Indian television programs or Indian serials are television programs written, produced and filmed in India. Television programs or serials are made in different languages, emphasising different ethnicities and cultures. They are broadcasted in different parts of India.
India’s first television drama was Hum Log (Hindi) which aired in 1984-85 and concluded with 154 episodes. Some of the popular longest running serials with episodes more than 1000 episodes were Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi (Hindi), Char Divas Sasuche (Marathi), Abhishekam (Telugu). Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah (Hindi) (2008-present) is the longest-running TV show in India. These dramas or serials deal with issues in families due to a patriarchal ideology.
A 2007 study on cable showed that the dramas decreased the acceptability of domestic violence toward women and the preference for a male child over a daughter. With the increased participation of women in household decision-making, we have a long way to go to embed an ethical conscience in people through Indian TV serials.
Many viewers argue that Indian TV serials are too long, pathetic and worse and have a meaningless ending to character and story arcs. Here’s why.
Prominent families – Most Indian dramas involve a joint family living together under the same roof. It was in the olden times, but it no longer makes sense, as families have habited to live separately and meet for festivals or other celebrations.
Costumes, costumes and costumes – Men and Women in Indian TV serials always wear new costumes. They do not repeat costumes. TBH, where do they find these outfits? Indian TV serials do not know the meaning of nightwear or light clothes. Women wear jewellery and neat makeup and go to sleep, which is unrealistic. Everyone wears themed outfits when there is a marriage or a function. And everyone wears shining heavy outfits on a regular day.
Poor character arcs – Characters whose presence does not make sense are always there. Even the drama’s main characters are killed off or dropped from the show. Because the actors want to quit or because of any disagreement giving them a meaningless ending and letting everything developed all these years go to waste. The characters rarely learn from their mistakes and keep repeating the same mistakes. They are forgiven again and again.
Lame jokes – Indian TV drama jokes are centred around body-shaming, baseless rumours, hatred, disrespect, mental health, and patriarchal ideologies.
Dumb villains – Indian TV drama villains come out of the blue to seek revenge after a few years or become a villain because something unsettling or uncomfortable happened. They do not have a meaningful background story. The logic behind their hatred is beyond understanding. Most of the time, their plan to take down the protagonists fails because they mess with them or are too dumb for the protagonists to find out about it.
Unwanted dramatic situations – Perhaps writer’s block calls for these situations. These situations do not define a character’s element nor help improve a character arc. Situations always build up suspense in the coming soon episodes, which most of the time turn into nothing.
Too many weddings and functions – There is always a wedding or a function just around the corner. The next big thing for protagonists and central roles in an Indian tv serial is getting married or having a kid. Functions follow weddings due to Indian marriage rituals or auspicious occasions or festivals. How much budget do these serials have to keep throwing parties?
Too many kidnaps – Heroine always gets kidnapped. And the hero always saves her. Not the police. Rarely we have seen heroines bravely yet dramatically saving heroes. Kidnaps especially happen during a conflict between the hero and heroine
Too many internal conflicts – How many internal conflicts can a family get through? It’s as if they do not learn about each other’s tastes and opinions and are ready to hop into a fight of long, never-ending emotional monologues. They talk after blaming and disrespecting a person’s character about why or if the person did something wrong.
Do they have an actual job? – Men are always lurking around the house and sitting in the home office or the hall room, pretending to take calls and get work done, or they are shown to leave to the office. Few tv serials show the actual workplace of these characters. Suppose they are getting salaries or improving the economy through their business. In that case, their expenditures and savings are always a big mystery.
Women are always in the house – Very few Indian tv serials show working women, usually one or two women from a joint family. They are always in the kitchen or the prayer room or setting the dining table. And when not, probably solving an unresolved issue or a family mystery, all while in the house. I mean, talk about work from home.
Toxic love normalised – The main characters’ love arc almost always takes a toxic turn. The hero is either extremely possessive or highly disrespectful towards the heroine. Heroes love channelling all the negative energy happening in their lives toward heroines. And heroines take disrespect with patience. And try to figure out what the hero is struggling with without actually having a conversation with him. Women are used to emotional abuse, blackmail, and domestic violence, from the person they love or are married to because all is fair in love and marriage.
Is the message being received? – Indian tv serials claim to portray the tackling of sensitive issues and the negative impact of patriarchy. However, the message given is unclear. Viewers, primarily conventional Indian families, do not seem to comprehend or relate to the message given.
Latest Indian tv serial plots and characterisation has seen significant growth in recent times. Still, long-running shows seem to stick with old methods of portrayal on screen or are going backwards rather than forwards with their plots.