Priya Ramani, editor of Mint's weekend suppliment Lounge, writes what I have been thinking hard since the past couple of days. Balika Vadhu, a popular Indian TV serial on Colours channel has gained much attention from the public, especially those that were fatigued by the 'K' saas-bahu serials that went on and on. Plus, Balika Vadhu dealt with child marriages and the ills that came along with it, so it kind of picked up a very realistic social evil and brought it right in the middle of living rooms. Even fresh viewers like me, who had stopped watching Indian TV serials for ages, got hooked.
But Balika Vadhu seems to be heading nowhere. Months have passed and child brides there still continue to suffer from the family matriarch's dictatorship. Where is the retribution? Do we have to wait for five years (assuming it will run as long as the 'K' serials did) before we see an uprising enough to justify Balika Vadhu's existence and its underlining the message that it flashes at the end of each episode reminding us that child marriages are bad? Hello, they don't need to remind us that child marraiges are bad, I think we need to remind them.
Besides, as Ramani also says, another upcoming serial called Na Aana Iss Des Lado is now advertised where a new-born baby girl is shown to being drowned by the village men because, guess what, a girl child is a burden. Just because Balika Vadhu has become a hit, Colours seem to have caught on a formula to make TV serials; pick up a social evil, make a TV serial around it, show a lot of suffering, and then as they say, tears bring TRPs. The latest twist in the Balika Vadhu serial where the groom is unceremoniously and suddenly bumped off, makes me wonder where this serial is going. Also, as Ramani rightly reminds us, serials like Rajni were the best examples of how to fight social evils. Watching Balika Vadhu doesn't help in that regard. Atleast I have switched off.