[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

Chidambara Ragasiyam – The ONE serial

Fighting with Zee, SET for remote time, Sun TV in our home is hardly a winner. Niether of us are fans of the family dramas that rule the evening hours of the Indian channels. But one serial, Chidambara Ragasiyam has impressed me a whole lot. I like it so much that I have grown religious to watching it as I used to watch SpiderMan at 3 PM in DD in 1980s. Even when I forget everything, my mind clock exactly reminds me at 10pm on wednesday (Sun Tv in US is delayed a bit to account for west coast) and I get glued to the couch for a full 1/2 hour (Except for some annoying ads like kungumam, for which I switch to a basketball game or DiscoveryHD).

Marmadesam fame, Naga (naga001@hotmail.com) directs this thriller that clearly differs by miles from the rest of the Sun TV’s so called family soaps. And Naga has to be appreciated for being higly creative in all aspects when it is so easy for a director to get bogged down by the template-style serials that only care about good looking women who cry ostentatiously.

Naga, to start with, has done a great job penning a simple but spectacular story(and screenplay), an arresting thriller revolving around Nadi Josiyam and a handful of well-done charcters. Second, the individuals chosen for the roles were the odd ones out in the TVdom of chennai. They are not those you would see in every serial, eventually to confusing you to wonder, what serial you are really watching. Everyone one of the characters seem to be well carved and actors well chosen. They have done their part aptly if not extraordinarily. Thats more than enough for becoz the director has given your quality work in all aspects so you can overlook some subtle drawbacks.

Rehan scoring the music has done a neat but killer work by carefully recreating the theme “unknown” into the music. The grand theme music accentuated by strong percussion and skillfully rendered native sacred verses, is well conceived that it just pumps up your blood well before the serial starts. The title and credits designer must be whole heartedly appreciated. Excellent piece of work with finger prints design and some excellent origami work that begs you look into the screen while the credits roll. The sets and production design is also commendable more so becoz it blends well with the story line. A perfect 19the century rural home (with open-air mithams, that I remember seeing in my grandpa’s place in Thirukkannamangai) where Akash’s grandma lives to the more modern stylistically decoreated chennai house of YG Mahendran ( i dont remember his character’s name), the production design crew speak thru their sensible work. They knew exactly what they were doing. Unlike the more static shots of the other Sun TV soaps, here the camera is more a dynamic character that is so critical to the scenes. The wandering camera pumps more reality into the scenes and I always feel like I am watching all this happen live infront of me, while I swing above the characters freely in air.

The story is compelling that the audience gets engrossed in trying to solve the mystery themselves ( though they wont! ). The trick is also not to make it easy so you will keep coming abck to next serial to find out what the heck is going to happen. I consider myself to be a NOT a dumb viewer ( if not intelligent ) and every serial has only made me feel good that I chose to watch it and makes me want to come back next week. I think, in this world of chaotic TV media, such a feat is a great accompolishment.

Few other worthy programs for which I take the time to sit thru the whole half hour are …

‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ in Zee, great singing talents, accompolished judges and a wonderful host, Shaan. Sun TV screwed big time with Sabdha Swarangal where niether the host is engaging nor the guests are while the participants try to in vain. If I get to be in front of the TV when this is on, I sure watch SaReGaMaPa.

“Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai”, a reality-like interview-like talk show. But the host lets the guest and his/her friends/families speak, while he just skillfully engages them and the audience. Depending on who the guest is, I watch it.

Suki Sivam, on mornings in Sun TV. Its a fresh early morning treat to hear him talk about art of living. He is a man of wisdom but most important, a knack to explain some great prophecies in simplest of the terms. We wont leave with an empty hand for sure. More than the art of living, he is also a master of public speaking.

Solomon Pappaiah, on mornings in Sun TV. Who better than he do we need everyday to help us understand the inordinate verses of great Tamil classics & epcis on ‘How to live’. A perfect definition for ‘wit’ – ability to express in an ingeniously humorous manner.

While I like the above spots on TV, as of today, Chidambara Ragasiyam is the only one that drags me into it while others I watch more ad-hoc.

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