The rules of the small screen have changed
No heavy makeup or blingy saris - TV gets real
Over-the-top makeup, blingy saris and heavy jewellery ruled the small screen for almost a decade, but not any more. With reality-based shows dominating the tube, the style is now subtle and subdued.
Komolika from Kasautii Zindagi Kay, Jigyasa from Kasam Se or Ramola Sikand of Kahin Kissi Roz were known for their stylised bindis, bright-coloured saris and heavy makeup.
But thanks to the new crop of shows - Sasural Genda Phool, Pavitra Rishta, Chhajje Chhajje Kaa Pyaar and Pardes Main Mila Koi Apna, which are about middle-class families and their lives - subdued and subtle dressing styles are becoming a trend on the idiot box.
Ravindra Gautam, director of TV show Pavitra Rishta, said: "The look of the characters is a collective effort of the channel, the producers and me. Since it's the story of a middle class family living in a chawl, I wanted everything to be simple and subtle and look real, even the sets.
"I had this thing in mind and it was supported by other creative people also. I wanted to give that realism and not make it over-the-top. We are happy that it has really worked among the masses."
Gautam said while deciding the makeup and clothes, he drew inspiration from his own family members.
"As for the make-up, we have seen how our mothers dress in real life. We usually see them wearing simple clothes, unkempt hair and hardly any makeup. I wanted to bring that realism. I didn't want to make it over-the-top. We are happy that it has really worked."
Saurabh Tiwari, head of programming (Fiction) of Imagine TV, says the tastes of people have changed and they are looking for content they can relate to.
"It's about the evolution of the medium. For six to seven years that kind of storytelling and characterisation ruled the industry and that was the defining thing until Balika Vadhu happened. Balika Vadhu changed the trend," he told IANS.
"People are now interested in seeing things which are more realistic and relatable and are happening around them. TV today is getting into the interiors of India and people are demanding stories which they can relate to," he added.
Long running serials like Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu thi and Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki were shot on palatial sets and female characters were shown doing household chores in heavily embroidered saris and jewellery and they used to hit the bed with all that and heavy makeup.
Actress Sushmita Mukherjee, popularly known for her role as Gangiya in Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo, says people don't want that kind of fantasy any more.
"At that time Ekta (Kapoor) was giving free to the masses what they were paying for in the halls for that kind of glamour in terms of looks, sets, jewellery and costumes," said Mukherjee, who has been the part of the industry for over 25 years.
"It has been 10 years now and people have become bored and they don't want that kind of fantasy any more because they want realism," added the actress who is still remembered for her role in Karamchand, in which she played a secretary to a detective, a role essayed by Pankaj Kapoor.
Smita Singh, popularly known as Punpunwali of Bhagyavidhata, sports heavy makeup and jewellery in the show. But she says she can't connect to her over-the-top look.
"I am really happy that everything is becoming normal and realistic. I could never find a connection. In real life, people don't wear such heavy makeup and jewellery and they don't sleep with them on. I also never put such heavy makeup off screen," she added.
Smita is also doing new TV show Luteri Dulhan and says she is happy that her character sports nothing but kajal (kohl).
Though realistic shows, real looking sets and people are becoming prominent on small screen, Urvashi Dholakia, who glamorised vamps, is quite proud that her style statement was impersonated by others.
"The image has changed drastically. When I started doing Komolika, it was over the top, very glamorised - it was in demand at that point of time and went down very well with the masses. But over the years the characters have become, I won't say subdued, but the look has certainly changed," she said.
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