11 February 2007

Karamchand Sir, you are a genius

In the beginning, there was Karamchand. It was the first detective series I remember watching in India on DD, the sole national TV station of that era. Now, there are new episodes of Karamchand following an almost 20 year hiatus. The series Monk is similar in concept. It's about an eccentric detective and his secretary who solve crimes using fairly old-fashioned methods. None of this zooming in on DNA trapped on carpets or blacklights or evidence collected from the rear end of a stinky llama in Tibet. Just interviews of possible suspects, a keen eye for their behaviour, and an uncanny ability to puzzle out the mystery logically.

Sherlock Holmes could not have been happier, although his logic was fallible... especially in one case where he determined that the murderer was highly educated because of the gigantic volume of his head (there's 5 points I lost on a test because I had read the book and nobody else had, including the teacher who assigned us the whodunnit to solve logically. I left my brains at home and relied on memory. Should have remembered that my future career was science and not medicine and desisted. Sir Arthur, I will never forgive you for that).

Karamchand's eccentricities include stating the obvious and saying out loud what the other person is thinking in a rapid pace without any punctuation to mark sentence boundaries. In an ingenious vegetarianised nod to Jeeves, the genius butler of Wodehouse fame, he munches on carrots instead of the fish that Jeeves preferred. He also seems to order around A Khan, the hapless police inspector who's actually in charge of the case and who just has a first initial, no name. Just a random Khan.

The plot of the latest episode was good, and no obvious inconsistencies I could find, and the viewers got all the clues necessary to solve the case before K does. Brilliant. There's a little part where they try to make humour out of the Bengali language, but I didn't get the jokes. They kept the original actor, Pankaj Kapur, as Karamchand but unfortunately, as directors are wont to do, upgraded to a younger model in the secretary Kitty. I quite liked Sushmita Mukherjee in the original and wish that in a nod to the 21st century, she would have taken on the lead detective role with perhaps advise from a retired Karamchand. Sucheta Khanna performs the bimboesque role adequately.

Until the next time K airs, remember to shut up, Kitty, and chew on your carrots.

M reminded me to put in that the music has not changed since the 80s, and the opening credits are in a similar style too.



Mayuri said...

Where did you watch this new Karamchand? I want to watch it too!!!

Sidd said...


a) where did u get to watch it?
b) rediff's panned it. But then, rediff's practically mindless these days. :P


Siddhu "Exam tomorrow" Warrier

Mosilager said...

Mayuri :D Come by any time for a "Karamchand date"

a) Raaz ko raaz hi rehne dete hain.
b) I'm easier to please than rediff I suppose, or more likely they have critics with good taste. I don't remember anything of the original series other than the carrots so I'm not comparing the original and the new.

Isha said...

hehe .. ur into PI stuff huh.. would have never figured

manuscrypts said...

missed the first 10 minutes, and have been hunting for repeat telecast details since then... current timing is not a great idea :( meanwhile ol' kitty, i guess, is busy with that kids serial, kulvadhu blah blah

Mayuri said...

Watched it. Didn't like it too much. In fact the mannerisms that seemed to come naturally to Pankaj Kapur back in the day, seemed really forced, it was really shoddily done as compared to the more slicker detective series that we are used to nowadays. Not worth it :(

Mosilager said...

manuscrypts oh that's what she is up to - soaps.

mayuri ah there goes my fledgling career as a TV critic. rediff and you cannot be wrong! too bad you didn't like it. maybe it will get better. i liked his urdu dialogue - baazi. and are there new detective series in desh?

Mosilager said...

isha no no no pl for me. As long as I watch the ads and have no other way of seeing it I think it's fine.

freespirit said...

hey i used to enjoy watching Karamchand back in the days. And yeah. I primarily remember Kitty and her carrots!