Shifting themes

Shifting themes


The trend of making serials on social issues continues after producers tasted success with Balika Vadhu and Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Keejo. Not only did these shows pass on a strong message to the audience, but also brought about a change in the way producers approached storylines.

The latest to join the queue is Star TV with its fresh off the mint serial — Sajan Ghar Jaana Hai. The serial that went on air from August 5 on Star Plus (Monday to Friday at 8:30 pm), is the story of a young bride and how she struggles to make a place in her husband’s house. Set against the backdrop of rural Uttar Pradesh, the story brings into focus the fate of women who are abandoned by their husbands, and are left to deal with life all alone with the society caring two hoots.

Is this Star’s attempt at settling scores with rivals Zee and Colors? Both the channels had tasted early success with their serials — Agle Janam and Balika Vadhu — on social issues in rural India and Star did not have a good answer to counter them. Sajan Ghar Jaana Hai may just offer Star the much needed fillip to win back the number one slot. Understandably, Star authorities deny any such move. Says Vivek Bahl, Senior Creative Director, Star Plus, “This is a story that offers viewers a new insight into the life and struggle of women in India. We hope to reach out to and make a difference in the lives of many women through this show while providing our viewers a show that entertains.”
Sajan Ghar Jaana Hai is the story of Dhaani — a young, shy, naive girl and her transition from being a dutiful daughter to a devoted wife. Dhaani gets married to Amber, a handsome and an affluent boy, but does not get her due in her husband’s house. Because of her background, she is always forced to play second fiddle.

In fact, within some time of her getting married, Amber’s parents force him to get married to Sarla, a rich girl who meets his family’s social status. This leaves Dhaani homeless and distressed. That is when perseverance and inner strength comes to help and she continues to perform her duties as a wife despite the adversities surrounding her life.
The serial has an all new team, right from the director (Shashi Mittal), writer (Sumit Mittal) and lead pair (Kunal Bhatia and Preeti Saxena). Shashi and Sumit Mittal were part of a key writing team in Rajashri Productions and decided to launch their own show after a lot of deliberation and discussion. Interestingly, both the male and female protagonists come from a non-filmy background and pursued their interests, almost accidentally.

 Preeti, who plays the role of Dhaani used to be an airhostess and had been flying for more than one and a half years when she bumped into director Shashi Mittal on one of her flights. “I got my first offer for a serial 36,000 feet above sea level! He saw me on the flight and decided that I would be suitable for the role in Sajan Ghar Jaana Hai. He asked me to contact him later, which I did. After passing a few rounds of auditions, I finally decided to quit my job as an airhostess and join the entertainment industry.”

Kunal Bhatia, who plays Amber, has an even more interesting story to tell. A qualified civil engineer from IIT Delhi, Kunal was working with an insurance company before the lure of glamour world brought him to Mumbai. “I always wanted to be part of a creative job. Though I worked with the insurance company for more than nine months, I never got job satisfaction and took this risk of joining the entertainment industry against the wishes of my family. I had earlier participated in a talent hunt organised by Star Plus and that is how I got this offer,” explains the actor who has had no formal training in acting. “I hope to learn on the job and you will see me improve with every episode.”

 Both Preeti and Kunal hail from Agra and Faridabad in Uttar Pradesh. This made it easier for them to speak in the dialect required for the serial and also appreciate and understand the story better than others who have never experienced such situations.
“Unfortunately, multiple marriages still happen in Uttar Pradesh, largely because of dowry. Sajan Ghar... will be a good vehicle to highlight the plight of those hapless women on national television,” says a concerned Kunal. Adds Preeti, “Thankfully, the only resemblances I have with the character in my real life is my origins in Uttar Pradesh and the love for my mother. The serial does highlight a serious problem in the villages of Uttar Pradesh.”

Considering the wide reach of satellite television today, hopefully the show will lead to the concerned authorities and general public to take note of this problem and bring it to an end.