April 23, 2010

Hindi TV serials...or matrimonials?

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It's hard to surf channels without bumping into one TV serial or the other. While they all appear as different manifestations of the same script, there is one thing that quite bothers me about them. The women characters seem to have no other occupation in life except to get married, and after that wear a year's volume of makeup, don all of CTC Plaza's sarees, jewellery etc. and then scheme or become victims of schemes while keeping the aforementioned attire intact.

Why do Hindi TV serials have to be so regressive? Why is a woman's life only about the home and hearth...no matter how lavish it may be? Even in the serials where there is a so-called social message, most of the airtime is spent on wedding songs, mehandi songs, festival songs and so on. And all this happens in slow motion...where core of the plot is always a trivial domestic issue. Where women are shown to be working, they usually have a multi-crore family business to 'run' by sitting pretty around piles of cardboard 'files' (ever heard of a PC?).

Looks like nothing can tear the TV script away from the ultimate aim of getting some witty/attractive/ambitious/rebellious girl married so that she can gradually learn the art of dealing with matrimonial and domestic issues via the machinations of in-laws. Looking at any of these serials, one would come to the conclusion that there is no life beyond the lavish four walls of the house for an Indian woman where all the 'drama' happens. Where is real life?

And what's with the dress code? Even many middle class families today don't expect their bahus to wear embellished sarees, and are quite ok with a salwar-kameez or even a pair of jeans. So why the open advertisement for CTC Plaza and Meena Bazaar?

Even if you argue that most of today's serials are consumed in small towns where the mindset differs, why would we want to propogate that domestic mindset? Why not talk about the way the world really is? There's lots of drama going on outside the home...just tune into any news channel.

Do we really want to continue with a make-believe that nobody really believes in? Look at Bollywood, it's at least light years away from the time warp that Hindi serials are stuck in.

(Pic courtesy: starone.in)