TV is changing: Social awareness on the tube, one show at a time
Often accused of being regressive, TV shows are now attempting to break taboos and spread awareness with shows such as Shakti — Astitva Ke Ehsaas Ki, Meri Hanikarak Biwi, Aap Ke Aa Jane Se, Kaliren and MTV Troll Policetv Updated: Mar 13, 2018 17:20 IST
Move over cringeworthy saas-bahu sagas. The content on the tube is now reflecting diverse perspectives and promoting a progressive point of view. Take for instance Shakti - Astitva ke Ehsaas Ki, which is a story of a transgender person Soumya and her struggles. Likewise, Meri Hanikarak Biwi s attempting to spread awareness about male contraception surgery, called vasectomy; the story of Dil Se Dil Tak deals with surrogacy; MTV Troll Police deals with cyber bullying; TV show Aap Ke Aa Jane Se is a love story of a 24 year-old man and a 42-year-old single mother; Ishq Subhan Allah is on triple talaq; Kaliren is about a girl fighting against the system of girls joining grooming classes to get a perfect life partner.
“TV’s reach is bigger than films. Its voice is the strongest, as it has presence in both urban and rural areas. It can pass on a social message in an entertaining manner,” says writer-actor Preeti Mamgain, who has penned Aap Ke Aa... Agrees actor Rubina Dilaik, who essays the role of Soumya, “We need to openly talk about certain things.” Producer Sumeet Mittal, of the producer duo Shashi Mittal and Sumeet Mittal known for shows such as Punar Vivah - Ek Nayi Umeed and Diya Aur Baati Hum, also says “it is our responsibility to break taboos and make progressive content to help society”.
The ratings of these soaps show that the audience are happy to receive content which is not run-of-the-mill stories. Those involved n the show are now happy and confident. Dilaik, who was “apprehensive” of accepting the role of a transgender which was neither “glamorous” nor “ordinary” and had been turned down by many before her, says, “I decided to take the risk... When I look back, I feel proud of my decision.” Actor Karan Suchak, who portrays Akhilesh, the protagonist who opts for vasectomy in Meri Hanikark..., was also hesitant of accepting the role, however, is now happy with the response to the show.
Besides bringing the stories of the marginalised to the mainstream, many shows also give employment to those living in the margins. “One of my co-stars (a transgender) was excited about buying her first car; another one told me that her neighbourhood now respects her. Their dream of a respectful and financially independent life is coming true,” says Dilak.
Clearly, the idiot box is not idiotic anymore, more meaningful stories are bound to find their way to the small screen. Producer duo Shashi Mittal and Sumeet Mittal is now working on an upcoming show that will give out an “important social message”. Preeti is also working on another show that she is kicked about. “Whenever a small town girl or a boy comes to a bigger city and can’t speak English, he or she is instantly judged by it. I’m penning a show around this subject next,” she says.
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