Feminism, TV Shows

Noob’s guide to writing characters for Indian TV Serials: Part 1

Let’s get real here. Writing for an Indian TV serial is a tough job and requires a LOT of skill, dragging one story line for years is no mean task. Do you realise how many grey cells go into thinking just how a tea cup falling would affect the lives of all the fifty people and their relatives?

And so, I am making a humble effort to reduce the burden of these obviously overworked people and trying to help a newbie writer wade through this difficult industry.

In this first blog of the series, I will focus on the character sketch of the main protagonist and her (because…have you ever seen a male protagonist on any show on mainstream channel?) better half.

When you first sit down to draw the character sketch of the protagonist couple, the MOST important thing to remember is that they should have 100% one dimensional personalities. They cannot have even a slightest shade of grey, they need to be just perfect model characters, who do just good and the best for everyone and their grandmothers.

So, let’s start with the female protagonist.

Your female protagonist at the start of the serial will be the unwed “good” girl.

You can be creative here and name her anything you like, as long as it is good, and “Indian”.

Her basic characteristic would be:

1) She would be “good”, do “good”, feel “good”, make everyone around  “good”, and any other way “good” can be used will be used by her.

2) She will listen and do everything her mother, father, uncle, aunty, grand mother, grand father, neighbour, distant relative, gardener, dog, cat, lizard or whomsoever she comes in contact with.

3) She may be studying, but obviously, her dreams will be of getting married, not getting a job. And if she is “modern”, she would dream to get a job so that she can do “good” for people surrounding her.

4) She will be well versed in skills like: cooking, shutting up, smiling and make up (Make up is the MOST imp, we will get to that in some time)

5) She would have ABSOLUTELY no male friend, and max. 2 female friends and she would not contact these two as soon as she is married.

Her Expressions:

1) Smile: Since she is a one dimensional character, her default look would be smile, when she is not crying, obviously.

2)  Crying: The tears would fall when she is happy, sad, confused, frustrated or just bored (for a better TRP, make sure the tears fall at least once every five minutes, at least)

3) Smiling shyly at the ground is better than looking at someone in the face while they are addressing to you post the marriage sequence.

4) Anger is one emotion that she NEVER feels..

5) Same goes for guilt, as she does no wrong only “good”.

Her Clothes:

1) Pre wedding sequence it would be a salwar kameez

2) Post wedding sequence it would be saree

3) Sleeveless outfits are for vamps, so obviously anything she wears will be with sleeves.

4) She would miraculously forget the concept of nightwear post marriage.

5) The length of her hair will be long, as everyone knows short hair= vamp..duh!

Her Makeup:

 

1) It is MOST important to have her makeup right, as it sets the tone of her character.

2) Pre wedding sequence, she’d have no to neutral makeup.

3) Post wedding sequence, become a full on “glamorista going red carpet”.

4) Her makeup should be fresh and put on at all times of the day and night.

5) Sleeping with 100 kg gold, 50kg makeup and 20 kg saree…LIKE A BOSS!

Scope of Creativity:

Once all this is fulfilled, you can show your creativity by changing the drape of her sari or the way she wears her hair…you see so much of such creativity on all serials!!

Now that we have the female lead in place (Coz..packaging regression in name of “women empowerment” is awesome!) lets get down to male lead.

Basic Characteristics:


1) Wears suits and goes to office

2) Listens to his Mommy

3) Is sometimes rude (read: borderline abusive) and sometimes loving to the female lead.

4) Comes home sometimes to eat, work on laptop and sleep.

Scope of Creativity:

Well…you could cast a fresh face.

Well…there you go!! And you have a foul proof main lead of your serials! Please remember THE MANTRA:

Part two will be uploaded soon!

If you enjoyed this, check out this video:

 

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1 thought on “Noob’s guide to writing characters for Indian TV Serials: Part 1”

  1. Nice write up. Think you covered everything. It’s a pity shows like this get so much TRP leaving little scope for good television.

    Like

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