Worst of 2016: Indian TV’s version of Jungle Book with ichadhari fly, buffalo and naagin

The single biggest reason for this ichadhari takeover of idiot box is Ekta Kapoor and her show Naagin.

There is something about Indian television which brings out the animal in the scriptwriter, directors, actors and whoever thinks up those monstrosities that desi audience calls TV shows. At the last count, we had an ichadhari (shape shifting) makkhi, buffalo, snakes (old hat those), peacock, tiger, honey bee and a buffalo. For those looking for silver lining, these shape-shifters have not replaced murderous mothers-in-law and suicidal daughters-in-law (or was it the other way round?), they co-habit with them.

You would think this would have led to the audience preferring death over death due to boredom, but no sir, these characters are part of TRP generators. A firm believer of if you can’t beat them than join them, we took some of the stuff the said directors, scriptwriters etc must be smoking and watched the shows. Here’s what the ichadharis have been up to lately and going by their success, we believe their ranks are going to swell. We are looking for more of that stuff.

The single biggest reason for this ichadhari takeover of idiot box is Ekta Kapoor (well girl, when are you gona stop?) and her show Naagin. Now in its second season, the show’s lead is a shape-shifting serpent who, has for company, a shape-shifting bee and a shape-shifting bull. In the last season, she had an ichadhari nevla as well. It has terrible VFX and actors have terrible make-up too, just in case you are wondering.

Here is a list of some of television’s jungle book (apologies Bagheera, Baloo and Co) characters who became a trend on Indian television in 2016.

1. Icchadhari Naagin

While a normal human being will end up dying or having broken legs and arms after falling off from a cliff but in Indian shows, a person ends up being a snake. In season 2 of Ekta Kapoor’s supernatural drama Nagin, Shivangi (played by Mouni Roy) turns into a snake after falling off from a cliff while she attempted suicide. After she turns into an ichadhari snake, the head of snakes (Shesh Naag) informs Shivangi that she has to avenge the death of her mother, Shivanya and also protect the Naagmani.

2. Icchadhari Fly

Beware of any self-styled godman and do not invite his rage because you never know you might be hovering over sweets and flowers like a fly because of the godman’s curse. No, we are not supporting any supersitious beliefs. This is the thought of the creative directors of Sasural Simar Ka. It so happens that in an attempt to save an angel who is about to die in her house, the show’s protagonist Simar irks a rishi who in turn curse her and turns her into a fly. We did not know what happened next because after this, we lost our will to live.

3. Icchadhari Buffalo

Who says television only copies from Bollywood or Hollywood. They too have a creative vision. You may accuse them of stealing the concept of Ichadhari fly from the Telugu movie Eega and Ichadhaari Nagin from Bollywood flicks Nagina and Nagin but we bet you, Ichadhaari Buffalo is an entirely original idea. In Ekta Kapoor’s Naagin 2, a man throws a chain on the ground and the chain transforms into half human and half buffalo.

4. Icchadhari Peacock

After buzzing into the ears of her family members as a fly, Simar of Sasural Simar Ka visited heaven to fight an Ichadhaari peacock to get back her husband’s life.

5. Tiger

The musical love story Yeh Kahan Aa Gaye Hum turns into a horror show when the secret of its male protagonist being a tiger on several days of the year unfolds. It so happens that Rahul’s (Karan Kundra) father goes to a temple near a forest and by mistake kills a ‘holy’ tiger. The tiger decides to avenge his death. Thus, Rahul’s soul gets possessed by the soul of that tiger because of which he acts like a tiger on several days.

6. Gorilla

Just when you thought that you have had enough of animals on television, here comes a love triangle involving a male, a female and a gorilla in Colors Thapki Pyar Ki. The lead protagonist of the show, Thapki is saved by gorilla whom she brings home. From years we have seen Indian television shows’ kindness towards homeless as they give shelter to them without even knowing who the person is. But we could have never imagined somebody giving shelter to a mammoth gorilla. The real twist comes when this Gorilla falls in love with Thapki. We never knew there is a dearth of male actors to romance TV’s leading ladies that the makers have to switch to animals.

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