Reel smart girls take over prime time
Independent spirited, vivacious female protagonists are increasingly finding their way in daily soaps
Picture this: a girl permanently clad in a saree, pallu demurely draped over her forehead, quietly cooking in the kitchen, with a seemingly terrified expression on her face all the time. It appears like a scene out of a prime time daily soap onIndian television.
Meanwhile, Some female protagonists of daily soaps are getting a modern makeover in their character sketch as well as their costumes. The sincere, hardworking betis or the docile, obedient bahus are now sharing airtime with some outgoing and forward thinking female protagonists who can give their male counterparts in the show, a run for their money.
Prashant Bhatt, fiction head of a Hindi GEC says, "TV functions on the policy of demand and supply and we have to be in sync with reality. I think Indian television has finally come of age and the female characters are etched in such a way that the current generation can relate to them. Today the female protagonists are modern and outgoing but that doesn't mean that they don't follow traditions and customs. They think progressively yet adhere to principles at home. There is a balance between being modern and traditional."
While a handful of these characters are shown to be NRI girls (Kaisa Yeh Ishq Hai..., Sanskaar..., Qubool Hai
); even the characters who have grown up in different cities in India are more outgoing in nature. Actress Roopal Tyagi of Sapne Suhane...
says, "The show that I am doing is very different from the usual saas-bahu shows we have seen till now and my character is that of a realistic girl-next-door. Gunjan is not the typical ideal bahu that we normally see on TV. But Gunjan is someone most young girls can relate to. She is modern yet not too glamorous." ActressSanaya Irani
, who plays the title character in Chhanchhan, also describes her character as that of "a free spirited independent girl who is modern yet deeply rooted in culture."
TV's male hotties, who hogged the limelight till now in shirtless or towel scenes by flaunting their perfectly-sculpted bodies, are now getting strong competition from actresses clad in pretty one-pieces and stylish modern sarees. Producer Manish Goswami of Kaisa Yeh Ishq Hai...Ajab Sa Risk Hai, says, "Change is always welcome. If the audience is convinced by the main protagonist, it works. The lead actress in our show may be very modern as she is born and brought up in Singapore, but she justifies the parameters of what a heroine is expected to do in a daily soap."
Female leads are not just taking a step forward in the fashion world, but are also increasingly shedding some inhibitions and taking the reins of their lives in their own hands. Whether this change whips up the required TRPs or not, is something only time will tell.