a time when euthanasia is a crime under the Indian Penal Code and many
legal petitions are pending, Balaji Telefilms has very easily resorted
to mercy killing to put another twist in the tale of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.
person on whom Ekta Kapoor pulls the plug is Savita bahu (Apara Mehta),
the eldest of the first generation daughters-in-law of the Virani
family, after she meets with an accident. It is daughter-in-law Tulsi
(Smriti Iraani) who 'helps' her die.
"I dealt with marital rape
in Kyunki…, didn't I? Then why can't I show euthanasia?" replies Ekta
Kapoor, asked if it is right to show something not legalised in our
country. The creative director of Balaji Telefilms adds, "TV is fiction
and we are only bringing up social issues. If there is any problem, my
legal department will take care of it."
Star India's senior
creative director Shailaja Kejriwal reasons that it is all about
starting a debate on the issue and taking a stand on it. "We at Star,
along with Balaji Telefilms, have decided to take up (through the
serials) social issues that are not talked about openly," she says. "We
just though that euthanasia is a subject of great importance… we should
talk about it and keep the topic alive."
A debate on letting a
terminally ill person die through medical intervention occasionally
surfaces in India. The issue came up at the end of December when a
Mumbai couple filed a writ petition seeking permission to end their
one-year-old son's life as he suffers from hydrocephalus, a condition
that causes accumulation of water in the head, retarding the growth of
the brain. The child also suffers from thoracolumbar, which makes one's
spinal cord useless.
But euthanasia is illegal in India — not by
a law that makes it illegal, but due to the absence of any law that
directly addresses the issue. According to YP Singh, former IPS officer
and now a practising lawyer, "Ethical and operational constraints
disallow this practice. Euthanasia amounts to culpable homicide under
Section 304 of the IPC or murder under Section 299".
the serial's new 'twist', a media analyst expresses amazement.
"Sparking off a debate is one thing but what is surprising is how one
deals with such topics with such ease and passes it off as," says the
"In fact, in the serial, the topic has been tackled very
shoddily: the protagonist pulls the plug without consulting senior
doctors or anybody in the family, which is a so-called huge joint
family. She does it purely governed by her emotions." The analyst adds
that in a country where these soaps are closely followed by millions,
showing something like this could mislead them into thinking that one
could easily resort to mercy killing.
It is understood from
Kejriwal that one of the characters, a lawyer named Meera, will take
the debate forward by saying that Tulsi did the wrong thing and that
Savita could have got another chance to live, thereby dealing with
another aspect of euthanasia.