Look's like television channels have taken it upon themselves to spread more than a word or two about social awareness.
Be it child marriage, adult education, female infanticide or widow re-marriage, every second show these days seems to be based on some or the other social issue. But one wonders whether all this is only an easy way to boost the TRPs.
Battle for the TRPs?
Balika Vadhu, one of the pioneers of this trend focused on adult education in a village. The show was getting great applause for it until it succumbed to the cliched formula of the bhartiya nari sticking by her husband's side despite him going astray to apparently up the TRP ratings.
Rakesh Paswan, producer of Afsar Bitiya, a show that propagates education for girls clarifies, "We are from the entertainment industry and are not out to make a documentary. Our shows have to entertain the viewer and if we can interweave a social message in it then that's a winner."
Sukesh Motwani, programming head of a leading entertainment channel says, "It can be safely said that the subjects tackled in these shows definitely create awareness."
He cites the examples of several of their previous shows, "In Saat Phere, we tackled the subject of a dark-skinned girl who faces prejudice owing to her skin colour, yet succeeds in making a mark with her values.
In Agle Janam Mohe Bitiyan Hi Kijo, we showed how a farmer has to sell his daughter to get money. The poverty and hunger highlighted the sad plight of farmers in our country."
He continues, "Aap Ki Antara was a show about an autistic girl. Our new show, Punar Vivah highlights the concerns of a divorcee with kids getting married. These are real issues and we try to give an edge to it with the necessary drama."
Not only fiction, the non-fiction genre is also feeling the impact. Actor Aamir Khan has been roped in to do a chat show tentatively titled Mera Bharat Mahaan based on social causes. It is said to be inspired by The Oprah Winfrey Show and according to the actor it is about India and real life characters.