Appreciating Indian Classical Music… And Indian TV Serials

What would happen if someone who has grown up on the exclusive diet of Bollywood music was taken to an Hindustani classical music concert?

Predictably, he would come back rather dissatisfied. Perhaps even angry at the money wasted on the concert.

“You can’t even understand the words they are uttering, there is so much aa-aa-aa going on,” he would fume. Although if he is the consumer of 21st century Bollywood music, probably not understanding the lyrics will not be his biggest complaint.

Still all that artistry of the alaap and the taan and catching ‘sam’ after a complex maneuver and the difficult dedh-gat and expert use of vivaadi and respecting the time of the day in the choice of the Raga would leave no impression whatsoever on him.

“I’m better off on YouTube,” he would declare and put on his fancy headphones.

Do you see what the problem is? Appreciating classical music needs you to have some training. Otherwise, you are like an illiterate person trying to appreciate a great work of literature which doesn’t even have any photos to entertain you.


It is the same with appreciating Indian TV serials. You need to be trained to see the nuances involved in the art.

If you are not trained to see those nuances, you would not know the difference between an Ekta Kapoor serial and a serial by a new production house that is making a “different” kind of show. You will fail to see that while a misunderstanding between the protagonists (that admittedly should not have occurred between two beautiful people who are endowed with the abilities of seeing, talking, hearing and presumably also a bit of thinking) goes on for two months in the Ekta Kapoor serials, while it is resolved within a week in the newly minted “different” serial.

You would also not appreciate the genius of being able to shoot knee-buckling romance scenes after romance scenes, day after day when actors in real life have long ceased to talk to each other. But they can’t move on because the show must go on until the TRPs start falling, whether or not you have a story.

Check this review of a show on First Post, for example. What is he complaining about? That the makers of a show called Reporters don’t seem to know anything about how a newsroom works. But you know what a trained Indian serial watcher would appreciate in the show? That there is no evil saas in there (not for the heroine anyway). And although the heroine’s hairdos are superbly intricate for a busy field reporter, she isn’t doing her job in a benarsi silk saree. You need to be trained on a heavy dose not only of the now outdated Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahut Thi, but also of the Balika-Vadhus, Saath Nibhana Saathiyas and Ye Rishta Kya Kahlata Hais of the world.

And if you are not willing to spend your time and effort in some difficult training, well that’s your choice. Classical music, or Indian serials, are not your cup of tea. You keep listening to the Bollywood songs or watching Mad Men.

This entry was posted in Time Pass by Jaya. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jaya

Jaya Jha is an entrepreneur, a techie, a writer and a poet. She was born and brought up in various towns of Bihar and Jharkhand. A graduate of IIT Kanpur and IIM Lucknow, she realized early on that the corporate world was not her cup of tea. In 2008, she started, one of the first print-on-demand publishing platform in India. She currently lives in Bangalore and divides her time between writing and working on her company's latest product InstaScribe ( with a vision to make it the best e-book creation tool. Blog: Twitter: @jayajha Facebook:

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