The End of Simplicity- On Doordarshan’s “Farmaan” and the state of Indian TV

This one is for my co-blog owner (DD is the only thing we both seem to agree on. I admit that i had no idea about the serial before she told me about it). I found this article on a blog while randomly surfing online

The End of Simplicty

– By Reema Moudgil

http://unboxedwriters.com/2012/08/the-end-of-simplicity/

farman

“After years of search on YouTube, I finally stumbled upon Farmaan, a Doordarshan serial directed by Lekh Tandon. Based on the Urdu book Alampanah by Rafia Amin, the serial starring Kanwaljit Singh and Deepika Deshpande was a restless memory that even two decades could not erase. And for good reason. The story telling was honest to the spine of the book as it brought to life Hyderabad’s Nawabi culture in the throes of change, financial challenges, the disintegration of tehzeeb and more, in real havelis and high-pillared corridors, and not fake, overdone sets, And amid all this was the love story of a bitterly dark Aazar Nawab (a dapper Kanwaljit Singh) and the delightfully spunky Aiman Shahab played by Deepika Deshpande who even without fake eyelashes, loud make up and gaudy sarees looked like the kind of a girl who could challenge and reform a rake.

***
The story had the intensity, tugs and hooks of a Mills & Boon romance. Only it was much better, layered as it was with the poetry, interesting dialects, the various colours of Urdu spoken by the aristocrats and those who worked for them and then there were the authentic locations, from forests to bungalows to havelis being converted into hotels to keep up with the times. Everything rang true and it flowed without investing any worry in whether the audience would take to the story, its pace, its zubaan or its characters, some of whom were unapologetically unglamorous. And yet, here we are, still remembering it all these years later because it did not dumb down or sell out its vision. Because it aspired to be a classic and became one.”….

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6 comments on “The End of Simplicity- On Doordarshan’s “Farmaan” and the state of Indian TV

  1. What an excellent write-up, thanks for finding this Saurabh. And I am happy to find someone who loved this apparently lesser known show as much as I did. As to the state of Indian TV – the lesser said the better. Sigh!

    And in the same spirit, here is something else we agree on – Kitu. With Aamir Khan! I don’t know if you have seen this, I had no idea!

  2. I am so glad that you liked it. See, how much do I care fro you 🙂 . On a serious note this part of the extract makes me really want to watch it (and read the novel as well, have not read a Hindi/Urdu novel in ages…I of course can’t read Urdu, I meant the translated work)-

    “The story telling was honest to the spine of the book as it brought to life Hyderabad’s Nawabi culture in the throes of change, financial challenges, the disintegration of tehzeeb and more, in real havelis and high-pillared corridors, and not fake, overdone sets..”-

    Sadly Lucknow too seems to be losing its tehzeeb. Another thing is the mention of Lekh Tandon. One of the great losses Bollywood suffered during the succeeding years was the complete absence of these relatively ‘minor auteurs’- someone like tandon and one of my favourites, Dulal Guha. I mean 70s is by far the greatest cinematic decade in India not only because of the absolute top-drawer films but also because of these low-key talents

    And i have definitely seen Holi (meant to write on it at some point of time…saw it 6-7 years back and need to revisit it. Ketan Mehta is one of my top 10 Indian filmmakers of all time. The Om Puri fan in you should definitely check out Mehta’s debut film Bhavni Bhavai in case you have not… it was available in a subtitled version in my school library). Part of an earlier comment on the film-

    “Talking about Wake Up Sid, I am reminded of Ketan Mehta’s excellent and criminally underappreciated Holi. A very fine coming-of-age drama, it has a very interesting trope regarding a fallen Banyan tree. Ashutosh Gowarikar, who had an important part in the film, used some of the same tropes in Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se- the talks between the kid-revolutionaries etc. Unsurprisingly it was written by one of the great luminaries of Marathi theatre, Mahesh Elkunchwar- 80’s were a great time for the collaboration between some fine parallel cinema directors like Nihalani and these stupendous Marathi playwrights and actors, Vijay Tendulkar, Nilu Phule, And while it is certainly not a Vijeta or an Udaan, it definitely is a very sharp film. Another very engaging film on a sim similar subject is the early-Prakash Jha’s (the latter day one has become a diffrent director altogether. What was Chakravyuh!) Raj Kiran starrer “Hip Hip Hurray”.

    And now from the sublime to the ridiculous- remember ‘Just Mohabbat’ – i would no go in the details but it was a pretty popular teen show. You may remember it for a certain Vatsal Seth. And the lead Jennifer Kotwal was not all that bad- a friend of mine once commented that ‘watching her momentarily turned him from a boy into a man”

  3. It’s definitely worth watching if you can find the time and a good quality copy, YT version sucks.
    I haven’t seen Holi or Bhavni Bhavai, will try to catch them. I have seen Hip Hip Hurray though, long time ago. Raj Kiran was another under rated actor.

  4. The simplicity, the language, the genuine efforts of the entire crew was visible throughout all three episodes. Sill in my memory after so many years.

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