The latest trend to take tellydom by storm is 'surrogacy'. The small screen has, at regular intervals, pushed the envelope with steamy hot sequences, lip-locks and consummation, to recall a few. And these days, there's an overdose of what is usually considered a hush-hush affair: surrogacy.
A debate is raging — is it a progressive step by the broadcasters and producers? Or is it just another ploy to rake in the TRPs?The beginning
Surrogacy was first highlighted on Byaah Hamari Bahoo Ka.
Soon after,Sasural Simar Ka and Hitler Didi
followed suit. While Simar (Deepika Samson) in SSK cannot conceive and surrogacy is her only option, Rajnibala (Shrenu Parikh) of BHBK gets embroiled in a surrogacy racket. Indira Sharma (Rati Pandey) of Hitler Didi
gets pregnant, but because she is a cancer patient, slips into coma soon after. Shweta Kapoor (Aasiya Kazi) then decides to carry Indira's foetus in her womb.
Broadcasters say such tracks spread awareness and also, that television content has now matured. But the question is, can we experiment with content, just to rake in the TRPs? Says Shrenu, "Our show's ratings did shoot up, but we also wanted to make people aware of this option. The content on TV is a reflection of society and vice-versa. Surrogacy is prevalent in the rural pockets of the country, where innocent girls get trapped. But in the urban region, it has become an option for affluent couples."
Prashant Bhatt, Weekday Programming Head of the channel which airs SSK, says, "If the issue is highlighted in an aesthetic manner, viewers will react positively. Television is an influential medium to spread awareness and bring about change." Ila Bedi Datta, the producer of HD, says, "People are resorting to surrogacy even in small towns and cities . It is no more a taboo."For public good
How far will a television soap spread awareness? Asserts Prashant, "Today, many couples face fertility issues. Most of them are unaware about the options available. Surrogacy is not a problem, but a solution."
With this track, we hope to spread awareness and change people's lives." Ila says her show is only enlightening those who can't conceive. She says, "It is said that a woman is complete when she becomes a mother. There are many couples who are desperate for a child. We want to give our viewers a ray of hope." Experts Speak:
Gynecologist Suman Bijlani admits that TV soaps have led to a rise in the inquiries about surrogacy. She says, "Most couples these days have a vague idea that they can 'rent a womb'. But they want to know more."
So, does TV help create awareness in the right manner? "Daily soaps portray these procedures as almost frivolous, without any mention of its expenditure, logistics or the possibility of failure. This results in unrealistic expectations. People often see test tube babies and surrogacy as 'miracle cures'. Also, the emotional aspect is often dramatised and distorted on TV," says she. Adds psychologist Anjali Chhabria, "Daily soaps are more keen on dramatising shows to increase their ratings. But nevertheless, the small screen reaches out to a larger audience, influences their opinion and broadens their perspective. There have been shows which have done justice and have been quite informational and inspiring."