Posted: 19 May 2011 at 1:15am | IP Logged
I found a Times of India article about the way Gujaratis etc are portrayed in TV shows. SNS is mentioned. Have a look:
Can the real Gujarati please stand up?
Amrita Mulchandani and Mahek Chhaya, TNN | May 19, 2011, 12.00am IST
Everytime you flip channels, one common thread seems to bind most top prime time shows with a Gujarati backdrop — screen stereotypes speaking Hindi with a smattering of Gujarati words, women dressed in the traditional saree rolling out khakra, dhokla and theplas in their immaculately kept kitchens and big and happy families.
Soaps based in Gujarat focus primarily on unrealistic lifestyles and Hum Saath Saath Hai kind of families that hardly even exist in urban Gujarat!
Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi started the 'stereotype' in 2000 and today every second show — Preet Se Bandhi Yeh Dori...Ram Milaayi Jodi, Krishnaben Khakhrawala, Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, Saath Nibhana...Saathiya, Sanskaar Lakshmi, Papad Pol... Shahbuddin Rathod Ki Rangeen Duniya, Sajan Re Jhoot Mat Bolo, Rang Badalti Odhani, Gulaal, Mukti Bandhan and Hi Padoshi Kaun He Doshi — has stuck faithfully to the same 'joint family' format and characters in their respective storylines. At a time when urban Gujarat has changed beyond recognition and belief in the last decade, enterprising Gujaratis are leaving their footprints all over the globe and even the all-Indian television viewership figures (as per TAM Peoplemeter) claim that Gujarat leads the TRP charts, are these so-called Gujarati themed shows cutting much ice with urban Gujarat?
"When we portray a Gujarati/Bihari/Punjabi family, we borrow an ethnic background and give references to the characters as per the requirement of the story. In our show the Gujarati family has divergent characters and are not stereotyped or generalised," says producer Rajita Sharma.
Some showmakers claim that real life characters are tweaked to add to the entertainment quotient. The idea is to lighten the situation, not ridicule any community. "We do play around with the language, but that's for fun. As for the slightly over-the-top clothes that some characters in our shows wear, we have fans aping that style in real life too," says producer-writer Asit Kumar Modi. Ajay Bhalwankar, programming head of a GEC says, "Joint families do exist in urban India, even if the percentage is small. We play around with the characters and make them entertaining yet realistic. We try and avoid cliches."
Author Kajal Oza who's scripting daily soaps on GECs is unhappy with the way Gujaratis are portrayed in TV shows. "Gujaratis are shown as funny and loud characters who speak in a ridiculous dialect. Where do these kind of people exist in urban Gujarat? These are just caricatures! The sad part is that people who are making such shows are mostly Gujaratis." Actor Anang Desai who has worked in shows with a Gujarati background says, "I think by and large Gujarati characters are portrayed well. If some characters sport over-the-top clothes that's only for the glam quotient."
Viewers however, don't like the way Gujaratis are portrayed on TV. "There is so much more to us than people eating theplas and khakras. Most of us aren't half as flamboyant and colorful as these shows depict us," laments homemaker Manajari Vaishnav. Young professional, Sheetal Sheikh says, "Which Gujarati woman moves around her house decked in heavy sarees and jewellery round the clock? It's not nice to see Gujaratis reduced to caricatures even in a show."
While the jury is divided on this one, Gujarat-based shows and storylines seem to be grabbing the right kind of eyeballs and are TRP-trippers. So may be the 'change' in storyline, characters etc will have to wait a bit more!