Serial watching

04 Jul
Reshma Venugopal

I've noticed a very popular trend in India, and this is the older generation watching tv series. Also known as serials in India, I would like to know what people see in these serials? I have many people in my family who watch them, especially the ones on popular Hindi tv serial channels, and sometimes when I see them, I lose my mind. Because they make absolutely no sense and paint such a larger than life scenario. I feel like they do not really tackle serious topics which need to be discussed. Why are people so addicted to these series when it's the same reoccurring theme- mother-in-law and daughter-in-law conflicts, in every serial. It's always about one super woman who takes so many issues in hand and solves all the problems in the world, but her own. Is it the drama that attracts people? Do the producers and directors even think their scripts through? And moreover, how do they help our society? 

Responses 5

  • Priya Ratti
    Priya Ratti   Jul 06, 2017 06:09 PM


    Well, TV soaps and serials are the product of a a very high grossing entertainment industry that feeds on TRPs. Easily, people watch them because its entertainment. Housewives and old, retired people who find some idle hours at the high noon sit flipping channels and enjoying their share of entertainment from the TV serials that we consider too lame. I think they serve the purpose they were made for, all too well- to let people pass their time with some reckless story line that serves equal amounts of salt and pepper. Plus, its usually great fodder for people to discuss as they meet for a cup of tea.

    I agree with you, they make zero sense. But a lot of people have a lot of time to pass, and these shows facilitate just that. Moreover, coming to your concern of these shows not being informative, well, if anyone wanted information they would just flip over to Nat Geo or Discovery. The people who watch tv soaps watch them for pure entertainment and for getting away from their reality for maybe an hour or two. For some it's getting away from reality, but there is also a huge majority that watches serials because they relate to the all too familiar themes of families fighting, and the conflicts between a mother and daughter in law. They relate to it, and thus they continue to watch.

    There's no getting away from it, I believe, because these shows have too many audiences. Guess this will be another one of those terrible afflictions our society is going to have to deal with.

  • Radhika Goel
    Radhika Goel   Jul 05, 2017 04:16 PM

    Hey, your concern is quite relevant. My grandfather watche atkeast 10 hours of Tv in a day. He however switches between the news and drama serials and likes to keep himself infromed of everything. I would like you to answer two questions. Firstly, are people watching these serials due to the dearth of shows that talk about relevant issues or the industry today is making these shows to provide for what the audience wants?

    I do relaise these two situations are codependent on one another but it is important to know what is a major factor. Like someone else mentioned for their mother it is an ascape from reality, similarly for the audience of these shows it could be about watching a series of events unfold and not be involved in it's conswequences. Our generation spends time watching Tv as well. We just prefer to watch drama unfold in foreign tv shows because that is something we asscoiate more with and wanted to keep up with the trends. However, we indulge in the same habits as our elders just in a different language or genre.Honestly, how many of the shows we watch talk about political or social issues? They are infact dicriminating on baisis of color, religion, country on an international level.

    Producers and writers will produce what gets them an audience, there are shows and events that talk about relevant issues, one should just have a desire to look for them and consequently watch.

  • Shubhanshi Singh
    Shubhanshi Singh   Jul 05, 2017 01:34 PM

    To be honest, this question has been bugging me too. I come home and see my mom engrossed in these TV series which are absolute non sense.
    Let's say they watch it because they have a lot of free time but then the question is, why not watch news instead?
    The answer is identification and relation. My mom relates with few characters and she cannot miss the shows involving those characters.
    I asked her once why does she relate to these characters and what would happen if she uses her time watching news instead? She told me that her own decisions and lifestyle is guided by how the protagonist in the series handles things. Infact she told me how she takes notice of the fashion trends depicted in these Indian series that are emerging and provides her cues about things she should buy.
    That is when it hit me how media has been influencing our mindset and how we need to change the themes of tv series to more productive and informative.
    I think it's all about habit. Once we make our mind to utilise time in a better way, we can achieve it. (If not then I can't argue with my mom, she is the one behind my pocket money afterall)

