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The attraction at 9


MORE THAN 560 episodes have been aired, but "Metti Oli" shows no signs of let-up. "We are a focussed lot," says Thirumurugan its director, who is also doing one of the main roles in the mega. If heading a project with a mammoth cast, for months on end, is an achievement in itself, the fact that he has achieved it with no big names is another feather in Thirumurugan's cap. "We did not want famous faces mainly because I was confident about the story. At no point was I willing to compromise," he says. "That when you tell a story in a natural manner, it is bound to be a success," Thirumurugan says with conviction. "I owe it all to my team of technicians and artistes," he adds. Once a month he discusses the next few segments with his crew. "We see to it that there is a note of suspense every evening."

The director-actor is overwhelmed by the attention that "Metti Oli" has got him. "The response is always positive. My responsibility has increased because now I have to maintain the name that the serial has gained."

Undoubtedly "Metti ... " has earned the reputation of being one of the most interesting yarns spun on Sun.

"Not anymore," says Vasundhra Raghavan, a regular television buff. "Of late, things have begun to drag and it's becoming as melodramatic as any other sob story that TV thrives on."

"It's like a stranger trying to locate a door number in Anna Nagar. You can go round in circles and still not know whether you are coming or going. "Metti Oli" is similar ... it goes on and on ... " laughs Kamala Rangarajan.

"But, in all fairness, I watch only the last 15 minutes of it every day. I have three daughters and surely they don't quarrel the way the sisters in "Metti ... " do. And the role of the man who's a cuckold is abominable. The situations look too outdated ... if they go on in this fashion, how are they going to end it, if at all they do?" As an afterthought Kamala adds with a chuckle, "Probably I am too finicky because I am so used to watching my husband's way of story telling ... " Kamala is a popular Tamil novelist and journalist Ra. Ki. Rangarajan's wife.

But septuagenarian Sadhak Ameena's views are different. "Metti Oli" is the best serial now. I watch quite a few soaps but this true-to-life story affects me most." There could be guests at home or it could be dinnertime, but for Ameena the 9 to 9.30 slot is devoted exclusively to "Metti ... " She represents thousands of women (and men too!), whose evenings are incomplete without the sound of "Metti ... "

Rajam Ganesan has been watching it from the first episode. "It has begun to get boring. If it had ended early it would have been a crisp, unforgettable serial. Now it's so clear that they are protracting things ... the sequences have begun to appear contrived," is her verdict.

Opinions may differ. But strangely, even those who crib continue to watch it. And that seems to be "Metti Oli's match-winning point.

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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