What clicks on our mind when we hear about Indian daily soaps of once called idiot box is the pictures of long bindis’, heavy jewellery, dark make-up, the shedding of copious tears, and the grey characters and many more. Isn’t? From the family planning shows on Doordarshan, and then back to back ‘K’ serials by renowned producer cum director Ekta Kapoor has showcased women as housewives who sacrifice their everything for a perfect life with her husband and arrogant ‘saas’. They were depicted as full of emotions, aimless, fragile ladies who were limited to the four walls of their dwells, doing the household jobs for the entire lifetime.
Gone are the days when unrealistic twists use to amuse the masses like dead ‘Mihir’ of long-lasted blockbuster soap ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’ gets numerous chances of re-birth and Tulsi (Smriti Irani), the lead female protagonist awaits for a magical comeback of her late better-half. Now the things have taken a roller coaster ride as defined by Star Plus’s tagline ‘Rishta Wahi Soch Nayi’. Now, a woman is portrayed as one of the strongest characters of any daily soap who not only marries and enters her in-laws but also manages to attain their desires and ambitions. This revolution in TV daily soaps has been the need of hour and now, most of the female protagonists have become the idols for the young lasses in town. The most famous and on top (according to TRP) show has been Diya Aur Baati Hum in which a young and ambitious girl successfully achieves her father’s dream of becoming an IPS officer. The character Sandhya, the female lead, has been loved and embraced by the viewers not only in India but also overseas. She has set herself as a perfect instance for young would be ‘bahus’ who can successfully manages her household work along with fulfillment of dreams along with the support of entire family.
Not only the scripts related to an IPS officer or of bold roles like of Anandi of Balika Vadhu and Kokila of Saath Nibhaana Sathiya, TV has touched new heights now with a different notion of reaching Mount Everest. The latest show by Ashutosh Gwarikar that started its innings from 3rd November on Star Plus titled ‘Everest’ has proved the creativity of directors and producers of TV industry. In this show, a girl, not loved by her father, tries to climb Everest to fulfill her father’s dream.
It shall be noted that almost every daily soap revolves around a female protagonist. Thenceforth, it can be said that small screen is one of the promoters of women empowerment. Various theme based shows like on child marriage, female feticide, inter-cultural marriage etc have been made and telecasted. This is only because of changing trends and changing likings of viewers. Take the examples of the super serious theme based serial like ‘Pratigya’ (2009-2012) that showed the protagonist Pratigya fighting for the common issues related to women like eve-teasing and harassment. On the other hand, ‘Hitler Didi’ (2011-2013) was path-breaking, showing the lady as the leader of the house. The list of other female oriented soaps that entertained masses for long were Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi (2003-2007) on Sony TV in which an unattractive girl turns out to be a beauty of the town grasped the viewers attention for around four years; Jyoti (2009-2010) on Imagine TV told the story of the eldest daughter of the family who is the only person working and sacrificing her own dreams and ambitions to fulfill needs of others.
TV added another feather under its cap with the serial that gained huge popularity was ZINDAGI’s ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hai’ (2014). The protagonist Kashaf Murtaza’s story was based on a novel and is hugely raved of. It addressed issues of girl child equality and the importance of career for women.
The most happening show aired on Star Plus ‘Ek Haseena Thi’ is one of the perfect examples of those female centric shows where a daughter of a car-driver stand up in support of a rape victim and plans to take revenge from rich business tycoons ‘Goenka’s. Durga’s character has been quite inspirational for all those who once have stepped down in front of law due to injustice as well as for those who have been victims of several crimes against women.
In the last words we can surely say that TV is now playing a fruitful role in strengthening the stature of women in society. It is providing a right direction and a bright ray of light to the weak women and encourages them to stand up for their rights. Women which were earlier fragile and degraded with a couple of social evils have now become the strongest pillars of society and this idiot box which is now not so, has played a vital as well as commendable role in transforming the minds of people especially of women folk. Today, young girls faithfully follow the characters of perfect ‘bahu’ Akshara; bold Durgra of Ek Haseena Thi and loving and mature Priya of Bade Acche Lagte Hai and many more. Times have changed and so are producers and writers of small screen industry, giving a boost to the morale of female chunk of society.