Successful western shows invariably find a way into Indian dining rooms in desi avatar sooner or later. With Downton Abbey having found fan following in the nation, show makers ought to be planning a desi ‘tribute’ specially as the family, inheritance and succession theme of the show is akin to the content on Indian shows. So here let us look at what inspirations Indian show runners can adopt from Downtown Abbey.
India once had shows with realistic portrayal of the protagonist such as Hasratein, Banegi Apni Baat and Astitva, but since the ‘Ekta Kapoor Syndrome’ hit the screens, heroines have been mortal saints who would be the epitome of sacrifice and ‘sanskar’. In reality this is absurd . Every being is grey and these shades are what make our lives interesting. Just like Lady Mary Crawley who plots, plans, manipulates, teases, lusts, schemes, laughs, cries and gets cruel, selfish, insensitive, cold, insecure and kind as per the demand of the situation making her all the more relatable.
Take a cue from Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet Crawley. She is a practical elderly. In fact Violet’s character is the best written in the show and not to forget she speaks the best lines.
A story need not have a rich thakur torturing poor peasants and his arrogant daughter falling in love with a poor boy to show class equations. In society both classes usually coexist calmly although there exist an innate clash between them. As manipulations of the staff alter prospects of life and death at Downton (remember: her Ladyship’s soap?).
The plot never fails to surprise you with twists such as Sybil’s death or that of Matthew and the show goes on unlike Indian soap opera where the trailer is enough to tell you the plot as every show is horribly alike.
The show has beautifully shown life, death, class struggle, scandal, premarital sex, practical necessities of life, cultural clashes, drama, revenge, tragedy, comedy, politics all in the same frame.
There is no need to induce weird comedy characters in the script or go for crass humor, isn’t the subtle humor in daily life enough to make us laugh?
Downton Abbey has a solid background score but fortunately it is not tacky as its Indian counterparts, specially in the so called emotional scenes.
The narrative of the show has spread across 1912 to mid 1920s and much convincingly than Indian time leaps.
Do we really need plastic surgeries, returns after death and multiple marriages? Aren’t we mature enough to deal with deformity, death and affairs like the Crawleys?