Monday, September 12, 2005

When Jassi meets Jassi in the cyberspace

India-Culture-Internet (Feature)

When Jassi meets Jassi in the cyberspace
by Sujoy Dhar, Indo-Asian News Service

Kolkata, Sept ... (IANS) She is a college teacher and a desperate housewife by the day and a "serial killer" by the night.

A mother of a five-year-old boy, Anindita Sengupta juggles with her commitments at home and workplace during the day, but by late night the Economics lecturer is the netizens' favourite "coolbie", a sobriquet for updater of TV serials on the site .

As one of the "coolbies" she updates every Monday and Thursday on net the roller coaster ride in the life of Jassi, the fading darling of Indian television audience.

Net-savvy housewives across urban India, teenyboopers, cool Indian techies in USA- all avid watchers of Jassi, the loveable Cinderella of Sony Entertainment soap 'Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin' (JJKN), eagerly wait for an update by Anindita on, a TV serial discussion forum with huge following.

Anindita's update is one of the most avidly read contents on the site for those who miss an episode and even those who have lost interest in the serial because of its "illogical twists" but cannot really hold themselves back from abreast with the latest.

Welcome to the happy happening world of cyberspace where sash (mother-in-law), bahu (daughter-in-law) and sajish (conspiracy) are dissected every night and debated furiously., developed by Kolkata-based 25-year-old software professional Vijay Bhatter, is one such site which has a dedicated reader base of more than 30,000 and it is growing by the day.

Interestingly, it is managed by the television serial fans across the world.

So what was the idea behind India Forums?

"Initial reason was my enthusiasm to discuss the serial JJKN which I believed was something different then other shows and started daily updating show. Soon we got so many users coming on to the site regularly checking the updates.

"Thus the basic idea on starting India Forums was to create a universal discussion board for Indian Television and to meet people from all across the globe," says Vijay.

"It was fun as then there were no forum which allowed people to discuss TV Shows. Soon members joined us and started penning daily synopsis of what's missed, and also a daily detailed transcript of different shows.

"Its growth has been exponential in all respect whether in terms of Popularity, Memberbase or Site Traffic. We are expecting to reach 1,00,000+ members by the end of this year," Vijay boasts.

"However, members' interest in other topics also lead to the creation of the sister site which is also seeing similar growth and becoming extremely popular" he informs.

Says Anindita, "Some people who used to watch Jassi.. , it being very different from the other saas-bahu shows, grouped together under this umbrella to discuss about the show. Later on the forum went on expanding for other shows on Sony as well as other channels. Actually I myself joined in January this year. I liked JJKN because it was inspired by superhit Mexican tele-novella 'Yo Soy Betty La Fea' (I Am Betty The Ugly) which I had read on the Internet after translating it from Latin on the Google. "

"It was a moving experience reading the love story and thus I landed at India Forums while searching for more information on Betty and our own Jassi." says Azim Bootwala aka Jammy, a moderator currently doing MBA in IT in the UK.

"The best part of our forum is it doesnot takes sides, the users are openly allowed to critisise the serials and the actors and directors, but still we keep an eye on the users that they dont get out of hand or abusive," says Jammy.

"You will be suprised to know how many fans do take their serials and actors or actresses seriously and so passionately. So we help them to express their views in a creative manner.

"It also welcomes all the directors or actors to express thier views to the users openly."

Thus India Forums brings a TV star each Saturday for interaction with the viewers.

TV Actors like Swapnil Joshi and the hunky Iqbal Khan (who plays Angad in 'Kaisa Yeh Pyar Hai') have already come on their live interviews. They are soon going to interview Riva Bubber (who plays Damini in "Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi")

Says Tanaz aka Mystica Magic from Canada, who is a student doing Chartered Accountancy and is the Official India Forums Editor," Initially I was a silent reader of the updates and didn't bother participating in discussions, but eventually I became very active once I saw how friendly the members were."

"At that time, the forum was small with only a couple hundred members. Few months later, to my great surprise, I was elected Moderator, then was promoted to Global Moderator and have been one ever since," says Tanaz who manages the India Forums Community Blog (weekly newsletter)

"I used to actively moderate several sections previously, including JJKN, but later on, once more moderators were added to the team, my workload was reduced and I started focusing on specific sections that I enjoyed visiting."

"Right now, I'm quite active in the Harry Potter section of the forum which I moderate along with the section moderator, Misha," says Tanaz.

India Forums is also planning to come out with an India-Forums e-book to help showcase the talents of budding authors to the world awaited every night by thousands.

The site also is going to introduce "IF Telly Awards" as the first of its kind for Indian Television which will be conducted online in a transparent manner where soap viewers not just from India but across the globe can nominate and vote for their favorite TV stars, shows and people working in the TV industry.

