In late 2000s, Colors TV introduced a slew of freshly baked serials with interesting plots that promised to change the very concept of soaps on its head. These included daily soaps such as Balika Vadhu, Uttaran and Bhagyavidhata among a few others. Sadly, their novel, inspiring plots couldn't save them in the TRP game, and most of them fell flat on their faces just after a few episodes. Also read: From Balika Vadhu to Udaan, small towns still inspire TV
Mindless melodrama, the makers thought, was the magic ingredient that could keep us glued to the screens, and, as a result, once again we had more of the same.
Of late, TV's been dishing out something the makers believe will work with both the Indian audience and also give them those magical TRPs ratings. So what is it? Tweak the plot such that you are seen as championing the cause of women empowerment or fighting against any injustice in the society. The trend now is to claim that you champion women empowerment but churn out episodes that advertise and promote problematic behaviour like chauvinism, sexism, domestic violence and several other such social evils.
We list four such serials that started off as fighting for a social cause, but only ended up deifying the perpetrators of these evils in the society. Balika Vadhu
The serial started as a champion of kids' rights and aimed at highlighting the problems of child marriage. The troubles children face due to such practices was perfectly showcased by Avika Gor and Avinash Mukherjee -- who played the lead characters Anandi and Jagya -- and they received much accolades for their performances.
It has been six years since the soap first premiered on Colors TV. Today, it is no different from the rest of the stuff we have on TV: In short, it is just full of stereotypes. Both Anandi and Jagya are twice married, helplessly struggling against cliched practices of child marriage, oppression etc. Ek Hasina Thi
This is yet another serial where the woman takes law into her own hands in her struggle for justice. The serial is about a girl who decides to go under the knife, get a new face and marry the man who raped her sister, "allegedly" seeking revenge!
What kind of a society and emotions are we talking about? Do we make fun of rape victims in our society? Doesn't it sound much like the Khap version of "punishment" for rape -- marry the girl? Time we stopped airing such serials because the stuff is available on our television sets where even innocent kids can watch. Doli Armaano Ki
The makers of Doli Armaano Ki recently organised seminars in various cities, holding discussions on domestic violence. Interestingly, the guest list did not just include the TV actors and producers but also lawyers, social activists, psychiatrists and victims of domestic violence. Sadly, what is shown in the serial is not exactly what one would see as fight against domestic violence. The leading lady, Urmi (played by Neha Marda) is a married woman whose husband (Mohit Marwah) tortures her in all possible manners. She bears with all the thrashing, abuses and more but does not leave him. However, when she catches the husband with another girl, it is only then that she decides to leave him. She be like, "You can do whatever you want to do with my body but the sanctity of my marriage! How dare you?"
When asked about the point where Urmi gives up on the marriage, actor Mohit said, "Yes, I guess that could have been portrayed in a better manner. Urmi should have stepped out of the marriage when she was being tortured. But we were showing the patience level of a woman, though I feel that's not right."
"I know TV is not really the weapon to fight social evils as domestic violence but I can only do my bit. TV is the most far-reaching medium and we can do the little bit that we are able to do," he added. Kumkum Bhagya
Most of the Indian daily soaps showcase cheating in a marriage on a big scale. Kumkum Bhagya is the story of Pragya (Sriti Jha) who is married to Abhishek Mehra (Shabbir Ahluwalia). Abhishek wanted to marry her sister but could not and now, wants to irritate Pragya all the time for having married him. In his attempt to do so, Abhishek takes to everything from small events of defying the normal order any household would have to cheating on her.
Why do you have to cheat on your spouse to make him/her leave? Can't you simply quit? Why do the serials need to show criminals acts as weapons to win over personal battles?