Arpana in her column Bollywood Country says wife-beating is new TRP mantra for TV soaps
It seems TV content is getting regressive by the day. After saas-bahu sagas, now TV shows like second season of “Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon?…Ek Baar Phir” and “Doli Armaano Ki ” are capitalising on domestic violence to get eyeballs.
“Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon?…Ek Baar Phir” is beamed at 6 p.m. on STAR Plus and “Doli Armaano Ki” comes at 10.30 p.m. on ZEE TV.
Set in the patriarchal set-up, “Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon?…Ek Baar Phir” has the most horrific scenes where the head of the family – Niranjan Agnihotri, a character played by actor Manish Wadhwa – is often shown beating his subservient wife Anjali (Geetanjali Tikekar), either with a stick or a belt if she fails to carry out his orders.
If that’s not enough, the story also shows how Niranjan, who hides and manipulates the truth about himself, uses his wife to impose his regressive set of rules and undermine his family members behind their back.
At the centre of this web of deceit are also his two sons, daughter, daughters-in-law and granddaughter.
In case anyone of them falters, Anjali has to bear the consequences – she is beaten black and blue. Submissive Anjali accepts it as her fate a la many women, who are mistreated in our male-dominated society.
It is humiliating and shameful to be beaten by your husband, but not on this show.
The role of women of the family is just restricted to the kitchen and they have no say in any of the matters of their lives or family.
Their job is to obey the rules set by him; the more disturbing part in the show is that they have no right to celebrate, not even their birthdays.
Why? Because according to Niranjan Agnihotri, women are insignificant and they should seek happiness in the joys of their husbands or fathers or brothers.
Except for his wife and youngest daughter-in-law Aastha (Shreenu Parikh), the rest of the family has no inkling of his true personality.
If Niranjan Angnihotri unleashes his terror in the garb of a loving and doting husband and parent, Samrat Singh Rathore, played by Mohit Malik in “Doli Armaano Ki”, openly abuses his spouse.
The worst example of a male chauvinist and a slippery character, Samrat gets sadistic pleasure in terrorising his family members, especially his wife Urmi (Neha Marda).
If anyone tries to cross him, the penalty could be frightening.
In the show, set in Jhansi, the character of Samrat, who constantly cheats on his wife, tries to have an upper hand by demoralising, terrorising, insulting and bullying her.
Her status is no more than of a doormat and if she ever dares to do something without Samrat’s permission, he makes a savage attack on her.
Due to his savage behaviour, Urmi has lost her confidence and has accepted his brutalities as her fate. Not surprising!
Even her son Shourya has started following his father’s footsteps and shows no respect to her, something not unheard of in our country where often a male child is not disciplined or restricted.
In the ongoing sequences, Urmi decides to follow her dream and joins a dance class without informing Samrat, a development that leaves him raging like a bull.
And in Samrat’s words, to teach her a lesson, he plants a guy in the dance class who starts bothering and following Urmi and one day he lands at her place and proposes to her in front of the whole family.
While Urmi is numb with shock, Samrat is having the last laugh as he has succeeded in stopping her from pursuing her dream against his wishes.
Even if Samrat’s brother or father tries to reason with him, they find themselves at the receiving end of his vindictive persona.
There’s another show – “Ek Hasina Thi”, in which a character who plays the vice chancellor of a college beats his wife because she dares to question him about his womanising ways.
What is the point in showing such male bullies?
According to National Crime Records Bureau, the rate of crime committed against women was 41.7 percent in 2012, a rise of 6.8 percent over 2011 and by 24.7 percent over 2008.
The violent domination is not restricted to just one stratum of society!
If on one hand the country witnessed the Nirbhaya case, on the other hand we have Bollywood actress and businesswoman Preity Zinta who has filed a written complaint of molestation against her ex-beau and business partner Ness Wadia.
Why shouldn’t timid women folk instead be taught to keep bullies off them?
Something like Channel V’s “Heroes”, which celebrates real heroes fighting against sexual assault or harassment or UTV Bindass’ “Halla Bol”, which encourages girls to be fearless and fight back.
“Sadda Haq – My Life My Choice”, which is aired on Channel V, has a positive and constructive story, which shows how the protagonist Sanyukta Aggarwal (Harshita Gaur) not only fights with her father and brother to fufil her engineering dream but also takes on her classmate Randir Singh Shekhawat (Param Singh) by proving herself at every step.