Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Film-maker Madhur Bhandarkar said during an interview that “Indian audiences don’t like to see reality on screen, they see enough of that in life”. Bhandarkar is known for making “real” films, but he might have hit the nail on the head. Perhaps that is why Indian TV doesn’t normally depict “reality” on screen — preferring instead to hide behind yards of brocade sarees and scheming mothers-in-law and coy brides.
On Sunday though, Bollywood actor Aamir Khan chose to tell the story of a different kind of Indian woman — one that doesn’t get to live. On the first episode of his new talk show “Satyamev Jayate”, Khan chose to talk about female foeticide, a rampant issue in India, where the sex ratio is currently at its lowest since independence.
The 47-year-old interviewed women who had been forced to abort their girl children, reporters who had conducted sting operations on the issue and researchers who had done considerable work in the field.
As Khan himself noted, countless people have worked to save these little girls. I wonder how they must feel when they see an issue so close to their hearts being discussed on prime-time television on a show that’s already being talked about.
Last night, between 9 pm and 11 30 pm, my phone was working over time. Calls were going back and forth, messages were being exchanged and opinions voiced – all of them discussing only one thing – the inmates of Bigg Boss, Tritiya (as host Amitabh Bachchan calls it.)
Why is Rakhi Sawant’s mother in? Why does Kamaal Khan call himself KRK? Sherlyn Chopra as a bai in the house? Not just me, but a lot of bloggers and netizens were updating Twitter and Facebook with every little detail of yesterday’s launch episode.
After reigning for more than eight years on television and pretty much dictating the way kitchen politics was played out in Indian homes, “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi” is finally going off air.
One of India’s longest running soaps, which chronicled the lives of the Virani family, and made superstars out of Smriti Irani and the humble Gujarati snack of thepla (a flatbread made with fenugreek and chickpea flour), was also the harbinger of a whole new era in Indian television.