Viewers love drama but is it really OK to blur the lines just because you have the creative license to do it? To go to any extent, to cross a line in the name of entertainment? Is extreme brutality in the name of drama a must to make the show dramatic and entertaining?
Here are 3 shows currently on air which has shown extreme brutality and to some extent continue to do so in the name of drama and entertainment.
Ghulam: From a woman being force-fed burning coal to the female lead Shivani of the show being tortured in unimaginable ways just so that she would agree to sleep with her supposed husband Veer who in reality isn’t her husband but the master of her husband Rangeela to Veer assaulting Shivani’s old uncle there are no limits to the atrocities shown in Life OK’s Ghulam. Does naming the village “Berahampur” (Bereham meaning merciless) and tagging it as the ‘City of Crimes’ truly give the makers of the series the creative license to show whatever brutality they wish?
Research shows that ‘Slavery’ still prevails in certain parts of India. It’s a social evil that needs to uprooted and cast out but instead we have a prime-time show glorifying the same in the name of entertainment. In this time and age where women are taught to not endure domestic abuse/torture, and encouraged to speak against such cruelty; here is a show where the daughter-in-law of the house getting physically hit for the first time is celebrated with pomp and gaiety. Yes, it is fiction. It is unreal. Shivani, Rangeela, Veer and the remaining characters don’t exist but is this truly what we want our shows to project out to the society in the name of entertainment? Pray tell what is entertaining about watching a woman getting tortured or themes such as domestic abuse and slavery?
Dil Bole Oberoi: Star Plus show Ishqbaaz’s spin off Dil Boley Oberoi is another show which resorted to showcasing brutality for the sake of entertainment. While we have the vamp of the show Svetlana plotting to kill anyone and everyone coming in the way of her plans in various ways one can say it is simply the tip of the ice-berg. Gauri is black-mailed into marrying Thakur by threatening to harm her mother using burning coal. Gauri is kept in check by keeping her legs tied in cuffs and just when you think ‘The poor girl has to marry the wicked man against her wishes’, the show throws another googly where she is being wed off to not one man but three. #Baffled. Another sequence that would make ones very skin crawl was how Gauri was buried in a pit dug in the earth with just her head above ground so that she could be stoned to death. Why? Because she refused to marry a man who was trying to marry her against her will?
Interestingly when a snake comes to save Gauri who is a huge devotee of Mahadev, all the villagers stand still in their path, because how can anyone hurl stones at Naagdevta? It would be a religious crime, wouldn’t it? But the very people had no qualms about stoning a human being who according to various religious scriptures is said to be created in God’s image. So for the sake of entertainment it is OK to show how less precious a human life is.
Kaala Teeka: Oh My Mata (Thank you Pinky Ji for the catch phrase) !!! Zee TV’s show Kaal Teeka is an epic combination of brutality and superstition. It can even be said the former stems from the latter. From Vishwaveer trying to murder a pregnant Kaali by pushing her off the cliff to trying to murder a child because it would allegedly be the reason for Vishwaveer’s death. Kids were snatched, threatened to be killed and what not. Eventually it turned out to be nothing but a hoax. But to get to that point, to prove that the concept of Kaala Teeka was nothing but a superstition blown out of proportion to give it some credibility the course of the journey chosen by the makers was filled with cruelty.
Television as an entertainment medium is quite different from the others. And Indian prime time dramas are altogether a different ball game. Our prime-time drama series don’t follow the season format as in the west; they are neither aired once a week and wrapped up in 22-24 episodes like Pakistani dramas nor are they of finite episodes. Hindi prime time drama series goes on to become a part of the lives of its viewers, regardless of it being fictional due to its telecasting format. They visit you like clock work during a specific time of the day and leaves only to return the very next day. When such is the scenario shouldn’t the makers and creatives of these shows draw a line on what should be shown and what not?
Author: Vijitha Rajan