Marathi culture seems to be the latest funda for Indian Daily soaps and with five shows which boast of the Marathi flavour as their backdrop having been launched already, the trend seems to be going strong. Balaji leads the pack with three shows Bairi Piya, Pavitra Rishta and the recently launched Sarvagunna Sampanna while Laagi Tujhse Lagan on Colors and Jhansi ki Rani on Imagine TV form the remaining of the lot all sharing the Marathi backdrop as the basis for their plots.

Sarvagunna Sampanna can be credited to have taken off with a refreshing start where the story deals with the life of a lavni dancer and is set in Kolhapur. The lead character Swara, is a lavni dancer who performs at stage shows around small towns in Maharashtra but her profession makes it difficult for her to gain recognition in society. The plot progresses with the lead marrying into a reputed family named the Deshmukhs only to find that her profession does not allow her to gain acceptance as the daughter- in-law of a respectable family.

And though the story begins with an innovative angle Sarvagunna Sampanna also has a pretty strong chance of loosing that Marathi touch as the show progresses and also of loosing out on the original Marathi ethos as has been the case in some of the shows of the same lot especially after the leads entry into family life.

Bairi Piya was one such show which started out with the plight of Marathi farmers as its basic plot but progressed on to join the bandwagon of the same old bland ‘Saas Bahu’ soaps. The show set out with the villages of Maharashtra as the basic setting and the life of Marathi farmers being projected effectively. But the plot slowly moved on to become monotonous and simultaneously also lost the Marathi charm which led to its loosing all those things that set itself apart from the other soaps on television .

Pavitra Rishta can be credited for the fact that the audiences have not been disappointed and the show has not lost the Marathi touch which was one of the unique features of the show from the time of its launch. The show still has middle class Marathi families providing the base for the plot and the upheavals in the life of the simple Marathi girl Archana has managed to catch the interest of audiences.

Colors show Laagi Tujhse Lagan seems to have lost the Marathi charm it had set out with and apart from the use of a couple of Marathi words occasionally Laagi Tujhse Lagan too has joined the monotonous ‘daily soap’ lot.

Imagine Tv’s Jhansi ki Rani is one strong contender which has used the rustic appeal of Marathi culture to its advantage and has therefore set itself apart not only from the bandwagon of repetitive daily soaps but also from those that share the Marathi touch. The use of not just the Marathi language or culture but the ancient Maratha culture as its basis has given the show a refreshing look. And though the racy story line and interesting twists has given the show its appeal the Maratha touch totally enhances the theme, setting the show a class apart.

What remains to be seen is if this trend of Marathi backdrops for daily soaps proves to be a successful attempt and catches the fancies of the audiences for long or will it simply fade out as a short term experiment.

-Rahat Khan/ Sampurn


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