Updated: May 5
A cursory glance at Indian television serials still shows angry mothers-in-law, weeping daughters-in-law, women carrying out the household chores decked up in blingy, ethnic outfits, and bedecked in jewelry. Yes, a certain level of suspension of disbelief is expected from entertainment programmes.
But, when female characters are consistently stereotyped as ‘timid, obedient = good’ and ‘assertive, questioning = bad’, it does add to the innate sexism and patriarchal notions already embedded in the mindset of the masses.
Mirroring Indian Society
Women portrayal in the Indian television is one of the disputable issues surrounding the media today. The ‘saasbahu’ dramas revolving around various themes such as love, family and marriage often touch upon various women’s issues. From teenagers to grandmothers, the entertaining story-lines of these serials have got the audience hooked on to them. Unfortunately, these central theme of daily soaps stereotypes gender roles in Indian households and indirectly contributes to the social degeneration of society.
A manual for domestic violence
Many daily soaps highlight different issues and taboos in our society and raises questions about the same. One perfect example is Life OK’s 2013 show Dil Se Di Dua... Saubhagyavati Bhava where the plot touches upon the delicate issue of domestic violence. The negative character (Viraaj) in the show was played by Telly Town’s famous villain Karanvir Bohra as the protagonist who suffers from temper issues and over possessiveness. He not only just tortures and abuses his on-screen wife (Jhanvi) played by SririJhabut also rapes her regularly. The daily soap was heavily criticized back then because of the violence shown openly, and for normalizing the issue.
Imparting a lesson
The serial ends with the thought process that people like him (in real life) need to be treated medically by a psychiatrist for their anger issues. Similarly,women who are faced with issues such as mental harassment, physical torture for money, dowry, etc., should be strong and fight back for their rights rather than fearing their husband and in-laws.
Since that tragedy serial, many TV serials have started talking about women’s rights, education, and other issues which is a silver lining.
Amidst all this, there’s a wave of change in our daily soaps with more progressive and self-assured women, ready to take the world. These serials are being praised for displaying a realistic image of modern India and its women. The new Indian woman tackles things independently, without her husband's/brother's/father's help.
The versatile actor
It is said that playing a negative character is the most difficult to perform on screen but Karanvir Bohra aced it so perfectly. He has created a niche for himself in the Indian households as hedons many hats of an Indian television and film actor, producer and designer. He has starred in some popular TV shows such as ‘Kasautii Zindagii Ki’, ‘Shararat’, ‘Naagin 2’ and ‘Qubool Hai’ and in films such as ‘Kismat Konnection’ and ‘Mumbai 125 KM’. He has previously participated in reality shows like ‘Bigg Boss 2018’, ‘Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 6’ and ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi Darr Ka Blockbuster’.
Kudos to Karanvir, who is a loving husband and father of two beautiful girls, to portray such a strong character. Through his character, he has tried to tell the society that it’s required to stand up against such practices happening in every nook and corner of the country. People suffering from temper issues or highly possessive traits should be treated immediately to help them alter their character as well.