Print this pageSend by EmailSave as PDF


Serial “Balika Vadhu” on Colour Channel

BALIKA VADHU, a message and social reforms oriented was launched last year and soon had become the toast of many urban Indians, same way as the Ekta brand serials like “Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi“, ”Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki” or “Kasauti Zindagi Ki” on Star Plus. After these aforesaid masala oriented serials reached their nadir, Ekta effect waned. Eye balls started patronizing the serials on Zee TV like “Kasam Se” or “Saath Phere” bringing them on the top slots

But as the newly launched Colour Channel’s “Balika Vadhu” progressed, it soon reached to top bagging ratings because it had an authentic plot with messages viz; how outdated, misplaced caste and custom traditions and mores were evils of bygone India like Child marriage, childhood pregnancy, denial of educational right to a girl child or gender discrimination; coupled with down to earth direction and natural brilliant acting of Savita Bajaj (Kalyani – Ma SA),child artistes with appropriate innocence (Avika Gor as Anandi and Abhijit Mukherji as Jagya). Viewers at large had patronized the serial as a daily ritual to catapult it at the highest TRP slot amongst all the TV serials.

However, lately, the script writer and director realized that the incidents / developements becoming repetitive and the serial may lose the eye balls and appreciation in the emerging environment of highly competitive new serials. So the director/writer wanted “Interesting twists and turns” to take place in the story. But instead of devising and introducing rationale solutions or courageous up-fronting with the deep rooted decadent societal mores, customs and evils; it fell into the easy trap of simplistic solutions. From nowhere, one fine morning a fresh new character of Farida Jalal as “Badi Didi “ (Elder sister) to Kalyani (Savita Bajaj); the fountainhead and matriarch of the family, staged an entry. Soon, she started reforming the entire family and their traditionally regressive and choking psychic just by dishing out sermons, Lo and behold, not only the archaic Kalyani accepted the reforms but entire family happily embraced the reformatory attitude. Examples-- treating male or female genders in equal esteem, freely allowing the girl child’s education for building her future, opposing and exposing the children or widow remarriage of others, freely allowing the development of love feelings in the family’s elder pregnant Bahu (Gehna) and her young music teacher. Not only for the family members but even for the entire superstitious and orthodox villagers (Biradari) those became harmless developments without any murmur or even back biting which could have been the natural outcome. And since that was merely thru’ the magic of words, uttered by the Badi Didi. And no one, not even the superstitious or orthodox villagers raising an eyebrow; the serial soon

 Became drab and started declining in TRPs. If reforms and social revolutions / corrections were so easy, then it would not have taken decades of sacrifices and educational spade work of our reformer beacons. All these have gone against the very concept and premise of the serial as to the ingrained messages it wanted to send to the retarded society thru” the two educated modern reformers in

Bhairon Singh (Anoop Soni) and his wife (Smita Bansal). How? Judge for yourself.They did not feel anything wrong in marrying their adolescent son (Jagya) to the child bride Anandi. Then they also brought her home as a child bride after “Gauna”. But the same persons opposed tooth and nail of the marriage of another child bride under acceptance that what he did with his children was a mistake. What I do, I am entitled to do and later call it a mistake because that gives me an authority to stop others in the name of reforms. Wow, what a drama and shame. Same duo sympathized and also agreed with Gehna, the elder Bahu to abort the child because it was putting her own life in danger due to her tender age (She, by all calculations, neither looks a child nor she is). As if, we have not seen that in India? Even today, 12 year old girls are delivering a healthy child day in and day out. In Gehna’s case, they did not think (including Gehna herself) that aborting a child in fetus amounts to killing a human. It was not even illegitimate. Well, logically, it was on the lines of “Message” what the serial wanted to convey.

But the later developments took the cake and adopted the most regressive attitude for societal reforms. In order to introduce confrontation in the form of twists and turns in the story to retain the eyeballs (High. TRPs), the director and writer thought fit to introduce certain developments which patently went against the very message which the serial wanted to convey or propagate. Bhairon Singh’s teen age daughter Saguna, to whom he did not wish to send to her in laws by making “gauna” unless she becomes major (18 yrs.); he got pressurized to do so not only by the family but also by the teen-age daughter herself and the so called teen age elder bahu, in the name of “acute love” between the adolescent couple Saguna and Pratap..That was as if the minor had the intelligence to decide for her own life. But before the “Gauna” ceremony, the hubby / groom Pratap gets killed. Saguna, becomes a child widow but was not sent to her husband’s house for the fear of backlash on the minor bride.

