I wish I could say that Indian television was a blessing to the people. Thanks to the internet and various broadcasting channels, some sane of us have been introduced to the television series of the west, or even our neighbouring countries. And what is good about them? Everything. From the stories, to the characters, to the dialogues and the actors, there’s nothing that doesn’t make sense. And I’m referring to all genres, be it comedy, or drama, or even fantasy (which makes more sense than most of the “real” shows on Indian television) for that matter, everything is at place.
Pretty unbelievable it is, but the Indian daily soaps have a huge fan following, which is why this stupidity has lasted longer than it should, and believe it or not, the state wasn’t so bad few years back. The Indian television saw some spectacular shows, completely different from what it is now, which made us think and rethink. In the time when our society had restrictions, these shows were breaking stereotypes, trying to bend the rules and calling out for change. The paradox is, when now the influence of modernization has finally struck us, we’re going back to where we started.
Let’s talk about how we have been pathetically affected by the poor state of television in India. On a lazy afternoon, after a stressful week when you finally get time to see television, you switch through channels to find a decent show you can watch. And I’ve done this, so I know, there are none. You either shut the TV, or switch to an English channel, because that’s the only good thing happening on TV. There were days when we used to look forward to a certain hour, waiting to see what happened to the protagonist, make arrangements according to the timings of our favourite shows and watching them undisturbed. Today, unless you want to see how Simar is ruling the hell, there’s nothing to look forward to.
Indian Television today is all about bahus, saas’, nagins and idiocy. Every channels is shamelessly broadcasting another blunder of hypothetical perceptions of Indian families. Unnecessary introduction of characters, overacting, tears and then more tears, is that what India and it’s people are all about?
Talking about the portrayal of women in these shows of “modern” times, a typical daily soap women character is seen wearing a sari, loaded with jewellery, with vermilion on the forehead and a saas to answer to (seriously). Very less woman characters on Indian television have a life, a career, and are shown with big dreams. Yes, that’s how women in India are, dominated and oppressed by a mother-in-law, who BTW must must must have a thick eyeliner and a huge bindi on the forehead. Every story has a villain, and on Indian television, it’s a woman. Because a woman is either a bahu material, or a vamp, there’s nothing more to her. The vamp is loaded with makeup, which is the identification mark of a vamp.
The state of men is also not that great. Involved in the unnecessary bahu saas drama, all a man’s role is the resolver of conflict. In most cases, he is driven by a woman in his life, either his mother who uses him as a pawn in her own game of chess, or by the wife (the vamp in most cases). Most men are as good as nothing on the show, just put as a character because, well men are needed in a family, without them it cannot be a family.
There is an immediate need for groundbreaking shows that able to put some sanity to television. While shows like 24 have been working towards changing the face of Indian television, complete eradication of some is needed to redefine it. Till then, let’s hope Gopi gets hits by a bus and dies. Please God, make that happen!