Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Stereotypes and Prejudices of Indian Television

Stereotypes and Prejudices of Indian Television

Television has really come a long way since the Buniyaad and Humlog days .Today every other channel has raining variety of daily soaps to entertain the audience starting from young love stories for the youth audience like Navya or Geet hui sabse parayi to saas-bahu kitchen politics and drama for the family audience like Pavitra Rishta or Saathiya to suspense thrillers for both set of audiences like CID or reality shows like KBC and Big boss for our daily dose of entertainment.

But still time and again one question which has been constantly raised on Television is that whether the channels and producers are extra cautious when it comes to their quality of shows and so they have no choice but to follow the stereotypical genre of shows and play it safe for the Trp giving viewers?

We have shows made on Punjabi families, Gujarati families ,Bengali families and Marathi families which are being liked by all but we have rarely shows made on Muslim or South Indian families and the question is why? Is it becaause the producers want to play it safe and go with the majoirty of trp giving viewers?

Today our TV Industry is filled with popular Khans like Iqbal Khan, Hina Khan, Ejiaz Khan, Sara Khan who are some of the top telly actors today but why is that our telly shows never has a Khan in it? Why is it that a Television never comes out with "My Name is Khan" or "Khuda ke Liye" type of a project  which are appreciated worldwide on big screen? Are our producers and channel too scared to experiment here on small screen? .

The last successful project on small screen which was based on a Muslim background was Sony's popular show Heena which ran for so many years and saw huge popularity among all section of viewers but after that no producer really gave it a thought to make another Heena type of a show and we wonder why, when our TV Industry as well as film industry is filled with so many popular Khans whom viewers just adore.

Normally channel and producers believe that they want to invest in shows which can connect with general audience. So are our producers afraid that a show made on Muslim background might not really connect with the Trp viewers?

There are several films made in bollywood and south indian film industry which has beautifully presented a love story between a hindu and a muslim boy-girl like Bombay .So why cant small screen have similar shows based on a mix of Hindu and Musilm culture which  can entertain both section of Hindu and Muslim community not just in India but also worldwide with stories based on friendship between a hindu and a muslim which can  increase the tolerance between two communities  and which will reduce the tiff between both like we had earlier seen in popular Bollywood films like Heena made under RK banner .

There is always the scare of whether the Trp viewers who are more immune to our daily dose of Gujju shows or Punjabi shows might not accept this sudden change but unless the makers come out with something different and try to experiment with something unique, how can one bring a change in our TV world? Its high time that India being a secular nation, our TV producers and channel should try to break the stereotypical image of our TV shows and try to make shows which can portray all the communities equally so that people from other religions dont feel neglected and this way through television one can show India's strength is its unity and harmony between all the communities.

Television today is a very popular medium and we have seen so many cases in real lives where someone is inspired from a fictional character in a daily soap and tries to follow the footsteps of that fictional character. Television has seen popular Bahus like Tulsi and Parvati becoming role models for everyone and in the recent times bahus like Gopi, Pratigya, Geet, Archana and Anandi have also proved to be a role model for many. So why cant this same Television medium produce role models in the form of names like Heena or Salma and try to nullify the age-old bridge between both the communities ? .Same goes for the men of our TV shows as well..If TV can create popular eye-candy characters like Krishna, Maan, Armaan, Manav and Dutta Bhau then why can't same TV create characters like Salim or Rizwan Khan?.

 This was a small effort from our Telly Tadka team to try and break the picture of stereotypical formulas and the prejudices which are being followed on Indian TV over the years and we hope that soon this is broken and we get some fresh change in our variety of shows in the coming years.

Author - G.Ganguly
Telly Tadka


  1. Ideally I loved the shows like JJKN and even Hum Log and Buniyaad, they were breakthrough shows and good balance of actors be it the main protagonists or even the supporting actors,
    and content which was believable and excellent screenplay thats most important..
    The shows now a days are just mediocre and the huge s called fans which are just getting these actors too much publicity but the TRP's are due to storyline and the actors come secondary

    The shows which have no storyline or beating around the bush with the same saga or this fan base craze fail to give TRP's and those shows need to be shown the door

  2. Agree......i think todatz tv culture is all about dhokla and khandwi...i mean none is experimenting..i remember shows like...VYOM KESH BAKSHI,LOT POT,HUM PANCHI EK DAAL KE,DEKH BHAI DEKH,UDAAN,AND MANY MORE....the content and d acting was way ahead...........its actually funny these daz d tv actors doesnt look like someone fm us...hw cum d femal lead is alwaz in a banarsi/gotedar sari wid killos of jwelleries......whether its night or day time d maskara is alwaz thr....dadi is dai coz she puts specs or one/two grey
    definitly PH/TEAMS need to cum up wid new ideas n i think audiences are quite mature to accept d new idea...not only d cultures but also d content........
    Id love to see some show which is army based.......they pl do need recognition....still remember hsows like SAMUNDAR.which was a hugehit in its time...

  3. I totally agree! I'd love to see some Muslim based shows. I never watched Heena so I wa completely oblivious that a show based on Muslims even existed, bUt if a show like that ran successfully, then why not attempt to make more similar to it? All of these shows are based If not solely then highly upon TRPs. People die but then get a plastic surgery because the audience want theirfavorite character back. I'm glad they listen to the audience, but why can't we get a more meaningful story that is not only unique but one that doesn't drag on unnecessarily.

  4. the problems with Indian TV shows are:

    1) every soap emanates from a one line concept - they have no structure for the story or its characters - they take it up every day - resulting in NONSENSE storylines

    2) G, u talked about focusing on diverse communities - how would that help? the story writers are superficial at its best!! they have no vision about the shows!!

    3) If the solution lies in having a specific lifetime of shows - so be it !! i remember spectacular shows decades back - Hum Log, Buniyaad, Hasratein, Byomkesh bakshi, Saans, Nukkad, Imtihaan - EVEY one of these had a STORYLINE where the characters were well etched and the plot had direction - not to mention perfect casting !!

    4) lasr question - what exactly is a "youth" show? - one with teenage actors (who aren;t even trained in diction - forget acting!!!!) wearing "hip" clothes? or should it be stories taling about issues pertaining to the "youth"? to my educated mind it should be the latter - but the TV scions surely differ!

    Bottomline: Indian TV is getting crasser by the hour and its sad

  5. maybe the channels only give them so much freedom because their scared to upset the audiences like in geet we wanted to atleast see a kiss between maan and geet but no this didn't happen yet india has moved forward in leaps and bounds with people living together without marriage, diverse religions falling in love people from different casts living in peace together but still we stick to safety on t.v the world is changing we either change with it or stagnate you can have change and still keep your values. so instead of making girls look cheap cos they drink or wear western clothes show them doing both while still respecting theirselves because in todays world nobody is that nieave any more no offence intended

  6. ya but jo bhi ho.... all shws r gud... nd kitani mohabbat hae is the best... nd we want it back soon at any cost....

  7. very nice article and thoughts...good job reporter.