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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Daughter dearest

Father's Day has just gone by. But it seems like it is daughters who rule the world of Indian television.

Written by Prabhjot Sohal | Published: June 28, 2010 3:51:38 am

While the family remains the central theme,daughters become the chief focus of Indian television dramas

Father’s Day has just gone by. But it seems like it is daughters who rule the world of Indian television. As Zee TV gears up to launch its new show Mera Naam Karegi Roshan on July 12 and Star Plus prepares to air Chaand Chupa Badal Mein on June 28,the role of a daughter as the saviour of the family emerges as the predominant theme on Indian soaps. The theme has also been recently explored by other shows. In May,Sahara One launched two shows,Bitto and Shorr,which shows the daughters fighting for their families honour. Sony Entertainment Television’s latest shows,Maan Rahe Tera Pitah and Baat Hamari Pakki Hai carry a similar line of thought.

Women characters have always stayed in focus on Indian television. “Previous shows began with a woman entering her marital home. Details of her upbringing and prior life were missing. Now,while narrating the journey of a woman,there is an attempt to show her as someone’s daughter or sister.” says Sheetal Ladha,programming head,Sahara One,explaining the new trend.

This has come as a welcome change for audiences tired of watching the stereotypical home-maker or home-breaker female characters. This is evident in the case of Bitto and Shorr on Sahara One,Maan Rahe Tera Pitah on Sony and Mera Naam Karegi Roshan on Zee TV—all of them bring the daughter’s in focus even as they explore social evils. Bitto dwells on the struggle of a young girl in a village torn apart by the caste system,while Shorr is the journey of a deaf and mute girl,Kankoo,who fights against social discrimination and in Maan Rahe Tera Pitah,the protagonist Anmol, will go to any extent to protect her father.

However,Vivek Mushran,who plays the female protagonist’s father in Baat Hamari Pakki Hai,feels that there is little experimentation with male characters,and says,“Indian soaps have always been women-centric,while male characters only play the supporting roles. Trends in women roles keep emerging. Today it is the daughter,tomorrow it will be something else.” But Rajan Shahi,the producer of daughter-centric shows like Sapna Babul Ka…Bidaai,Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai and the upcoming Chaand Chupa Badal Mein, feels that with the emergence of father-daughter themes,there is more scope for male characters. “The father’s role is no more the supporting type that we have seen in the past. He is now more fleshed-out with problems of his own,which affect his daughter’s life instead of vice-versa.” J D Majethia the co-producer of Maan Rahe Tera Pitah shares Shahi’s opinion and says,“A strong female character has to be pitted against a strong male character,otherwise the show will collapse.”

Social commentary is also an intrinsic part of the new shows. In the case of Mera Naam Karegi Roshan,the daughter,Reet,carries out ‘the duties of a son’,while her brothers are good for nothing goons. “The idea is to deliver an interesting story. When you add the problem of social evils,people immediately connect,” says Ladha,as she justifies the stark comment on social evils in Bitto and Shorr.

As daughter-themed shows become popular,Pallavi Gupta,who plays the protagonist in Bitto,shares,“Once there is a hit formula,everyone begins to follow it. I feel the daughter-in-distress role is becoming cliched with so many shows following a similar line,” she says,expressing a desire to shift to peppier roles.

However,not all these shows glorify daughters as heroes. In Baat Hamari Pakki Hai on Sony TV,the daughter,Sachi,falls in love with someone her family disapproves of. “Chaand Chupa Badal Mein is a story of an ordinary middle-class girl denying herself love. This show promises to break the clichéd portrayal of love by adopting a realistic one,” says Anupam Vasudev,executive vice president,marketing and communication of STAR India. He hopes the show resonates with women of today.

The attempt to generate a wider appeal and to tap younger audiences seem to be the driving force behind showing women characters in a different light. “In small towns,most households have only one TV set,and mothers and daughters watch the same show together. So we aim to deliver a story that would interest them both. The aim certainly is to add a new section in our audience pool,” shares Ladha,explaining the reason for experimenting with the theme. “Story-telling will keep evolving and new themes will emerge in the future,” she predicts.

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