Change is the only constant. From the days of Hum Log to Kyunki Saas bhi kabhi..., change is so very visible on the Indian television.
Today, it's a new turn for soaps as the home-makers make way for career-oriented women. Move over Tulsi or Parvati, now it's time for Krishnaben Khakhrawala, Gauri and Sarika. Kitchen politics is no longer that hot, as the focus has shifted to the work sphere. Krishnaben Khakhrawala
is an entrepreneur, Devki in Mukti Bandhan is a businesswoman, Gauri from Balika Vadhu and Sarika from Beend Banunga Ghodi Chaddhunga
are medical students, Vibhavari from Mrs Tendulkar is a bank manager, Avani from Maayke Se Bandhi Dor works for a construction company and there are many more examples of career women on small screen now. So why did the shift happen from home-maker bahus to working women on the small screen?
What do television producers feel about it? S Farhaan, producer-writer for Beend Banunga... says, "It is important that the story should have a dash of reality and in real life there are women who take their careers very seriously. So it is important to portray this aspect of life in the soaps. Earlier saas-bahu shows were the flavour, then the action shifted to daughters in social soaps. Today career women lead the race in soaps. The formula that clicks gets 'copied' by other shows.
How do actresses who play these roles feel about their stint as career women? Shweta Munshi who plays Avani in Maayke Se Bandhi Dor says, "I feel glad to essay such a character. For Avani, working is not just about independence but a huge responsibility to support her family. Today's women can relate and connect to a working woman as a protagonist in telly shows. So why not have them in the storylines?" Esha Kansara, who plays Devki in Mukti Bandhan feels the same way, "I play the role of a businesswoman and it gives lots of satisfaction to portray a strong character. Devki wishes to put her business on a progressive mode and I feel the same way about acting. I feel happy that I'm portraying a role that's so real."
It is also interesting to note that these career women are making a mark in their respective fields and are no pushovers. Indira Krishnan says, "Krishnaben is a middle-aged Gujarati lady who is an expert in making different varieties of khakhras. She has worked hard all through her life and she has her own principles that is termed as Krishnagiri by those who know her! And, I'm glad that viewers especially the Gujarati audience has accepted me in this role." And, with acceptance comes ideation.
So even as homemakers still dominate the small screen, there's a fresh whiff of change. And the career woman is going to stay. At least for now, until a new brigade displaces them from the TRP charts.