Daily soaps are on a mission to lecture on social issues. In Saath Nibhana Saathiya, her in-laws enroll an illiterate Gopi in school in an attempt to emphasise the need for education for all. Balika Vadhu also stressed on adult education with ‘dadi’ Sumitra turning student at 60-plus.
Sajda spoke about the ill effects of drug abuse. Future episodes will show a young victim go into rehab and suffer withdrawal pangs on the show. Actor Shaleen Bhanot of Sajda says, “TV is a great medium to bring attention to such issues that have been pushed under the carpet for too long.”
Sandhya in Diya Aur Baati Hum (DABH) urges her family to vote and talks about road safety too. She even enlightens her viewers on the need to dispose of garbage properly through a puppet show in the serial. Recently, she pointed her on-screen husband towards a helmet before getting on his bike and was even seen discussing consumer rights.
Sumeet and Shashi Mittal, producers of DABH, admit that it was a conscious decision to add these tracks. “Even if one person learns from them, the effort would be worth it,” says Sumeet, admitting that they are careful to keep the entertainment quotient high. “We don’t want the audience to be distracted from the main story and strive for a perfect balance between the two.”
DABH’s lead actor Anas Rashid believes that stars can influence public opinion: “The viewers are so connected to us that they emulate what we do on screen. We are hoping to reach out to people in the interiors too.”
Ekta Kapoor whose Bade Ache Lagte Hain recently highlighted the issue of breast cancer, endorses the view, adding, “TV reaches out to so many people that knowledge can easily be dispersed.”