    SAKSHI BAJAJ   Jul 05, 2017 01:53 AM


    Your concern is very relevant and genuine. The televison scenario in India has deteriorated significantly over the past 3-4 years. The content is cringeworthy and nothing that would benefit the society is being portrayed as of now. Televison is a widespread medium of communiaction and maximum number of middle-class or even the labour class depend on it for info-tainment. Since, it is the most powerful tool to influence so many lives, the content that is still being shown should be scrutinised by the concerned authorities. It is high time we get rid of the archaic saas-bahu dramas and create content that is real and relevant. With shows like sasural simar ka, where the protaganist turns into a fly or a snake every other day and the fact that shows like Naagin still gain such high TRP's proves that the dark age of Hindi Television is going on. That is one of the reasons for the massive popularity of web series. Youngsters are more inclined towards such content and also the viewership of American television shows has gone up exponentially. The content is much better and we relate to it more. On the other hand, Hindi daily soaps showcase blatant sexism and misogyny in their shows. Even in the 21st century women in these dramas are wearing clothes and jewellery that weigh 50kgs and aspiring to be the ideal bahus. We need to create srong and real female characters so that people take something from them and apply that in their lives. The television industry needs an urgent and drastic makeover, if it wants more people to relate to it. Also, we as viewers have a responsibility regarding the quality of conent that we are watching. If we boycott these non-sensical dramas, the producers won't make anything that doesn't sell. It's again supply and demand mostly.

    • Shruti Gupta Delhi
      Shruti Gupta Delhi   Jul 05, 2017 04:47 PM

      You are absolutely right. But the thing is, even if they make content which is not the cliched saas-bahu drama, what else will they make? The point that I am trying to raise here is any other/different or reality oriented content is often cencored or scrutinised by the authorities like crazy. 
      (I will be taking references from movies here.)
      Movies which are female oriented and which emphasie their sexuality or individuality (Lipstick Under My Burqa) are considered against our culture by the CBFC. And this is not where they end. Reality orieted movies like Udta Punjab are censored and are pointed fingers upon saying that it is a bad influence on the youth. I hope I am successfully able to make my point here. 

      The case is the same with television. Unrealistic issues like the 'naagin' drama or the 'saas bahu' absurdity are emphasised and even appreciated as apparently they are in alignment with our culture. This obviously shows blatant hypocrisy of our society but only little can be done about it. The more 'real' the television gets, the more objections and there's no end to it.

    • Reshma Venugopal
      Reshma Venugopal   Jul 05, 2017 11:19 AM

      Thank Sakshi. I literally just had the same fight with my mom, and she says the serials let her escape from her problems in reality. And I'm just like, isn't it better if you rather escape to better and realistic contents rather than the most unrealistic and nonsensical drama? She then argued about how American TV shows are no less.  

      I agree that she may find the content a bit awkward, but the fact is that they are more relatable and are a tad bit more realistic. So if Indian dramas could just showcase more realistic plots, I wouldn't object to people watching it. Sincerely hope people make more discussions on this because it should be a cause for concern. 

  • Nihalika Verma
    Nihalika Verma   Jul 05, 2017 12:20 AM

    Hi Reshma,

    I understand your point. Honestly, people like you, who want to do something productive and efficient with their time, would never watch these shows, and even if you watch it, you wont understand it. It would make no sense to you.

    All of us have indirectly perfect and imperfect lives. 

    People who are positive, would only feel their lives are perfect. But, its also difficult for humans to remain positive ALL the time. We do tend to find imperfections in us and in our lives. So, when we watch these serials, as you say which give a larger than life image, we feel good and happy. Hence, it comforts us.

    There are other kinds of poeple as well, who tend to love their sad and unhappy state. They intend to find some way or the other to shed tears and to feel gloomy. So, when such individuals watch serials, they relate themselves with the pains of the heroine, and hence feel sympathy.

    All in all, its just a matter of entertainment. How, we do it, the choice completely lies with us.

    Chill. :)


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