Dear Siddharth Tewary,
I did enjoy watching your Mahabharath and followed it to the end. It did get a little too melodramatic at times and some tracks were given an unnecessary amount of time and attention, but on the whole it was enjoyable. Even the distortions had somewhat altruistic motives and I thought I had finally found a show maker who could be both creative and ethical.
Then came the show Suryaputra Karna on Sony. There is nothing much of Karna’s story known, except for the unfortunate circumstances of his birth. So I was expecting some, ummm, creativity, in the story telling.
Unfortunately, this producer I had thought to be socially responsible, completely shied away from depicting the most controversial aspect of his birth. Namely, the fact that his mother Kunti was a child during the conception.
A child barely into her teens, wondering about the mantra. A child exploring her own budding sexuality. A child trying out her charms on an adult male. A child withdrawing in fear. A child who was unsure of what was happening. A child who was told by the adult male that he has to complete the deed; that is, he has to have intercourse with her. A child, pregnant and scared. A child who had no support from family. A child whose parents gave her away. A child whose adoptive parents forced her into Durvasa’s company and later were no help at all.
Dear Siddharth Tewary, you depicted the father Surya as a hapless participant. Your show did not hesitate to portray an adult male who raped a child in a positive light. Your show did not think twice before showing that the abandonment of Vasusena angered Surya, whereas the original just disappeared.
But then, I only have myself to blame for watching the show. Karna instigated the attack on Panchali. He wanted her turned into a whore for the sake of his cohorts and himself. In your Mahabharath, this character’s crimes were glossed over. So I should have known what to expect in this version.
You are making a show with a soft focus approach with a sex crimes perpetrator as your lead character.
If you read this letter, I hope you pause for a moment to think of the impact that your kinds of shows are going to have on India’s sons and daughters. Someday, will a young man defend himself by claiming that a girl had rejected him and therefore he had the right to rape her? Someday, will a young girl on the cusp of womanhood, blame herself for her own rape thinking that the attraction the adult male felt was brought on by her behavior?
I am sure you and Sony TV will make your money. But do remember that you are making it on the blood and lives of Indian women.
Signed / –
A saddened viewer
Image Source: Sony TV, Star Plus