Probably for the first time in the history of Indian television, a show has been asked to go off air by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Yes, after weeks of dealing with controversy and petitions, Sony Entertainment Television’s Pehredaar Piya Ki has been asked to go off air by I&B Minister Smriti Irani. The show aired its last episode on Friday. In a statement, the channel said: “Effective 28th August 2017, we are pulling off our programme, Pehredaar Piya Ki, from television. While we understand that the decision to end this serial will be disappointing to those whose creative energies are vested in it, namely, its crew and cast, we (as a channel) are convinced that we will be better served by focusing instead on developing viewer interest in our upcoming, new shows. We are grateful to all the artists, producers and fans of our shows and request you to graciously support the viewership of our newer ventures.”
A few weeks back, a certain section of the audience had filed a petition against the show demanding a ban. Pehredaar Piya Ki revolves around a 10-year-old boy who gets married to an 18-year-old girl. The wedding was not for love nor any compromise, but only because the girl had promised the boy’s dying father to be his lifelong pehredaar (protector).
The petition sent to Smriti Irani said, “Pehredar piya ki. A 10-year-old impressionable little kid(“piyaa”) caressing and stalking a lady who’s more than double his age and filling sindoor in her “maang” is being telecasted at prime time 8:30pm on Sony. (Family time) It is to be devoured by the entire Nation. Imagine the kind of influence it will steadily and perpetually infuse in the viewers mindset. We want a ban on the serial. We do not want our kids to be influenced by such TV serials. Join us in signing the petition to ban this serial (sic).”
The producers Shashi and Sumeet Mittal during a press conference had said, “Most of the people who are signing the petition have no clue about the show. They proudly claim they don’t watch TV. When you haven’t seen the show, how can you judge it? We have not shown anything objectionable. As traditional people ourselves, we know our boundaries. There is a sweet platonic relationship between the boy and girl, and that nowhere is against the society.”
About a fortnight back, BCCC had ordered Sony TV to shift the show to a later slot and run a disclaimer scroll during the show stating that it doesn’t promote child marriage. The channel happily obliged and shifted the show to 10:30 pm. But this sudden notice by the ministry has come as a hard blow for the channel.
A source further shared, “TV has never faced the brunt of censorship like this way. It is said that some of the royal families approached the I&B ministry saying that their culture has been mocked on the show. The team thus decided to pull the plug for it was causing too much unrest. It’s a sad incident for it questions the creative liberty of show makers.”
The channel and makers did not want to comment on the matter.
Pehredaar Piya Ki stars Tejasswi Prakash and Afaan Khan in the lead roles.