Sums up Lakshmi Maruthi, a software engineer with Cisco (USA) and one of the site administrators, "We are growing for three reasons: friendliness, freedom and cleanliness."

"We have strived to keep the forum friendly and simple for all the members while giving them the freedom to expresses themselves. It is our constant goal to keep it clean for members of all ages.

In short, IF is "a home away from home" on the cyberspace for many a netizen.

Courtesy: Indo-Asian News Service

Unofficial Site on Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin
Join the India Forums to discuss about Jassi.
Click here to view Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin Forum

TALKING POINT with Mona Singh

TALKING POINT with Mona Singh

Sulakshana Gupta

New Delhi, September 11:

After three character changes, what’s your real identity?
I’ve been Jassi, Jessica and now Neha Shastri. Even on the sets, people were confused about what to call me. Fans come up and ask, hum aapko kya bulaaye. Finally, I’ve told them to simply call me Mona.

Are you worried about Jassi’s falling ratings?
No, my job as an actor is to portray the character. Fluctuations in ratings make no difference at all.

Have you ever questioned the incongruencies in the script?
I did have problems with it, especially the wedding sequence. Why would Armaan doubt Jassi and marry Mallika? Why is my name changing? I come from a middle class family and I kept thinking that something like this would never happen in real life. However, the channel explained that such liberties have to be taken to hold viewer interest.

Do you like playing Neha Shastri?
Jassi’s realised that being beautiful and taking revenge as Jessica is not satisfying. Neha Shastri is a widowed teacher at the school Purab helped set up. The cast and location have changed and they seem exciting. But I do miss fighting with Nandu and Maddy. That was the best part about the show.

So you enjoy playing a school teacher?
It’s something I never thought I’d do. In school, I was a complete brat and all my teachers would say, ‘Either you leave or we do’. Life’s come full circle.

Will there be a new man in Jassi’s life?
There may be new characters who’ll help her along the way, but never another love interest. She’s too scarred by the Armaan episode and devastated by Purab’s death. It’s time she proceeded alone.

What about your love life?
Believe me, even if I had a boyfriend he wouldn’t be able to keep up with my hectic schedule.

Is it difficult now to speak as Mona the actor?
No, in fact it’s liberating. Earlier I would be perpetually confused about whether I was Jassi or myself. Finally, I’m an actor talking about her character.

When is the story going to end?
Jassi is not a serial that can continue for a thousand episodes. Nor do I see myself playing the character for much longer as my contract expires early next year. The show began with Armaan and Jassi, and must conclude with a confrontation between the two.

The rumour mills are saying that you’re worried about your weight?
I have put on a few pounds. During the wedding scenes, I was looking really chubby. So I’ve started gymming again and cut down on fatty foods.

Tell us about your film.
It’s completely different from my Jassi image and is tentatively titled Main to Chala. I’m also dying to do a play.

Few people know that you’re a really good singer.
Everyone’s been urging me to try out for one of these talent shows. I love music and if I wasn’t on Jassi..., I would definitely have been a part of Indian Idol or Fame Gurukul.

Courtesy: Express India
Unofficial Site on Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin
Join the India Forums to discuss about Jassi.
Click here to view Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin Forum

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Rekha Modi scripts Jassi's destiny

Modi scripts Jassi's destiny
By: Tushar Joshi
September 3, 2005

After penning Kasautii Zindagi Kay on Star Plus, scriptwriter Rekkha Modi has now moved on to Sony’s Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin.

Modi was approached by the makers of Jassi a few days back and has already completed a major track for the show in the coming weeks.

Focus on Jassi

“I want to take the focus back to Jassi. I have been watching the serial on a regular basis and think it has great potential to grow.”

When asked if she felt the show was losing focus, Modi said, “The ratings for Jassi are going up, and with the introduction of new characters like Ketaki Dave and others, the audience is getting to see a fresh new start to the show.”

Without divulging details about the track she has penned, Rekkha said, “Jassi is the heart of the show. I want to get the focus back on her and create some exciting dramatic situations.”

Film work

Apart from Jassi, Modi has also started scripting Cinevistaas’ afternoon drama, Paalkhi, on Zee.

However, what has her excited the most is a Salman Khan film that she is writing the dialogues for. “It’s an epic love story and I was blown away when I heard it. In spite of being tied up with my soaps, I am getting time out to finish this film as the deadline is very tight.”

Talking about the suspense track in Kasautii, Modi said, “There’s lots yet to happen in Kasautii. I think a lot of Kasautii’s success can be attributed to the amazing chemistry between Mr Bajaj (Ronit Roy) and Prerna (Shweta Tiwari).”

Commenting on the current state of television shows Modi said, “I see a change in the way the audience is reacting to shows.

