My trust with Indian Television Soap Opera’s ended many years ago when as a young boy I realized that Tulsi of Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi refused to grow older and the character of “Baa” was immortal like “Phantom the ghost who walks”.
The Landscape of Indian TV had changed forever since “Ekta Kapoor” stormed into the Indian Television scene with her Saas Bahu medley Tamasha in 1990’s. The concept of a North Indian Hindi speaking opulent family women dressed in all coruscating Jewelry was introduced into our households through the Indian Television and it soon caught the fancy and imagination of our Indian middle class.
It was a winning formula and it soon caught up with other production houses everyone followed the trend as it was a short and quick way to TRP but what it effectively ended up doing was stereotyping of the North Indian Hindu Family. The glorification of a picaresque scheming female character with a little bit of lofty sanskar with some fore grounded values became the order of the day. Every time we saw a daily soap it would be a picture of some religious festival being celebrated or some Sanskrit slokas being chanted in the background
I also remember a few Muslim social serials that dawned upon the Indian Television there was one serial called “Hina” which was on the subject of Talaq and another serial called “Shaheen” which also was about marriage thus effectively stereotyping the Muslim community.
Its 2013 and many years since I stopped watching these Maa Bahen ke serial, errr I mean “Saas Bahu Serial but I guess nothing much seems to have changed if we have a look at the Indian soap opera scene. We still have the same North Indian upper caste family showcasing their culture which is passed off as Bharatiya Sanskriti which effectively means that the stereotype of Indian Family continues on Television.
What about the Muslim community? Oh yes there is a Muslim social serial a typical Hai Allah and Hai Tauba types on Subhash Chandra’s Zee TV called “Qabool hai” based on what else other than “Talaq”
Do our ethnic or linguistic minorities have a voice and space in our mainstream Hindi Television Industry domain? Will we ever see a television series that will be based on a Dalit, tribal or a northeast based family? For the time being seems unlikely. We can hope that the production houses and more importantly the audiences reject the old standard formulas and a fresh breeze of art flows in through our television sets.
Image Source : IANS