern for their sensibilities. In fact she is the ‘correct’ blend of modernity and traditionalism which is acceptable to the target viewers- you will see her listening to rock music, at the same time the girl can chant the Gayatri mantra as well.
It was refreshing to see Chhanchhan in jeans in the scene in which she was introduced. We have seen Sanaya Irani wearing traditional Indian wear in her former serial Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon? Her svelte frame looks great in Western wear and it is also nice to see heroines in jeans being accepted on TV. Let us hope that even after marriage Chhanchhan wears what she feels, instead of succumbing to the dress codes dictated by her matrimonial household.
Chhanchhan hanging out with her girl pals reminds us of Sony TV’s Amita ka Amit in a way. It is true that female bonding is a part and parcel of a young girl’s life, but the channel should focus more on not repeating the same thought process in more than one show.
Chhanchhan is a treat to the pet lover. The black cuddly dog of Sony TV’s Anamika has already won the hearts of viewers. Chhanchhan has not just one but four lovely dogs. These four legged furry creatures are at complete ease while appearing on screen with Sanaya who is very much a dog lover. It is really interesting that these dogs were selected after a rigorous audition from a bigger group of 160.
Chhanchhan is a refreshing break from the tear jerker soaps. It’s lively and blended with a good dose of humour. Having said this, the first episode did have some predictable moments. When Chhanchhan heaves a sigh whispering that nobody should have a saas like Uma Ben with whom she had an altercation at the temple, we can very well predict that she will turn out to be her future saas. Indeed she accosts this difficult lady again at her friend’s wedding. Well, the concept of the hero and heroine getting into cat and mouse fights before falling in love is a clichéd technique now!! The serial also attempts to explore the generation gap between the youth of today to the generation of their parents and grandparents. This has however been done on shows before.
The dialogue writer has done a good job especially while penning the words that emanate from the outspoken heroine Chhanchhan. The girl talk of the heroine and her friends is quite realistic. Most importantly, the melodrama element has not been added to dialogues. Let us hope that the screenplay isn’t too predictable though and doesn’t concentrate too much on the saas bahu tiffs.
The stylist has done quite a good job while doing the costume design for Sanaya who looks lovely in both jeans and the ‘readymade sarees’ (sarees which can be draped around oneself in a jiffy). The other characters also look good in their respective attires. The makeup artist once again has done a nice job in enhancing the beauty of the gorgeous Sanaya. The hairdresser makes her look very attractive especially when her hair is left open.
The fluffy dog Pooch Pooch looked very cute when decked up. A dog dressed up so sweetly can go on to win a prize at a dog show.
Coming to the background music, it surprised us though as to why the tune of the Christmas carol Deck the Halls With Boughs of Holly should be played while Sanaya was wearing a saree. The scene didn't have a Christmas theme at all. Maybe it was chosen because it is a brisk tune which went in sync with the fact that the heroine draped a saree in five seconds. The title song is sweet, brisk and lively. The alliteration in it adds to the musicality.
The cinematography we would say is good!! The early morning indoor scene did really seem as if the morning sunlight was filtering into the living room. The open air park scene with the dogs looked exactly like it had been shot soon after sunrise.
The art direction is like what we see on most Indian soaps. The urban apartment of the upper middle class household of Sanaya has been designed well. The girls’ bedrooms have been prettily decked- girls would love to have a bedroom like that.
Sanaya Irani gets to show a new side of herself to the viewers in Chhanchhan. She essays the role of a vivacious young girl quite well. Supriya Pathak acts just like the troublesome mothers-in-law you see on TV. In the forthcoming episodes we will find out as to how Farhan Khan, the male lead goes about donning his role.
Though, the serial did decide to experiment with Farhan which is a new face on TV; they are heavily banking on the immensely popular Sanaya Irani of Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon? fame to make the show a mega-hit. Indeed Sanaya’s ardent fan following may give the serial many additional numbers.
To sum up, Chhanchhan has started off quite well and will appeal to urban viewers. Though there is a concern that the serial might get a tad predictable in the coming plots, as lovers of Indian soaps, we can only hope that it will throw in some interesting surprises in the near future.