I dedicated the last 7-8 months of my television viewing to just one show, Ishti Kutum, a Bengali mega serial on Star Jalsha.My passion and indulgence is not unknown among friends and family, when I fall for something there is no looking back, or front or above or below, its just one deep dive I take and submerge myself completely for an indefinite period of time. And when I come out, I am all dry.
For Ishti Kutum, the same passion was and is at work, it ain’t just following the show every weekdays at 6.30, there is the Facebook fan page adda, the commenting upon story update frame by frame, analyzing that day’s each dialogue, each scene, each and every body movement of the actor Rrishii Kaushik who plays Archisman Mukherjee. In addition to the IK Fan page Adda, there is the responsibility of updating the Archisman Fan Page with analysis of Archi’s actions and roles of the given episode, ‘Archi’s Dialogue of the Day’ and other features.
I have been laughed at and ridiculed by friends and family for obsessing about Archisman, and for wasting my valuable time on watching a soap opera, a Bengali one at that. Some friends fell out of relationship when I wrote this as my FB status “To my intellectual cultured English speaking American TV watching, English and World Film watching friends who look at me dismissively and say, “What’s with you and Ishti Kutum, some faltu tv soap opera” – Please don’t talk about things you don’t know. Please show me some respect, if I am passionate about something there must be a good reason.”
At one point I started calling myself the modern day Meera Bai for Archi and some religious people with fragile sentiments took offence, at another time I compared Archi with Lord Shiva and some more religious people with weaker sentiments took more offence.
To top it all, I even cancelled a potential date because the man in question couldn’t see the reasons why Archi is the ultimate man in my eyes, and also he refused to give it a try to be even 10% of what Archi is in order to woo me. On the many dates that were not cancelled, I couldn’t stop thinking about Archi and how he’d do what he’d do at a given situation, how he’d have held, how he’d have kissed, I realized if you know what exactly you want, you can’t settle at anything else. Even though what you want is fictitious. It was at this precise moment that I resonated what Meera Bai must have felt for Krishna. I can see more religious fainting right now.
So you see, I’ve paid quite a cost for the love of this show. BUT all my toils paid off at The Star Jalsha Parivaar Awards 2013 (SJPA 2013), where Ishti Kutum was a runaway success with the awards. 9 out of the 17 mainstream awards were won by Ishti Kutum including the Best Show (Sera Parivaar). Rrishii Kaushik and Ronita Das posing as Archi and Baha were the co-host of the show along with regular host Kanchan Mallik. Archi Baha had several acts together on the stage, Baha gave a solo performance on the title track of Ishti Kutum the famous santhali song, Rrishii gave two unique dance performances and they both won two awards each for Best Son, Best Daughter, Best Husband, Best Wife.
We Ishti Kutum fans were ecstatic, the audience had given its verdict, and we are vindicated for so many months we didn’t waste our love and passion on a show less ordinary, we are with the best of the Bengali entertainment, we are with Archi Baha and Ishti Kutum. Some jealous losers rejoiced their sole hope of survival, the fact that Archi Baha didn’t win the Best Couple (Sera Juti) award. Who got the said award…er who cares? Archi Baha encompassed the whole of The Star Jalsha Parivaar Awards 2013 (SJPA 2013), their presence was felt YATRA TATRA SARVATRA.
People would forget who won the Best Couple in no time, every year someone or the other wins this award, if there’s an award there will be a winner, no big deal, but as the co-anchors of this year’s show, as the leading characters of the years biggest show which had sweeping success at the awards and as characters that both won two awards in prime categories, Archi-Baha’s name would remain forever etched in Star Jalsha Parivaar Awards history.
But it wasn’t just the awards that made me happy, the awards ceremony itself was class apart. For so many years I have watched so many Bollywood Awards shows, this was the first time I saw a Bengali award show, and I can’t even begin to tell what abundance of talent and creativity it was. A zillion times better than any of the mundane Bollywood awards where the stars dance to the tunes of their own songs forgetting all their steps and a constipated look on their face. They charge a bomb and give a lackadaisical performance. But in the SJPA, each performance was perfect. Song dance is not a routine for TV stars yet their performances was so beautiful. I guess its the Bengali blood, forgive me for my arrogance, but nowhere else in the world would you find such artists with abundance of multiple talent. Bongs simply rock you know. Proud to be a bong.
Some of the best moment of the show was when Kanchan Malik pointed at Ronita Das and said, “If you want to see a star, look at her, Baha. (Pause) Baha Saree, Baha Sandal, Baha Bangal…in no time you’d have Baha nails and hammers too in the market.” Truly the success of Brand Baha is beyond words, matched only to ‘Shaktimaan’ in terms of merchandising and an unmatched unparalleled influence on Bengali Fashion. The other awesome moment was when Rrishii Kaushik got the award of Best Husband for his character Archi, he hugged his co-star Ronita (his onscreen wife, Baha) and asked her to join him on the stage. He also shared his award with her. He being the only person in the entire evening to share the stage and award with someone voluntarily. I thought that was a golden gesture.
Below is a list of all the winners at the SJPA 2013 (In order of announcement)
- Agami diner star (Best Debutant Female) – Jhilik – Maa
- Agami diner star (Best Debutant male) – Sourabh – Bodhu Kon Alo Laglo Chokhe
- Agami Diner star (Best Debutant) Special Jury award – Pakhi – Care Kori Naa
- Sera Gurujan (Best Elderly member) – Hari Shankar Mukherjee – Maa
- Sera Maa (Best Mother) – Protima Mukherjee and Protima Roychowdhury – Maa
- Sera Baba (Best Father) – Dibyojyoti Majumdar – Ishti Kutum
- Sera Bon (Best Sister) – Kamalika Majumdar – Ishti Kutum
- Sera Bhai (best brother) – Sougata Moitra – Bodhu Kon Alo Laglo Chokhe
- Sera Devar (Best younger brother in law at husband’s home) – Dipu – Maa
- Sera Meya (Best daughter) – Baha – Ishti Kutum
- Sera Khalnayak (Best Villain Male) – Debraj – Tapur Tupur
- Sera Khalnayika (Best villain Female) – Gayatri Devi and Rudrani – Tapur Tupur and Bidhir Bidhan
- Sera Nanod (Best sister in law at husband’s family) – Payel Sen – Tapur Tupur
- Sera Jaa (Best co-matriarch of the joint household) – Rani (Archi’s jethimoni) – Ishti Kutum
- Sera Sasur (Best Father In Law) – Surendra Moitra – Bodhu Kon Alo Laglo Chokhe
- Sera Sasuri (Best Mother in law) – Reshmi Lahiri – Bhasha
- Sera Majar Sadasya (Best comedy member) – Makhan – Sangsar Sukher hoy ramonir gune
- Sera Bhasur (Best elder brother in law at husband’s home) – Dhritiman Mukherjee – Ishti Kutum
- Sera Mishti Samparka (Best Sweet Relationship) – Bhasha and Mohit – Bhasha
- Sera Bouma (Best daughter in law) – Alo – Bodhu Kon Alo Laglo Chokhe
- Sera chele (Best Son) – Archi – Ishti Kutum
- Sera choto sadasya (Best young member) – Icche - Bodhu Kon Alo Laglo Chokhe
- Sera Bar (Best Husband) – Archi – Ishti Kutum
- Sera Bou (Best Wife) – Baha – Ishti Kutum
- Sera Parivar (Best Family also known as the Best Show Award) – Ishti Kutum Parivar
- Sera Juti (Best Couple) – Juni Krisnendu – Care Kori na