How to: Screen play for indian soaps

One may think whats the big difficulty in writing a serial, they are all the same. But its high time we understand the technical nuances related to it. These simple things count at the end of the day.


1. The protogonist, most preferably female, should be ready to face a lot of hardship..
              But telling "a lot of hardships", would be the most understated statement of the year..

2. She should have a lot of relatives, preferably women
             The whole idea behind the women relatives is, to create more sub stories. Of course we can always connect it to the story by telling "he is the nephew of the protagonist's second husband's first wife" etc.. Dont worry we will have the TRP high records..

3. She should give lectures about the so called Sanskar, or culture every now and then..
           Of course she can get married third time to a guy who already has a wife.

4. In case she is a working woman,. everyone at her office would plot against her, for her coveted position.
          Even if the position is nothing but a personal aide, it is to be coveted.

5. If she is unmarried yet, her boss and she should fight for first few hundred episodes and then fall for each other. It doesnt matter if the boss is married or not. Sometimes it doesnt matter even if she is married.

6. There should be a character, probably a friend or servant, who is such a goof yet so loyal to her.
           The idea is to run episodes in the name of telling/teaching/preaching them what is life. And they are supposed to play comedian, while we start prefering the comedy scenes to the main, so called emotional scenes.

7. The goofing up person should wear subdued, dull clothes as opposed to the gawdy clothes of the others.
         Unfortunately we start appreciating those clothes after a while watching too many of these plunged necklines or shiny clothes.

8. If she has a daughter/ son, they should fall in love with the arch-enemy's kid
        This is one of the time tested indian cinema cliche, but it will work for sure, even after 25 years.

9. Then he/she should hate the heroine, while everyone else in the family loves and respects her
        Of course, the kid wouldnt hate her so much that they stop getting money time
and again for her. And look up at her for food, clothing and shelter, obviously.

       These are just basic storylines and if you stick ot it, you wont have to think of anythin called story for a serial. But there are few hard and fast rules to be followed, apart from the basic scripting. Nobody cares whether it suits to your story, characters etc, but it should be followed.

a) There should be atleast one slap scene per week

b) Even if the protogonist is from middle class background, they should have atleast two cars and all gawdy clothes (including jewllery). Pl watch out for the appearance, people sometime take time to notice it and then pester their husband for the same apparel and accessory.. Not to forget the bunglow type house with a classic sea view.

c) There should be atleast one character who is 

  •                 Undergoing marital voilence
  •            trying to spoil other's fate
  •            like godfather to everyone but he makes rare appearances
  •            taking care of an ailing parent (as if they are doing a service)

d) There should always be atleast one property/ will dispute or some other pending suit at the court.

e) And the most important rule is: there should be atleast one actor change every six months.
          Dont bother about continuity or the viewer's choice. They are far clever to follow all the twists and turns (of course we are not gonna give them any surprises that they expect)

    In case you fail to continue the originality in the  story even after all these tips and get stuck up somewhere, Dont worry you always have the option of quitting the whole thing, go silent for a week and start a brand new (!!!) serial again..


Happy Soaps time!

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