Anupama: The Rare Hindi GEC Success Story

26 Nov,2021

 

 

By Shailesh Kapoor

 

Shailesh KapoorAmid all that’s wrong with the Hindi GEC category (and readers to this column will know that I have a long list), there is an occasional spark that brings some joy. After being the most-loved Hindi GEC character on Ormax Characters India Loves for 39 consecutive months (from July 2018), Jethalal from Sony Sab’s Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah passed on the top rank to Anupama, the titular character from Star Plus’ 2020 launch.

 

Anupama, an adaptation of the Bangla show Sreemoyee on the same network, has been a runaway hit, achieving the unthinkable 4% rating mark in urban Hindi-speaking markets in recent months. In a category where a 2% rating is now considered an achievement (though Netflix’s Dhamaka tells you that you lose your job as a new anchor at 70% ratings, which is available live!), Anupama’s numbers have been exceptional. An average Anupama episode doesn’t rate much less than an IPL game, for example. And while IPL airs only 45 days a year, the show has managed to sustain this for several months, six days a week.

 

With its multitude of well-etched characters, Anupama is one of the few well-written Hindi GEC shows currently on air. The storytelling is in broad strokes, but the characters and the conflicts are consistently engaging, and there’s enough entertainment on offer too in what is essentially a high-voltage drama of late.

 

The casting and the performances are a notch above the operating level of the Hindi GEC category too. And the lead actress Rupali Ganguly has made the character very much her own, layering the portrayal with mannerisms that can possibly not be written on paper. It’s easy to guess that the show’s creative development process has managed to break away from the daily soap assembly line rut.

 

If an OTT show would have even been half as good as Anupama, the press and the internet would have gone ballistic singing its praises. But GEC content earns no such respect in recent years. Not that the channels, including Star Plus, have anyone else to blame but themselves. They continue to diss their own category on air, an inexplicable thing to do. “Don’t act like a daily soap mother-in-law” and “There’s always a daily soap running in your house” are just two examples of dialogues (translated from Hindi) that you will hear in some of the top HGEC shows, including Anupama. When a category decides it can write a joke on itself, and the joke does not even come across as a joke but is taken in all seriousness by the audience, you know there’s a lot wrong at so many levels.

 

Nevertheless, Anupama deserves even more love. It’s that rare sensible show that can potentially change some people’s perception about Hindi serials, only if it reached them. But the more important question is: Can there be more like it, or is Anupama a one-off? If there’s enough talent in the Hindi fiction television industry to pull off a show as interesting as Anupama, why are other shows so drab in comparison?

 

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