Monday, June 27, 2011

Hip Hip Hurray! - A show with messages galore but limited bullshit.

Hip Hip Hurray!
This is not an expression of jubilation as used here but rather the name of a show which used to air when I was around 9-10 years old (I am 20 now…so yeah, it was a long time back…)
This show was directed by Nupur Asthana (who went on to direct Mahi Way for Yash Raj Television…a brilliant show again) and it was about this group of 12th Standard Kids at a school called De'Nobli High.

I was 10 but I knew that this show would be remembered by me for a long time to come and the fact that I am writing this today obviously points out that in the affirmative. But the point here is a ‘why?’ and I shall try and answer that.
Hip Hip Hurray! appealed to you because of how realistically it portrayed teenagers (at least Indian teenagers) and their confusions, complexes, issues, frame of mind on topics ranging from sexual awakening to physical relationships to the sheer frustration at how things are around us to trying to understand relationships without them getting over shadowed by external considerations like being less materially affluent or having a side job at a place frequented by one’s friends to the appeal of drugs to trying to prove yourself to be the best in all situations even when pitted against friends…and it did so without being over bearing, without the ‘lecture’ feeling and conversely also without giving way too much leeway to the phenomena called teenage years.
It was unlike ‘God knows what it means to portray!’ shows like the new 90210 and the likes because it never focused on the glitz and glamour but instead sought to portray a likeable set of teenagers doing likeable and unlikeable things and learning from their mistakes (much like the most of us). The cool quotient on Hip Hip Hurray was very subtle…for instance, I can remember that the characters used to fold the sleeves of their uniforms and would converse in Hinglish (but only as much as was required…hence staying clear of looking fake and obnoxious).

Coming back to the show matter…it basically had everything…from lightly touching on sensitive and often brushed under the carpet adolescent issues to larger issues which frustrate us…nibbling away at our insides with apparently no way to express our anguish to little light moments with romance, pranks, exams etc etc etc – everything basically which makes up one’s life. I really don’t know what else to say or rather how to explain it all– not because there is precious little but because it was diverse and done giving equal importance…so what I am going to do is to note down some of my favourite moments (a difficult task, trust me…I loved every moment!) –
1. For some reason Raghav sharing his fear of heights in an episode where the school has taken the children camping really touched my heart…and it was done beautifully! Raghav, the school sports captain, the guy always at the forefront is scared of something and he confesses this to his best friend, Mehul, ironically the guy who seems to be at the back of all things…
2. The whole issue between Kiran and Mazhar because of Mazhar taking up a side job as a waiter in a pizza parlor gave some great moments and insight…what would you do if your best friend turned out to be working at a place you might consider low class (as an occupation choice)? Would you abandon him/her or try and understand their situation? I know the answer is quite obvious (does not take a genius to figure that one out) but the fact that one would ask such questions is what the whole game is about…
3. The part where Manjeet starts taking drugs and consequently lie and get all shady…the interaction between the characters was once again fraught with different sides of the same question, making you wonder about such situations and the whole action in itself.
4. The whole situation where one of the teachers gets pregnant without being married, her being shunned by parents in fear that she will be a bad influence on their children and their own children standing right there by their teacher’s side very lightly and in a passing manner and not to mention sensitively put it inside their young viewer’s mind that bullshit like this is not really of any use. A person’s character is one complex thing which cannot be judged using such incidents in isolation if at all.
5. Etc etc etc
So there I recounted a very few of my favourite moments from this much loved, cherished and remembered television series – moments which without even my explicit realization made out of me a better and more aware person, moments which I carried with me through all these years with little explicit knowledge and moments which I shall continue to carry with me with the same level of ignorance.
And that my friends, is what made Hip Hip Hurray! a fantastic concept and it became a fantastic show because of the brilliant team work – conceived and directed by Nupur Asthana with dialogues by Vinay Pathak, who also played the much loved and revered Vinny Sir.

The cast was brilliant with each actor more or less living the role – Vishal Malhotra as John, Nilanjana Sharma as Mona, Peeya Rai Chaudhari as Kiran, Rushad Rana as Raghav, Mehul Nissar as Mehul, Shahrukh Bharocha as Cyrus, Zafar Karachiwala as Rafey, Candida Fernandes as Alisha, Samantha Tremayne as Samantha, Purab Kohli as Mazhar, Kishwar Merchant as Noni, Kuljeet Randhawa/Shweta Salve as Prishita and Vinay Pathak as Vinny Sir, Suchitra Pillai as Alaknanda Ma’am and others whose name I, despite much tries, cannot find.
So here is from a hardcore Hip Hip Hurray! (Season 1) fan a hearty thanks to the whole team for teaching me values without pushing me away with an overbearing and obnoxious attitude.
Hip Hip Hurray!
(Now indeed used as an expression of jubilation…and save your breath and energy to say ‘how cheesy!’ because I know it. So now you are better equipped to think about it and maybe even comment, energy wise, although I don’t expect much of the latter at least…)
And here is to the countless channels – bring it back if you wish to regain a lost section of the audience. Shows like Hip Hip Hurray! are much needed today…not only because of the general trash content on TV but also because it would fashion young sensibilities much better than its apparent counterparts. And to who until recently had the complete show but now have a strange website where the search engine does not work - Get it back (the show and the search engine).