I am thankful to the FB for this one instance. I am rarely interested in reading other people’s updates like "Click on this fortune cookie," to "Life sucks", and "Hey! My wife made the best paneer butter masala in the world". But this particular update had me jumping out of my chair: "Watched Byomkesh Bakshi on DD. Caught the first episode on Tuesday..."
I had missed the first episode of the Bengalee detective in action, but I have been glued to my television set every Tuesday from 10 pm. In fact I have even started updating my FB status to "Watching Byomkesh.." and even calling and texting friends who I know revel in the good old Doordarshan days.
I was eight or maybe nine when the series was first aired. Watching it after almost two decades, I can quickly point out the "old treatment" to the series: drab interiors and props, the plainly-dressed protagonists and dialogues delivered with low-key emotions. Basu Chatterjee had made the serial on a shoe-string budget. But who cares! It’s a real treat to see Byomkeshbabu with his "Watson", Ajit Banerjee, dressed simply in dhoti or pants (not trousers!), delivering dialogues with a straight face with little or no ear-shattering background music and no prominent "zoom-in" and "zoom-out" movements of the camera.
The biggest plus-point is that there are no commercial breaks. (Psst... maybe the advertisers haven’t caught on that there is a market for the old TV series. Whatever! It’s a blessing for the viewers though). With no major distractions, I can peacefully settle down to assist the detective in solving the cases with my helpful clues!
After watching the series, I have also come up with a cure for the "restless fingers syndrome". I don’t switch the channel/s, hence my fingers and the remote control panel get rest! It’s the same for another friend too, who "can’t even dream of" flicking channels during the tete-a-tete with the Bengalee detective.
The reason is because the less-pretentious and more realistic treatment really works. It focuses more on the story and lets the characters talk without any embellishments. Content is king! Think of other gems of the 1980s and 1990s like the He-Man!, Kacchi Dhoop, Oshin, Malgudi Days, Neev, Tamas, Phoolvanti and Kille ka Rahasya! They all had just one agenda: to tell a story. And, they told it well. Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s was fun!
Maybe the DD should start rerun of all these serials. They can give the new soaps and reality shows a run for their money.