Displaced concern

Regressive Serial

Displaced concern

Lost cause: A still from the show  ‘Pratigya’ on Star Plus

Remember the old proverb — morning shows the day? It may hold true for many aspects of our life, but it is definitely not true for most television shows. A number of them started off with a promise, but beyond a few months, ended up being the same like any other show on the small screen.

A case in point is the trend of socially-relevant serials that started some time back. They garnered popularity as they claimed to be different that the tried and tested saas-bahu sagas but today, it seems those serials too are suffering from ageing disorders and delivering stuff that is far from what they had initially offered. Examples include shows like Agle Janam Mohe Betiyan Hi Kijo, Balika Vadhu among others.

Today a large section of the audience feels that be it wife harassment, dowry or eve-teasing, serials that started against them, actually publicise them more than warranted and in turn prove to be regressive rather than progressive stories. Something similar seems to have happened with the once-popular Pratigya.

The serial that broke many a record on Star Plus because of its unique anti-eve teasing storyline, seems to have changed track completely. Today, it’s boiled down to a tale where a woman is humiliated at home, her self respect trampled on by her in-laws and husband instead of portraying her to be a strong woman who stands her ground.

When it started, Pratigya was supposed to be the story of an ordinary girl not taking things lying down and deciding to hit back to reclaim her respect in the society. She is molested by a man who later falls in love with her and they both eventually get married.
The story moves on to her marital life and the kind of challenges she encounters and the constant pressure of answering the question of whether she did the right thing by marrying her molestor.

The simplicity of the story and the common situation that it portrayed, made it relatable to everyone, both in rural and urban India. Sanjay Gupta, COO, STAR, says, “With Pratigya, we bring alive an icon whose journey all women can relate to, identify with and be inspired by. Breaking stereotypes, we have created a protagonist who is not a victim but a reformer.”

But is that really the case even today? Aren’t we seeing lead character more of as a victim? Expectedly the caste and crew of the serial disagree. Explains actress Pooja Gaur, who plays the lead role in the show, “Every woman has been through a situation wherein she has felt helpless or has made a choice against her wishes under family or societal pressures. Pratigya’s story is that of a young girl who finds the courage to take her own decision which not only transforms her life but also changes how society looks at her.”

Is that what makes it possible for the show to skyrocket to popularity in such a short time?

Agreed that the show did become popular, but isn’t it’s popularity nosediving now? Is Pratigya the same show that it used to be two years back when it started? Producer Pearl Grey feels they are still continuing to send a strong message against eve-teasing. She says, “We want our message to reach out to every nook and corner of the country. Today eve teasing is something that affects all girls in our country. This serial talks about one such girl and is proving to be an inspiration for everyone.”

Pearl also feels that whatever the submissiveness of the lead character on the show is to make it more real and something everyone can relate to. “I did not want to portray sugar-coated or gray characters like what is done in most serials. Thankfully the audience liked the reality that we portrayed on a functional show.”

Point taken, but considering the audience that we have and how television impacts rural and urban India, don’t the producers have a responsibility to showcase more positive stuff? Instead we are having more and more shows like Raaz Pichle Janam Ka, which are promoting superstitions and perhaps creating a lot of damage. One just hopes, future shows do not fall into the same trap.

Comments (+)