There are quite a few things which are common amongst all these media. But after watching myriad movies and TV serials, I have come to a conclusion that there are 10 things which every single horror serial episode has to have (as opposed to movies which might have all or none of them):
- Koi Nahi Bachega: In first five minutes, no human is safe.
- And... you are “it”: In next five minutes, if you hear “darawana” music and camera is sneaking onto somebody from the back, the person will be completely safe, though thoroughly terrified at suddenly getting a hand on her (it's normally *her*) shoulder.
- Jeans, bad; Punjabi Dresses, safe: The more outspoken, outgoing and modern a girl, the more the chances that she will be one of the first ones to get bumped off. By corollary, the more shy and reserved a girl, the more her chances of getting saved, by a boy, with whom she will walk in sunset (or “exit left”).
- Times, they are a-changin': The ghosts of earlier (and admittedly more traditional) era can be recognised by their white sarees and lighted candles, the ghosts have become more modern now and have a wider choice of wardrobe. More often than not, “Black” seems to be the colour of choice now-a-days.
- Ghosts like deserts (and deserted places): Rajasthan (with its palaces in desert and all) has more ghosts than all other states combined. By contrast, South Indian ghosts are either highly camera-shy, or need to be put on endangered species list.
- Architecturally and geographically speaking: People do continue to live in most deserted places (and live alone or with minimum of servants at that), miles from basic amenities, yet having everything they want. Every single ruin you see has to have a “living” or active ghost. On the other hand, even houses in most crowded part of city do have certain necessities like a hidden dungeon or two stashed below them.
- Jab gidad ki maut aati hai, tab woh akela ghumata hai: However “haunted” a place may be and however terrified the people may be, there is at least one boy or girl who will insist on wandering off alone.
- “Inspired by” not copied: If you recognise the start of any episode as an english ghost (or horror) story you have read earlier, be sure that by the end you will either be questioning your memory, or cursing the mish-mash that is served to you. (Just to give an example, in a recent episode which started very similar to “The Shining” had among other changes, an additional couple which could only have been included to add a pint or two more blood on the sets).
- The Law of Inverse Beauty: Death does not agree with complexion i.e. ghosts of even the most beautiful women or handsome men turn out to be horrible looking (which should keep the beauty-concious among us from becoming ghosts). But, the most horrible looking ghosts turn into most beautiful women or handsome men when needed.
- No publicity: Every single Bollywood-lover worth his/her salt knows that the police are always late. But in horror serials, the police are there only to cart off the bodies even if people insist on dropping dead every two minutes or so (and many times in the same family). Any police officer continuing the inquiry either comes late or becomes “late”. And in today's day and age of satellite channels (with channels insisting on telling news before it happens), the reporters are included only if most if not all of them are in line of death.
- The Great Eagle Has Spoken...
P.S. The article marks (or rather, marked) my debut on Desidabba.
Quote of The Day:
Imitation is the sincerest form of television.
- Fred Allen (1894 - 1956)
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