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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Soaps with a conscience

Kavita Awaasthi, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, September 11, 2012
First Published: 16:05 IST(11/9/2012) | Last Updated: 19:15 IST(11/9/2012)

The power of television in India doesn’t need reaffirmation. The popularity is such that everything from household chores to restaurant bookings are worked around that show you can’t miss. So there can be no better platform to spread awareness about pertinent social issues. In the past, popular shows have dealt with subjects like child marriage (Balika Vadhu), remarriage (Na Bole Tum Naa Mein Kuch Kaha, Punar Vivaah), female foeticide (Na Aana Is Des Laado), sexual harassment (Parichay), drug abuse (Sajda) and speech deficiency (Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna Hai).

Now, a bunch of newer shows are going to make you think more. The surrogacy debate Sasural Simar Ka (SSK, on Colors) highlights how surrogacy gives a chance to couples to experience the joys of parenthood. After Simar is unable to have a kid, her younger sister Roli offers to bear her child.

Producer Rashmi Sharma of SSK says, “Many real life issues need attention. Thought-provoking situations in shows help sensitise viewers on various subject. The show will inspire young couples, as most Indians don’t discuss surrogacy or infertility openly.” Rather than just skimming the surface, the show seeks to discuss surrogacy in detail, based on actual scientific information. Sharma adds, “The family asks questions that the audience would want answered.” Earlier in her other production, Saath Nibhana Saathiya, the focus was on adult education.

Dispelling cancer myths
Cancer has been the core issue in Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna Hai for a few weeks now. Actor Niaa Sharma, who plays the cancer patient Maanvi, believes, “The show will make people realise that cancer is curable if detected early. There are many myths surrounding cancer and we have brought them up.” Of course, popularity of the shows is essential for the causes to get a wider reach. Writer Purnendu Shekhar of Balika Vadhu says, “Just education will never work. It needs to be combined with entertainment. If people like the story, then they will accept the thought easily.”

Show cause list

*Bade Achhe Lagte Hain: Breast cancer
*Pratigya: The importance of voting
*Sajda: Drugs abuse
*Na Aana Is Des Laado: Female foeticide
*Balika Vadhu: Education for senior citizens, water shortage, corruption, child marriage, medical negligence
*Rishton Se Badi... Pratha: Honour killings
*Kaali: Ek Agnipariksha: Sexual harassment.

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