Joined: 26 November 2009
Whoever said that saas-bahu sagas have reached their nadir, here's a reality check.
The K-series that brought kitchen politics into our living rooms were panned by so-called 'intellectual' critics. These family dramas were then replaced by concepts that broke away from traditional shackles. However, the sagas returned soon and were instantly lapped up by audiences and to this day the dream run continues. The ratings of these shows are testimony enough, for instance a Saath Nibhaana Saathiya (a saas-bahu drama) garnering a rating of 7. And this show is not a prime time show, but airs in the evening at 7 pm! That's incentive enough for other channels to attempt similar shows.
Viewers love saas-bahu sagas:
Isn't the genre 'been there, done that'? How can a show with some unconventional faces become a hit? Answers Giaa Manek aka Gopi bahu of Saathiya, "All those detractors have been proved wrong by these ratings which come through our viewers. The audiences are rooting for Gopi, Koki, Rashi and the entire saas-bahu concept. This proves that they watch my show religiously. It's become a ritual for them just like how few people pray every morning."
Why traditional? it's also about the modern girl:
Diya Aur Baati Hum, another show with a similar concept, is about the protagonist Sandhya, married into an orthodox family, which boasts of a stern mother-in-law, yet who aspires to become an IPS officer. Producer Sumeet Mittal of Shashi-Sumeet duo says, "The USP of our show is its story, which is very simple but yet very fresh. We have shown the saas-bahu relationship but it's not regressive. The protagonist Sandhya though married, believes strongly in good family values and doesn't take anything lying down. She is ambitious yet knows where to draw the line and this is how today's girls are. They are intelligent, ambitious and also great homemakers."
This genre will never die:
Sasural Simar Ka that focused on the subdued protagonist Simar got a lukewarm response initially, but the ratings shot up once the drama revolving around a controlling mother-in-law (Mataji) along with her entourage of cunning bahus and wedding faux pas, was infused into the show.
Producer S Farhan of Beend Banoongaa Ghodi Chadhunga (another saas-bahu show), refutes the claim that the saas-bahu element is incorporated when the ratings dip. He says, "If a story begins with a girl wishing to become a doctor, does that mean that she will never get married and will never have a saas? Marriage is a natural progression of things in a girl's life and the same is simply depicted in soaps, so why is this progression (marriage and saas-bahu drama) looked upon as a 'change of zone'?"
Unique presentation clicks:
Vivek Bahl, Chief Content Officer, Turner International India Pvt Ltd, feels that as long as the characters work and the story-telling is engrossing, viewers will continue to lap them up. He says, "Just a few of years ago, everyone had written off saas-bahu shows and the word itself had become taboo. No producer would ever have dreamt then of coming up to us with such a show. That's when we went against the tide with a specifically designed, unabashed saas-bahu format which is still running successfully." S Farhan adds, "Saas-bahu is and will always be an area of great interest for the audience and any show which will portray this relationship interestingly and even with the slightest bit of freshness will always work."
Anju Gupta, a housewife, says, "Some saas-bahu shows are really good. They have everything and are educating the public too. Other saas-bahu shows work because of its characters and interesting twist and turns that get viewers hooked." Another housewife Poonam Sahay adds, "The problem with Indian television is that once a show becomes a hit, we see other producers aping the same leaving no scope for experimentation and innovation. Though I like watching these saas-bahu dramas, I wouldn't mind new concepts on TV."
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