I saw this week the last episode of Kathmandu. It’s the second TV series launched this year dealing with a phenomenon well-known to Israelis – the trips to the Indian subcontinent, which many Israeli youths take, usually after finishing the Army service. A TV series being what it is in the current commercial TV context I did not expect too deep an introspection into the phenomenon. The result was indeed close to sitcom located in exotic environments and the teams should be recognized for the good job they made in finding the proper locations, I have never been to India and Nepal so I cannot comment on authenticity or to what extent they describe realities, but they do certainly suggest them well.

 

source http://www.haaretz.co.il/gallery/television/tv-review/1.1695507

 

The stories in the two series say a lot about how we as Israelis deal with other cultures. Ananda is the story of a young woman who finds herself traveling to India without her boyfriend, befriends there two Israelis to discover soon that they are Arab-Israelis and cheaters, to find herself soon in the position to chose between doubts and trust, between the commodity of return to the routine life and the courage to assume love despite the apparently impossible borders. Kathmandu tells about a couple of Chabad envoys opening a Chabad home in Nepal, helping the various Israeli characters solve their personal problems and find the ‘right way’ to their Jewish identity, and eventually facing the question whether they are up to the difficulties of their missions and at what price. The issue of the contact with the local cultures is present (if at all) only as a background and at a level more superficial than of a bad travel show, mostly dealing with weather, smells and hygienic issues. None of the central characters seem to be really interested in the huge treasure of culture and experiences the Indian continent offers to the visitors which is the main reason for most Israelis to travel to that area. No central character is local. If there is any exchange of ideas it’s one-sided, with the Israelis preaching by words and deeds the Jewish values. The central themes in Ananda and Kathmandu are Israeli, the shows could have been filmed as well in Antarctica or Kiriat Malachi.

 

source http://israelity.com/2012/06/03/shmulik-and-mushkie-go-to-kathmandu/

 

All these having been said none of the two shows is bad, and within the limits of the scripts there are enough good personal stories, emotions, likeable characters and good acting to make the two series interesting to watch. I liked Kathmandu more than Ananda because I am no big fan of Dana Modan (the author and lead actress in Ananda) who miscasts herself badly, and on the other side Michael Moshonov makes a great role in Kathmandu, a role that allows him now to be a star by himself and not the son of … I also found the range of characters and the complexity of the intertwined threads of action more compelling in Kathmandu. I have no doubt that among the two this is the one that deserves a second season.

 

(video source hot)

 

(video source IsraeliNetwork)