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    With melodrama still ruling, we pick out  shows with a generous dose of glycerin

    When stand-up comedian and The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’s first season’s winner, Mumbai-based Sunil Pal had once asked the lead actress of TV soap about how she bagged the role. She replied unabashedly, “When I was modelling, I did an ad which required a lot of crying. Looking at that, the producers signed me.” With drama and copious tears as prerequisites for a successful soap, we pick three characters whose weeping rules everybody else’s, while Pal gives us the laughter through the tears.

    OTBLead6Doli Armaano ki
    How can a woman deal with an abusive husband and a sadistic mother-in-law? Going by Doli Armaano ki’s leading lady, non-stop tears is the best defense. Six months ago, it began with a cheerful wedding, but thanks to the husband and mother-in-law team Urmi has been kept suitably miserable. Hell breaks loose when Urmi (played by Neha Marda) is whipped by her husband because she gets back at him for setting her up with a fake lover (no, really!). Though she files a complaint against her husband, the plot diligently stays on the teary path. “That is not a serial. That’s a serial killer! Because this serial kills people by torturing them with all the excessive crying and negativity,” Pal says, about the show.  Zee TV. Monday to Friday. 10.30 pm

    Kash Main Teri Beti Na Hoti
    From episode 1, this Pakistani serial has been dark and depressing. The story is about a poor family with three kids who hardly get to eat their three meals and how the mother sells the oldest daughter to a rich household for a year in desperation. And yes, the husband is sick, her employers are cruel and everybody is starving. With such cleverly crafted desolation the character Zulekha has definitely earned a prime spot in our list of weepies. On this show, Pal quips, “When I watch this show, even my television gets so depressed that it says to me kash main teri TV na hoti.” On Zindagi. All week. 9.45 pm

    OTBLead1Ek Nayi Pehchaan
    In this Sony production, there is a twist. Unlike in most other soaps, it’s the mother-in-law who is the tragedy queen, instead of the bahu. Uneducated and insecure, the character of Sharda played by Poonam Dhillon is always sobbing. Either it’s because she has thumb-printed away some important documents to the rival or because her husband chooses to live with his first wife. Though made out to be a story about women’s empowerment, apparently tears are indeed the ultimate weap-on here. Pal concludes by saying, “These shows sell so much that even a senior actress like Poonam Dhillon resorted to doing such a melodrama. I think Indians just love watching women who can’t stop crying!” On Sony. Monday to Thursday at 8.30 pm

     — Sharmishta Maji

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