‘What nonsense!’ My sister-in-law said as we watched one bahu shed endless tears after her husband scolded her for existing.

If we look at our current crop of serials, there will be only one or two, which are not the result of some overworked, cut-out-from-reality scriptwriter’s imagination. But do you ever stop to wonder just what are these serials trying to convey? If you do, you’ll get just one answer: Nonsense.

In this day and age, where we talk about women-equality, in all serials there are bahus in saris with matching jewellery, who treat their husbands like parmeshwars or God. For example, Saathiya, where the innocent (really stupid in my opinion) Gopi keeps trying to get her husband’s attention, who in the beginning hated her and kept telling her she was a big fool. But instead of retaliating, she simply cursed herself, felt guilty, and always did his bidding. Where is her self-respect?

Most of the serials show an average woman in two extremes. Either she’s a scheming and insanely jealous one, who is capable of murder (not kidding!), and the other, ever-sacrificing, dumb girl in search of constant approval. Why can’t they show a normal person, a sensible girl who is caring but smart?

Portrayal Of Women in Indian Television Serials

Moreover, while there are murders being plotted, evil plots being executed, the men, who apparently have a flourishing business, just sit around their houses looking bewildered. Are they implying that the people, who are capable of establishing empires, cannot understand that a person in their own house is pulling off wicked schemes, at an alarming regularity?

These serials also stick to a lot of stereotypes; the mother-in-laws are always unreasonable and demanding, the sister-in-laws are jealous and trying to put the heroine down, etc. Sometimes, it feels like the storywriters were frozen in the 1970s, and they woke up suddenly in 2000s, and began to write, without even bothering to look out of their window.

The women media portray are so different from reality. There are many who watch these serials just for entertainment, but for those who take them seriously, imagine the wrong influence that they would have! Women may begin to compare their bahus with the ones in the serials, while husbands may expect their wives to be silent martyrs.

When I voice my opinions aloud, my brother has a tendency to say; ‘Don’t use your brains’. Is that what the directors are banking upon? Let’s give out wrong and orthodox messages through our work, and hope that the viewer doesn’t think much about it.

Why do they refrain from showing sensible things, like families adjusting to live in harmony, friendship and sensibility between the in-laws, husbands who treat their wives like life-partners rather than subordinates?

These show makers really need to take a look into their work, and try to bring in characters and stories, which reflect today or an optimistic possible tomorrow. Indian television serials today really needs a drastic makeover and fast.