She was supposed to be in traditional penance, but she was relived of that pain, thanks to Badi Didi’s sermons. She is also allowed to resume her studies which gave her an opportunity to come near to a wayward young man (Shyam), educated in city from a well to do family but preferring to lead a life as an vagabond in the name of serving the villagers. He endevours to woo or court the love of monor widow Saguna, in spite of artificial opposition from her. Now, a real twist and turn is introduced in the story. Saguna is discovered by a Vaidya to be pregnant of three months, which is the time just before the death of Pratap, the groom of Saguna. On interrogations, she reveals that the child is of Pratap. Now, Kayani and the whole Kedawat family wants her to be accepted by in-laws of Saguna, but they decline terming her pregnancy as illegitimate and not of their son Pratap.. Faced with this social ignonimity and blot for the family, Kalyani decides to terminate the pregnancy of Saguna. Now starts the absurd drama.. Saguna opposes this tooth and nail as she wants to retain the last remnants of her husband lover Pratap, other wise, she will commit suicide.. Led by Badi MA SA, every one in the house including Gehna, not only agrees with Saguna’s point of view but further suggest that a second marriage for her can be considered with a boy who is ready to accept the child.

Kalyani is too shocked. On spur, she first decides to send back her Badi Didi to Kolkata with full courtesy. Then she she arranges for the abortion of Saguna’s child by the hospital doctor. Now the doctor, who earlier had advocated the termination of even legimate pregnancy of Gehna because of her tender age; says that it is dangerous to abort since the child is already more than three months old and may pose a danger to Saguna’s life. Don’t ever ask, how come no one, including Saguna came to know about symptoms till full three months, since it was a cinematic liberty

As a last resort Kalyani decides to let the child birth takes place but sending her away from the village in safe custody of a caretaker. Here also she is opposed tooth and knell by all, including the elder brother Basant, abetted by the elder bahu Gehna. Bhairon Singh now stands in revolt, forgetting the inbuilt issues of the serial - the nagging questions like allowing child births endangering the health of an adolescent mother, illegitimacy of a child in a feudal and traditional frame of society etc etc.. Even no societal restraints, boycott or family blot defiling “Khandaan” deter Bhaironsingh, his wife or the elder brother Basant; forget about the adolescent Saguna. All they wish is to follow in line of the Masala movies and K framed serials to create and retain interest in the serial. Can U take unrestrained cinematic liberties in “problem solving and reforms against the very tenets of the foundation of the plot? Yes, the director and writer wants to believe and relive this.. The Government of India, please forget about the population control, even ban all MTPs because it amounts to “Human Killing”; whether the “Fetus” or “Embryo” is legitimate or illegitimate. After all, India is the most reformed and advanced country of “Sane” people.

No brownie points to visualize the coming events with puerile solutions to eat the cake and preserve it too. The vagabond, city bred and educated boy who was wooing Saguna will come to the family’s rescue by agreeing to marry Saguna and give legitimacy to her child and her second marriage too. None from the orthodox society or from the boy’s own family will dare to oppose or point finger at this “HOLY” re-union. And don’t ask how Saguna will accept any other person in her life after Pratap because of her “Amar Prem” for.the departed soul. “Uske dil mein to oos vagabond ladke k to dekhate hi laddoo footne lagate hain”. Now the makers want to bring in the “Social Revolution” thru’ such simplistic and magical solutions as “Twists and Turns”

Like Tulsi, Parvati and Prerna bahus of Balaji serials, the child characters; especially Anandi will not grow old as long as the makers wish or at least till the time Avika Gaur continues to be “Sone Ki Murgi” for the channel..

Colour Channel has another message oriented serial (against the age –old bias of female gender in “Na Aana Is Des Mein Lado”. They did not give any simplistic solutions but made the protagonists to fight out with logical turns, events and education to minimize the gender bias and get acceptability and not by violence or boycott of the social baddies. But then, such serials fail to reach satisfactory TRP level and they suffer.

However, of late, another young Channel NDTV--IMAGINE, has indeed introduced a digestive mixture of sensible as well as entertaining serials in “Jyoti” “Kitni Mohabbat Hai” “Bandini” (last two from Ekta Kapoor) etc. with the minimum cinematic liberties but without compromising on the basic tenets so far, unlike “Dehleez” which had gone off track and therefore, was rightly aborted after a short run.

As far as the DD 1 National channel is concerned, kudos to Prasar Bharti that they still strive to give well entrenched thematic serials without making compromises for the sake of TRPs.

Written by: 

Mohan Siroya

Add new comment

Email is kept private and will not be shown publicly. Leaving this field blank may lead to disapproval of comment, if you are not a regular commenter.


  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <ul> <ol> <li>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

Like - Share



Enter your e-mail address below.
Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.