They are getting smart and won’t take anything that’s mediocre.

Also, the growing popularity of shows like The Great Indian Comedy Show (Star One) indicates a heavy swing towards humour.”

Courtesy: Mid-Day

Unofficial Site on Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin
Join the India Forums to discuss about Jassi.
Click here to view Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin Forum

Friday, September 02, 2005

Jassi's special moments

Jassi's special moments
August 31, 2005

September 1 marks the second anniversary of Sony daily Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin. Along with the celebrations is Jassi’s birthday bash that will unfold in the show from next week. Though the channel does not want to spell out what has been lined-up, it mentions that there will be lots of music and masti.

Last year, as part of the first anniversary bash, the Post and Telegraph Department had released a special cover on Jassi — the first time in the country that a TV character had graced a stamp cover. As for model-turned-actress Mona Singh, who plays Jassi, it has been a steady climb to being a TV icon, as she reflects on those Jassi moments…

There was no response for two months after the auditions
My family is based in Pune and I came down to Mumbai to audition for the role of Jassi. I had approached Deeya and Tony Singh, as I liked their earlier show, Banegi Apni Baat.

It was the first production house I had approached. Deeya asked me to imagine that I was dressing up a character (which I later realised was Bebe!) and sing a song. I sang Payale Chun Mun, from Viraasat. The auditions were held in February 2003. For two months, there was no reply. Then in May, out of the blue, Deeya called me for another audition.

I had to undergo 15 screen tests
I did not know what the show was about. They told me it was something big, and they wanted me to look like a complete nerd for it. They dressed me as a Punjabi, Gujarati, South Indian. I had two plaits, two ponytails, a handkerchief pinned on me.

They kept experimenting and I would have to keep coming from Pune to Mumbai for the auditions. I had no clue what I was playing. After some 15 screen tests, I was finally on — and realised what the show was about. Deeya would take me shopping for the character — we did the rounds of opticians and dentists, till we found what was perfect.

It became my best-kept secret…
I was sworn to secrecy; no one except my immediate family knew about it. When the show was launched, I was kept away from the media. I even changed my mobile number so no one could contact me.

My voice was a give away
After the episodes were aired, several of my friends would ask me, ‘Is that you Mona?’. I would tell them to keep quiet. When I was in Jassi garb, I could move about easily, till I spoke — then people would wonder. I have a distinctive voice that was a give-away.

I felt like a rock star
My first public event soon after Jassi aired was in a Delhi shopping mall. The crowds were frightening. There were people falling off the escalator. Mothers were asking little daughters to touch my feet! Later, in Kolkata, there were people biting each other to photograph me. That’s when I felt like a rock star, that Jassi had arrived.

I didn’t mind the Jassi paraphernalia
Simply because I knew there was going to be a transformation – even though it was delayed. The only time when I wished I was not in Jassi garb was when Saif Ali Khan came on the show, and once when Shah Rukh Khan came on the sets with his kids to meet me. I had to meet them as Jassi!

The most difficult part of shooting were the tears
I can’t cry in public easily. I keep my emotions to myself — even with glycerine, I couldn’t have the tears. Then Viruji (Virendra Saxena), who plays my father, actually cried; looking at his efforts, I began to sob. I learnt to cry, and my tears for Armaan Sir didn’t stop.

Anything after Jassi will have to be really good
I know that with my first show itself, I have reached a high. To take on any new projects after Jassi will have to be really well thought out and pondered over decision. I have signed Bobby Pushkarna’s Main To Chala, for which I will shoot from December.


Unofficial Site on Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin
Join the India Forums to discuss about Jassi.
Click here to view Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin Forum

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Jassi ready for another makeover

Jassi ready for another makeover
Sunday August 14 2005

MUMBAI: Having changed from a frump to a stylish heroine, television's favourite middle class icon Jasmeet Walia is now ready for another makeover.

She's set to revert to her old natural homely bespectacled middle class self. In a startling though not entirely unexpected move, Sony Entertainment has decided to deglamourise Jassi and take the character back to her roots.

Jassi will go back to being her natural unaffected self. Though nothing as drastic as braces and horn-rimmed spectacles, she'll nevertheless revert to spectacles and a simple salwaar-kameez look.

And there is more - Sony Entertainment plans to end the soap soon so that it doesn't become a "never-ending saga". The serial will end with Jassi leaving Mumbai and heading for a small town to become a schoolteacher.

Apparently the new look has displeased hardcore Jassi fans and sent the TRPs plummeting.

The final straw for disgruntled Jassi fans was the promised Jassi wedding Aug 5 which never happened and which is now being seen as a publicity gimmick meant to deflect attention from the return of "Kaun Banega Crorepati" on the rival Star Plus channel.

