Saturday, December 30, 2006

Too good is too bad?

Not a generation has gone by without feeling the heat of this culture. For decades this concept of ‘too good is too bad’ has existed. Why? Because we allowed it to.

In the 1990s came a revolutionary concept called ‘Seinfeld’ in the United States. And with it came a cult following that believed in ‘nothingness’. It was the first show that gained popularity of being about nothing. For close to ten years Seinfeld ruled the roost with its ground breaking themes and out-of-the-seat funny episodes. It looked like there was nothing that could top this genre of comedy in the sitcom scene. Millions of dollars were made enough to feed a few generations to come for the people involved in this production.

Once the show was off air so were the lives of the lead characters. Till date, except with very strict exceptions, none of the characters have been able to carve a similar kind of success for themselves. They got stereotyped for life.

This is not something that plagues only sitcoms in the United States. Almost every country in the world has that one miracle success story that could never be repeated. There are several examples from the Indian entertainment scene that fit this example. People who were so mind bogglingly awesome that it was impossible for them to be anyone else but those characters. Characters like Gabbar Singh from Sholay, or Mogambo from Mr. India or Rama Shastri from Nagarahavu in Kannada. These are shadows that get attached to the performer for life. Nothing he/she will ever do surpass that. Success may come, but in the proportion of that initial impression.

Take Dr. Vittal Rao from the mini series – Silli Lalli – on ETV Kannada channel. Hands down it is one of the most outrageously hilarious and genuinely funny characters that have been ever created. The supporting cast is equally competent, but Rao’s character covers more range in terms of emotional quotients.

What is the problem with it? He got typecast. Anything he ever does from this point on, post Silli Lalli, will always be a yard shorter than his portrayal of Dr. Rao. Performers like him, and the ones listed above, have a tough task to deal with. Their performance is so good that they find it impossible to live up to with their follow up assignments. Rarely, has there been an odd man out, who was able to come out of that shell of infinite seeming fame. It is not known to happen often though.

Sad but true. Apparently being too good in the entertainment business is not always the best thing to do. Pace yourselves people, since there is always a future ahead.


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