Tales from Other Lands – Part – IV
There is another successful narrative structure as for as Indian televisions are concerned. It’s the conflict within a big joint family (what else then). The father might have a second wife, may be more if he is capacious enough. Want equality? A woman having two husbands is the plot. Not a bad idea. The conflicts that rise due to this are enough for a marathon 300 episodes.
While I was in my teens there was a serial named ‘Swabimaan’( Self-respect). Continuous and careful following is mandatory for it. If one misses the soap for a week or so, you may not be able to crack the puzzle, who-goes-with-whom. The pairs in the serial will be shuffled periodically, I had assumed then. I still don’t understand what justice the title does to the content of the soap.
Or for a family otherwise full of angels, either an evil mother-in-law or a rude daughter-in-law will sprung up on the screen. This too is a proven plot. The way I say I highlight all these may be sarcastic, but not the impact. These TV serials reiterate the long forgotten idiotic sentiments and superstitions. They bring about things, to our living rooms daily, what the social reformers gave their life time to uproot from this society. They saw high pessimism among the viewers and, after some time the viewer in his real life will look every one with doubt. The soaps make one feel no one is trust worthy in this world and life is a misery. Success is something a forbidden truth for the protagonist. No matter what she/he tries they reap failures and end up with problems.
The positive outlook about life and this world is made to give a second thought, thanks to the serials. The children who accompany the elders in viewing this trash, are the worst affected. They tend to think that this is all life is about, misery and agony, and nothing is beyond this. They learn to talk beyond their age mostly by unguided viewing of the daily soaps. The effects of serials on sociological and psychological perspectives are worse than our assumptions. TV soaps corrupt our society and we need to address this right now.