Progressive Regression – The Daily Soap Saga

Progressive Regression - The Daily Soap Saga

The controversy surrounding “Pehredaar Piya Ki”, the daily soap which revolves around a 9-year-old boy who marries a grown-up woman double his age, deepened enough to prompt the BCCC to push the show to a late night slot with a disclaimer. But it was not strong enough to stop the serial altogether. In fact the controversy might have piqued the interest of some and that will eventually help the serial build its viewership and TRP. What makes me say that is because there is another online petition started by supporters against the ban. They claim that news and media are distorting and misleading the viewers. Ridiculous as it may sound, it has still managed to garner over 13 thousand supporters so far. The reason for this odd marriage is presumably to allow the girl to become his caretaker and protect him from his evil family who are after his property. Since when did marriage become a prerequisite to care taking? The premise on which daily soaps run nowadays border on nonsense. And apparently for lack of better content makes the audience lap up whatever is dished out. A TV czarina has gone on record that she makes serials for masses not classes. For classes, there is digital content where she’s spreading her wings and doing a mighty decent job. The point I’m trying to make is that it IS possible to make good content however it has been conveniently put on the audience who apparently does not know any better. In the name TRP, we have conspiracies, murders, shape shifting (ichadhaari) snakes, reincarnations, rampant illegitimacy, and one night stands being shoved down our throats. I come from the generation who has seen the genesis of TV in India. We had fewer channels, fewer shows but some really path breaking content for its time. Who can forget “Udaan”, the story of the struggles of a girl named Kalyani Singh who joined IPS? Scores of girls were inspired by her grit and how she and her father stood against all odds to make it happen. Then there was “Buniyad’ that spoke about widow marriage in the backdrop of partition. “Tamas” was another feature with partition as the protagonist. Serials like “Kachchi Dhoop” and “Teenage Turmoil” spoke about aches and pains of growing up in a manner that was comforting without being preachy. And not all was about social issues. We had comedies, candy floss and infotainment the content of which is still unmatched. It’s sad to see the sharp decline of the Indian television and the black hole it has become. The creativity has been completely sucked out and mindless rubbish is spewed out. It probably all began with “Kyunki Saas bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi” that was Smriti Irani’s claim to fame. And ironically enough she in her capacity as the I&B minister, has taken a strong objection to the show. To give credit to her at least she is acknowledging that something IS seriously wrong.

Bad content is only part of the trouble. The bigger issue that we may not be able to foresee is, how surreptitiously it might be affecting our psyche. With remote in the hands of the woman of the house, what is she taking from such shows? That it is ok to conspire and bitch, that mothers in law and daughters in law can never gel, and a lady’s boundaries are still limited to the home and hearth. Let us stop and ponder about it. The younger generation may not be watching them actively, but when the TV blares at home, they tend to soak it all in, in its full gore. With such regressive stuff filling their brains, I am sure at a subconscious level damage is being done. Although a much superior digital content is out for the consumers but its accessibility is still limited. Though of course if things stay unchanged, I’m sure that we’ll live to see the day when obituaries to daily soaps shall be read out. So either the producers buckle up and do something about it or wait for the death knell.   Picture credit-

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