HomeEntertainmentTelevision‘Dayans’ & ‘Chudails’ Sustain TV Universe!

‘Dayans’ & ‘Chudails’ Sustain TV Universe!


‘Dayans’ & ‘Chudails’ Sustain TV Universe!

MUMBAI, (IANS) – In the forever-changing canvas of television, the fascination of viewers with mystical creatures such as ‘Naagins’, ‘Chudails’ and ‘Daayans’ is timeless, and it is fed continually by serials that keep climbing up popularity charts.

Mrinal Jha, the writer of ‘Naagin’, the popular supernatural series based on shape-shifting serpents, noted that these stories work because of their very high reliability — all of us, irrespective of where we live or our station in life, have grown up listening to stories about these characters.

This fascination cuts across geographical boundaries and has fed such big cultural moments such as the explosion of Harry Potter mania or the comeback of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’ universe.

Closer home, ‘Naagin’, which first aired in 2015, has kept coming back for six seasons and seen its lead actresses — notably Mouni Roy, Surbhi Jyoti, Nia Sharma, and Tejasswi Prakash — attain instant celebrity status.

It wasn’t just a coincidence that the most successful Bollywood film immediately after the Covid lockdown was ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2’ — and a third addition to the series is on the cards.

Jha said: “I have always been fascinated by the supernatural genre and one of the things that has struck me is how it is so hugely popular around the world, which the success of the ‘Twilight’ series and vampire films/TV serials have amply demonstrated. Today, there are so many variants of the supernatural genre — it hasn’t happened in a long time.”

Talking specifically about the cult of ‘naagins’, ‘dayans’, ‘pisachinis’, Jha said: “We have our own folklore, we have our ‘daayans’ and ‘chudails’ and their appeal is pan-Indian. These stories have been around for a long time, we did not have to do much with them. Our idea was to explore this world and then create a universe around it. That is what I think happened with ‘Naagin’ when we explored the folk tales around the theme.”

Delving into her supernatural show ‘Nazar’, with Monalisa in the lead role of a 251-year-old ‘daayan’ Mohana, Jha said: “If you see ‘Nazar’, ‘Divya Drishti’ or ‘Pishachini’, all of these are explorations of the supernatural world. That’s the idea, you create a universe and these characters become fantastical, and then you can create more and more spinoffs from them.”

‘Divya Drishti’, with Sana Sayyad, and Nyra Banarjee in the lead roles, revolved around a ‘pishaachini’. The show ran from 2019 to 2020.

Speaking about the relatability factor, Jha said, “These stories are heard in the smallest of the villages across India. So, the relatability is high. When I started working on ‘Nazar’, I spoke to several people from villages and places like that, and everyone had heard about a ‘daayan’, or ‘chudail’, or ‘pishaachini’. Everyone was aware of some story or the other.”

Continuing the theme, Jha said: “I think the connection was immediate. We borrowed a lot of beliefs from there and then expanded on them. I think one of the reasons why this genre clicked was because these stories are a part of our culture, and all of us in our childhood have heard some story or the other about these fantastical creatures. The interest in watching stories about them playing out on television was obvious.”

If something is still lacking in this genre, according to Jha, it is that it has still not been scaled up. “Our characters remain within the confines of television sets in people’s homes. I think we should take it to the next level, where they are involved in far bigger things and larger numbers of people.”

Jha concluded by saying: “For example a ‘daayan’ gets into politics, then what happens. I think that’s the next league of stories we should look at when we expand the genre of the supernatural and the fantastical.”

Giving an actor’s perspective, Naqiyah Haji, who plays the character of Nikki in the wedding fantasy thriller ‘Shaitani Rasmein’, welcomed the advent of supernatural shows on Indian television.

Haji told IANS that as a performer “you can go all out, make it exciting, even crazy”. She said: “If it’s so much fun to perform or create, it would be just as enjoyable to watch. I believe the arrival of supernatural shows is really great for Indian television.”

The actress pointed out that with VFX (visual effects) technology getting more advanced, the supernatural genre is “growing day by day” and the “creativity is going crazy”.

Referring to the global popularity of shows like ‘Wednesday’ and ‘Vampire Diaries’, Haji said the genre was “really growing internationally” and people were just loving it. “I hope we really grow into it,” she added.

Even as memories of the sixth season of ‘Naagin’, which featured Tejasswi Prakash in the lead, are still fresh in the minds of people, Nia Sharma is set to return as a 200-year-old ‘chudail’ in the upcoming Colors show ‘Suhaagan Chudail’.

Nia’s character has been gathering special skills known as the ‘solah shringar’ that will make her incredibly powerful. Once she acquires the 16th power, which is known as ‘sindoor’, she will kill the 16th man to gain that power.

It will be interesting to see whether the ‘chudail’ will be able to get to the 16th ‘shringar’. And it is this curiosity that will keep the supernatural factory of Jha producing more and more fantasies of people with an insatiable appetite for such stories.

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