Five Hindi Television Shows That Failed To Do Justice To Their Progressive Premise

One biggest wish a viewer can have is for the show to remain persistent in the value it has chosen to impart and not bring back the same notions it is trying to fight off. 

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Feminist Hindi serials are what women still dream about even in 2022. We have become vocal in all entertainment mediums of women's rights and social issues why are women even today being treated as vamp and gold diggers in Hindi television shows? Why are these television shows so stubborn in refraining from showcasing progressive women content?

From Anupamaa to Balika Vadhu all the shows succumbed to the pressure and went on a tried and tested path. But why? The answer is in all capitals, TRP, which is Television Rating Point. It is a metric used to determine a show's target audience and reach. It is often the reason why we see most Hindi serials starting at a positive, social commentary and then midway switching to rely on masala.

This masala is often added by degrading the women's character and script to a convenient point where it massages the notions of patriarchy. For example, in the first few episodes of a television show, a woman is shown as strong and emotionally independent, but as the episodes progress, there are women vamps introduced to create problems in the protagonists' life or the protagonist herself becomes all about catering to a certain man in her life.

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But to blame the TRP always would be unfair to it. Often it is a result of convenience, for why try to change the content when we can target a certain group of people and reaffirm their notions on patriarchal values, right? No, it is wrong and needs to change. One biggest wish a viewer can have is for the show to remain persistent in the value it has chosen to impart and not bring back the same notions it is trying to fight off.


Here are five Hindi television shows that failed to do justice to their progressive premise:


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This television show premiered on Star Plus on July 13, 2020. It grew to fame as it addressed women centred conversations. Anupamaa is about the life of a woman, who desires and lived in a household where she is neglected. It is about the journey of a housewife, played by Rupali Ganguly who tries to find  joy and happiness. Sounds nice and away from the stereotypical Hindi serials but wait for the twist. She puts up with her husband, who is cheating on her for in-laws ki izzat (honour)! Another character called Kavya, played by Madalsa Sharma, is expected to work all day and then return home and cook because she is the wife. Vamp mother-in-law exists in this serial too. The show began with the promise to show a woman's life who aspires but went on to indulge in familiar problematic plot lines.

Balika Vadhu 

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When the show premiered, it began with the promise to spotlight the crucial issue of child marriage and sensitively show it on the television screen. It aired more than 2,000 episodes. It began with a child bride Anandi. It did show the plight of child brides and the social evils. It is directed by Sidharth Sengupta and Pradeep Yadav. But as years passed, it became just background noise as the episodes kept adding and actors kept changing. The creators did nothing other than pull the plot to an extent where it snapped and all the social values vanished in the thin air as people lost patience with the show.

Barrister Babu 

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It is a tale about 19-year-old Anirudh Roy Choudhary, who is educated in London and a barrister, returning home to marry his lover but with a twist in the story ends up marrying an 11-year-old girl named Bondita Das. Das was being married off to an elderly man who dies midway into the wedding ceremony. The show directed by Mangesh Kanthale promised a premise where child marriage and sati, social evils is talked about. It showed Choudhary marrying Das to protect her from being forced perform sati or self-immolation. Accepting her as his wife, he helps her get an education. But ultimately midway sends her back home because he blames her for another woman's problem and for "drowning the family's respect." Then comes another woman, who is shown as a trickster and evil. It stars Pravisht Mishra, Aura Bhatnagar, Anchal Sahu and Pranali Rathod, amongst others.

Sapna Babul Ka...Bidaai 

The show first aired on October 8, 2007, and went on till November 7, 2010, on Star Plus. It revolved around the life of two sisters named Ragini, played by Parul Chauhan and Sadhana, played by Sara Khan. They are cousins and best friends to each other. Sapna Babul Ka addressed India's fondness for fair skin and the inherent racism in day-to-day life and particularly in wedding markets. Sadhana's father is in America for work opportunities and she moves in with the Sharmas, Ragini's families. Sadhana has fair skin while Ragini has a dark skin tone. This complicates things for them during the marriage. The show was progressive for its time but ended up showing other women characters in the same stereotypical light and the ultimate idea that even if women stand up on their feet, the ultimate goal is to get them wedded off, hence the show is called Bidaai (farewell).


Kahaan Hum Kahaan Tum

The show focuses on the relationship between a television actor named Sonakshi Rastogi, played by Dipika Kakkar and renowned cardiologist Rohit Sippy, played by Karan V Grover. It aimed to show how they struggled to understand each other and their world, while both making an equal effort to make time for each other. This show is a classic example of what happens because of low TRP. It was not fairing well and there was a constant struggle between TRP value and appeasing critics, told the producer Sandiip Sikcand to The Quint. After many such struggles, they ended up adding masala by suddenly introducing an evil aunt who had tried to murder her brother for the property. Also, Sonakshi, a well-written character suddenly decided to leave her career for the family and the plotline degraded along with prolonged use of dramatic sound effects.

Views expressed are the author's own. 

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