Sony's head honcho Tarun Katyal explained: "If we meant it to be a publicity gimmick we'd have shown the wedding and not risked the wrath of Jassi watchers. No, the reason why Jassi cannot marry her Armaan is because he isn't worthy of her.

"She was meant to marry him but stopped herself in time because she's no longer interested in being a walkover. Through her we want to send out a wake-up call to all timid middle class girls caught in oppressive relationships - it could be with a parent or a boyfriend.

"But the message is don't let anyone mess with your dignity. Jassi has learnt the lesson the hard way. Marrying Armaan would've been a mistake. And we don't want her slipping up in her iconic role at this juncture of her life."

Katyal said that in the episode to be aired Monday Jassi explains her viewpoint as a woman in a patriarchal society to her father through a letter she has written. "It's a turning-point in her relationship with the men in her life and with the viewers," he said.

Elaborating on the pitfalls and perils of her glamorous avatar, Katyal said: "The new-look Jassi hasn't really been beneficial either for Jassi or her fans. She seems to have landed herself in a soup.

"Now she'll go back to her roots, walk away from the oppressive men in her life. Yes, we'll conclude the soap soon. We don't want it to end up as yet another never-ending saga."

Unofficial Site on Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin
Join the India Forums to discuss about Jassi.
Click here to view Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin Forum

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Jassi, Jessica... who cares?

Jassi, Jessica... who cares?
Saturday, August 13, 2005 City

1. Sony team -- you have completely destroyed the show, and are not even interested in salvaging it. Everything is going downhill now. Good luck with the new Jasmeet Walia, who was till sometime back, Jessica Bedi. I just hope Mona Singh is not actually like her screen counterpart. I would lose respect for her too. Hang on, did I say lose respect? But I already did that when she did not put her foot down when her character was altered. Ditto for Apoorva Agnihotri. Why did he agree to this silly twist to his character?

2. Tarun Katyal, you are harbouring a false notion, thinking that we watch your show for Jassi and her so-called greatness. We watched the show for two years to see two people madly in love become united in marriage (Arman and Jassi). But you have ruined that too. How dare you say that Arman was not good enough for Miss Goody Two Shoes. Arman was right in doing what he did. Marriage is a two-way relationship, and Jassi cannot expect everyone to simply fall at her feet all the time. She should have clarified the misunderstanding with Arman. How could she run away from her wedding and leave her parents to bear the brunt of society?
And now she has slipped back into her holier-than-thou avatar with her school teacher act. Please don't take the viewers for granted. We are not fools.

3. Jassi, are you for real? We have always supported you through thick and thin. Why did you sell out now by writing a letter of apology? All you had to do was get married. We understand that you are trying to reach out to the women of India to save them from oppression and abuse, but who is your target audience – all women? The educated woman is aware of oppression, abuse and sexism.
Jassi, we can think for ourselves, and you have become a joke among us. If you wish to make amends, return the old Arman to us. He turned negative overnight, thanks to you.

4. We cannot accept your apology, Jassi. The show should be re-named Jassi Jaisi Kayar Koi Nahin. All your tall talk about self-respect is a sham. Girls today believe in asserting themselves; they do not run away from sticky situations. Mr Katyal, can you end the show ASAP?

5. With Jassi becoming a school teacher, the show is doomed. No viewer has the patience to sit an watch a drama disintegrate. Mona and Apoorva, there is still time. Quit the show.

6. What was the purpose of the show? To show that people shouldn't waste their time falling in love, because they'd have to leave everything they worked so hard for, to go and hide in a village! I have one word for the writers of the show -- if you do not have anything original to say, at least don't butcher a beautiful love story.

7. Gosh, what is the world coming to. People, please stop watching serials like Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin and the saas bahu sagas. There is so much happening around us. I have a few suggestions: watch the History channel for biographies of interesting people. Those keen on comedy, turn to Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai on Star One. Special Squad and Siddhanth are other shows that provide wholesome infotainment.

8. You cannot earn the sympathy of the viewers back simply by writing a letter. You guys have messed up in a big way. Another thing, do you really know the meaning of the word "oppressive"? I don't think you do. Please look up a dictionary. I know many people who are in oppressive relationships. Arman is not an oppressor. Women would grab him at the bat of an eyelid. Jassi, you should never have run off the way you did on your wedding day. This is not the '60s or the '70s. No one would have forced marriage on you anyway, You should have justified your stand to everyone. And now, please do not expect sympathy from us. Give us a break.

Courtesy: Mumbai Mirror

Unofficial Site on Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin
Join the India Forums to discuss about Jassi.
Click here to view Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin Forum

Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin Unofficial Serial Guide India Sony Story Episode Mona Singh