Thursday, April 07, 2005


Sad that you can't get to watch Plan 9 From Outer Space? Relax, there's something on DD National just for you. The "so bad it's good" serial is called Ankhein and it airs on DD National at 10:00 pm every Thursday. It's about a colonel and his team of five commandos called Ankhein who protect the nation from the evil-doers Carlos and Kangaroo (who are always getting drunk next to a pool and laughing out loud).

Describing a full episode with all its flaws will require a dedicated website. I'm sure the serial will attain cult status soon and one will spring up. Here are some interesting sequences from the last two episodes.

All fight scenes in the serial are amazing. In yesterday's episode, two commandos barge into a room with terrorists and disarm them. One of the terrorists kicks a chair towards the commandos. The chair falls well short of the commandos but for some reason they both fall down and the terrorists rush out of the room.

The commandos give them a chase in the hotel. They stop the pursuit to warn the other commandos waiting outside the hotel. Guess how they communicate? Using mobile phones. The terrorists have a good lead by the time the commandos are done calling their team members one at a time on their mobiles. When the two disarmed terrorists come out of the hotel's rear exit, they are confronted by a commando in position to shoot them. Usually even when they have guns and are in a good position to shoot the commandos, the terrorists yell "Aiyeee" and run towards the commandos to give them target practice. But in this scene, the unarmed terrorists throw stones at the commando and bring him down.

Yesterday's episode even had a direct confrontation between the colonel and Carlos. Carlos and Kangaroo hire a guy named Sanjay Patil to eliminate the colonel. The colonel is asked to come down to a playground unarmed and unaccompanied if he wants to meet the terrorist behind the recent attacks. The colonel obliges and comes down to the ground to prove he is no coward (just plain stupid). Patil runs out with a gun and then a long dialogue starts. That gives time for two commandos to spring our and disarm Patil. Carlos and Kangaroo who have come to watch the show, come out of their hideout and ask the commandos to put down their guns. They are not holding anyone hostage and they haven't come from behind. Yet, the commandos immediately say, "OK" and put their guns down (duh?). The dialogues continue, and for some reason Carlos is always urging Patil to stop talking and shoot the colonel (though he can do that himself). Anyway, after many more dialogues and some more characters popping up, Carlos is wounded, all the commandos are safe and Patil (who changes his mind after his girlfriend appears on the scene and pleads with him) is shot while valiantly shielding the colonel. The director and writers must have excellent mind control. It is obvious that they have selectively put that part of the brain which deals with logic and reasoning (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) to sleep when creating this masterpiece. You are expected to suspend these functions too when watching it.

After the shootout, when Ankhein is chasing the wounded Carlos and his gang, you see an animated helicopter. Is this the first television serial in the Who Framed Roger Rabbit genre? No, that's the chopper coming in to rescue Carlos. They couldn't afford a real helicopter and they probably couldn't find stock footage of real helicopters.

There's much more: obviously fake disguises, cheap plastic guns, Ramayan style bullet going through the air shots (the serial is produced by Ramananand Sagar), brightly coloured bombs that will daze their victims if they don't explode, green rubber balls for grenades, crowds that converge when they panic and the all important truth drug. It's very easy viewing despite all this. All characters helpfully talk out loud to make their intentions very clear. The colonel explains his deductions very lucidly, like how he noticed that the pan masala packets with drugs were labelled Khoyeja (get lost) instead of genuine Khayeja (eat on) pan masala. Concepts like the truth drug or even how conference calls work are explained very well (The How Stuff Works site needs to get a clue from these guys). Usually, one of the extras will have the same doubts that you have and the villains will patiently explain everything to them. The only thing unexplained is how they managed to get a slot on national television.

So remember, Thursdays at 10, exclusively on DD National. Even the urea and banian ads during the breaks are enjoyable.


Anonymous said...

kya likha hai baap...sachi mujhe bhi DD kee yaad aa gayi...
kile ka rahsaye..but that cant compete with AANKHEIN....


sudeep said...

ufff.. meree ankho me khusi ke aansoo aa gaye :-D

Dhar said...



Anonymous said...

Hi Binu, got to this link, thanks to the "connector" Dhar. I have always had more than a huge rant against "un"believable stuff like Ankhein.

Ankhein leaves "Plan 9 From Outer Space" looking like a slick production from Industrial Light and Magic.

Have you noticed how Colonel Dhyanchand and his team avoid bullets? Its just too funny - they weave and bob! Watching them, the Indian Army can just hold disco dancing classes, and its soldiers would have no need for any bulletproofing. The Parliamentary Affairs Committee can spend its valuable time watching Ankhein than investigating why body armour costs so much.

One wonders whose balls Ramanand Sagar can squeeze that he manages to get atrocious stuff like this onto National Television - and whats his excuse? Who are the brave sponsors who bravely fork out money for this unmitigated BS?

You know, if you are interested we could start a fan-blog for Ankhein and even put up the storylines for each episode!

-- Girish

Anonymous said...

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