Back in the era of Indian soap operas we all loved some good Kyun Keh Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki. During that era, we watched another Ekta Kapoor’s soap Kasauti Zindagi Ki. Kasauti was a modern day love story back in 2001 and was universally loved by both Indian and Pakistani drama viewers. I still remember how obsessed we were with the title song, Perna’s red dupattas, and Mr. Bajaj’s silk nightgowns, without actually having a clue about what is really going on in the story. I still remember watching all the soap operas like a crazy fan. Later, after realizing what they were actually all about, I think it was better than I did not understand any of it at the time…
After 8 years of successful runtime, with over 1400 episodes in 2008, Kasauti finally ended. But earlier this year, after a 10-year lapse, the show’s reboot was announced and the producers managed to rope in Shah Rukh Khan to promote the teasers. This mega promotion built up audience expectations who hoped to fall back in love with Ekta Kapoor soap operas. Now although Kasauti gave us some extraordinary storytelling in the past, I expected the script to be more modernized and more in tune with today’s era. This is what I have to say about the Kasauti remake:
Technically it’s better because, well, it’s 2018
A few aspects that changed are; better art and set direction. The sets aren’t too fake or cardboard-like anymore. The cinematography is up a notch and there are fewer ‘dhudhun dhudhun’ shots now, thankfully. The Makeup Department has upped its game now that densely -hick and prominent eyeliners are finally out of vogue. But Komolika’s bindis are still very much on point.
The show is a drag, … again
The original Kasauti was a drag and it used to take ages to introduce new characters or keep the story going at a reasonable pace. However, all the other soap operas at the time followed the same pace and the audience was used to watching a slow-paced storyline. But present-day digital media has left the audience with little patience. The show, however, still takes over a large chunk of the first episode to merely introduce the main characters. Wake up guys, this is NOT 2001 anymore!
It is a LITERAL remake, nothing new
The old Kasauti was set in 2001 so it was okay for Prema to wear fancy kurta shalwars to college and act all princess-like, but hello, fast forward to 2018 now and the age of swag is here! Being the cool kid is the only thing a college student aims for, nerdy is not an option here! From the introduction to Prema meeting Anurag in college, everything is EXACTLY the same. We could’ve just watched the old show if we wanted everything to be the same right?
Characters haven’t developed since 2001
The new-age Anurag and Prema are still the same and have not aged in the character world at all. They still look like they belong to a set in 2001. I was expecting the characters to have a more modern-feel and more importantly, develop more self-awareness rather than being their old, tacky soap opera self.
Music and costumes are still very loud
The typical Ekta Kapoor daily soaps have two very important things; loud music and even louder costumes. And assuming that must’ve changed in 2018 is a false hope, only because it hasn’t happened yet. Music still distracts you very much from whatever is happening in the scene and instead of giving a chance to the viewer to predict what happens next, the music already does the job for you. Costumes are uber-vibrant and loud with women wearing fancy saris at home. You will question their choices so much and even feel sorry for the pretend world characters are still stuck in.
I had zero intentions of re-entering the misery in the world of soap, but trying this one last time led me out of it for good. While digital media progress in making realistic and relatable stories, it’s a shame that some story-tellers just won’t step out of their comfort zone. My expectations from the characters of Kasauti living in a progressive world are doomed from the very first episode and I would prefer to believe that this happened in 2001.
My personal verdict is: The new Kasauti isn’t worth a watch, but even if you do, please let me know your reasons so perhaps I can understand a different perspective, and appreciate what I’m missing out on for sure!
Anum holds a Bachelors Degree in Media Arts from the University of Karachi, Pakistan. She passionately pursues a career in freelance film-making and content writing. Anum has worked with Ideas by Gul Ahmed, SIUT and Sukoon. She plans to launch her own web channel one day. Her Motto in life, in her own words: "Live in the moment, as it will pass, like everything else in life!"