Actor Saif Ali Khan, 42, has said in an interview that television is cornered by housewives, and the remark seems to have not gone down well with the actors’ fraternity and viewers.
"I feel we need great content on TV. As of now, it is cornered by housewives, and I feel there's a need for content for young boys. Our TV is not as good," Saif said, drawing a comparison to the West.
Women’s right activists feel the use of the term, housewives, was uncalled for. “They are homemakers, care-givers,” says Dr Charu Wali Khanna, member, National Commission for Women.
Saif went on to say this when his own actor-wife Kareena Kapoor is a self-confessed saas-bahu show junkie, and when three of Bollywood's other famous Khans, Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir, have taken to the small screen. Also, his actor-mother Sharmila Tagore has judged a music show and actor-sister Soha Ali Khan, hosted a game show.
"I disagree with Saif. There’s a lot of variety to choose from as far as Indian TV content is concerned. Also, why do we forget that it is homemakers watch our soaps and are the target audience? Men don’t sit at home. If men will be the target audience, there will be shows for them as well,” says Pooja Gor, who played the lead in the popular show, Pratigya.
Delhi’s homemakers are also offended. "This remark is not in good taste," says Vandana Bhatia, 42, from Rajouri Garden. When we called Saif back to ask what made him say this, he explained, “I mean saas-bahu and other serials like that are mainly watched by ladies ... it would be nice to have some great TV for boys and men ... like a mini series on the mafia ... just for example ... no offence meant! But our TV content is not as developed as in the West ... or as developed as our cinema.”
Smita Bansal aka Sumitra of Balika Vadhu agrees, “I agree with Saif. I, too, feel that TV is regressive thanks to the TRP race and there’s nothing new for viewers,” says Bansal.