Popular Indian TV shows going off the beaten track to make viewers take notice
Bored of the typical run-of-the-mill love stories? Showmakers delve into their most creative sides to bring forth shows that are sure to make viewers take notice - Love on TV surpasses gender, age, and even the realms of reality
Age no bar
Show: Aap Ke Aa Jane Se
It's common to see a woman marry an older man on television. But once the tables are turned, tongues start wagging. After Varun Badola starrer Astitva Ek Prem Kahani explored the subject in 2002, Bodhi Tree Productions' Aap Ke Aa Jaane Se narrates the story of a 24-year-old man falling in love with a 42-year-old single mother.
Director Sukesh Motwani says, "Nobody can measure the amount of change a show like this can effect, but I do believe there is an impact. There have been reports about how women in rural India were inspired by Balaji bahus. They pushed the village panchayat to build toilets. I believe such shows inspire change."
Boy meets girl... wait
Show: Shakti – Astitva Ke Ehsaas Ki
Given that he was willing to slip into the role of a vampire in the past, Vivian DSena didn't take us by surprise when he greenlit this show, which sees him married to a intersex (person having both male and female reproductive parts), Soumya, played by Rubina Dilaik. He wanted to work on a series that spreads a social message, he says.
"Shakti had a social message. It is an important story that highlights that love can happen between anyone. Change is a gradual process, and this show makes people challenge notions. In India, messages need to be reiterated to garner attention. So, the longer the show runs, the greater the impact it will have." Ask him if he would encourage such an alliance off screen, he pauses before adding, "Frankly, I've never given it a thought."
Shakespearean twist, and how!
Show: Romil And Jugal
This gay love story, among the first of a series that marked Ekta Kapoor's foray into the digital space, is a quirky take on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Rajeev Siddhartha, one half of the love duo, had previously told mid-day that given the variety of roles he had played, he "would lose respect for myself if I refused this project simply because it revolved around a love story involving two men".
Speaking of the camaraderie they shared behind the camera, his on screen love interest, Manraj Singh, added, "Sometimes, you can connect with the energy that your co-star brings. I had that with Rajeev. Both of us had auditioned for our roles two years ago, when the project was initially supposed to be made. We'd often call each other and discuss our work." Spending time together helped, says Siddhartha, adding that a primary "lip-locking scene" was also rendered seamless given the bond they shared.
Show: Meri Hanikarak Biwi
What does a doctor do when she inadvertently sterilises a fertile man by performing a vasectomy? She marries him! Director Sonali Jaffar justifies the selection of her script by stating that choosing out-of-the-box subject keeps her motivated. "Previously, I worked on a love story between a robot and human. So, this one is a tad different.
Initially, my show didn't garner attention, but once the vasectomy plot kicked in, the viewership increased. That's proof that viewers like different stories" The inability of her lead couple to conceive is a plotline she hopes to bank on, but it's reversible. "Having kids is not the only agenda of every couple. It is too expensive to raise a child. The show will start a discussion."
A weighty message
Show: Badho Bahu
Love stories come in all shapes and sizes. This outing chronicles the story of an overweight girl, who falls in love with a wrestler. While he finds it difficult to accept her initially, time eventually plays cupid. Producer Deepti Kalwani says that everyone has the right to fall in love.
"Badho Bahu has had a positive influence on so many people. I've got calls from viewers who have told me that they are gaining acceptance from their in-laws. Some speak about gaining confidence and accepting their bodies. It's the heart that matters, not the size."
Will you romance a ghost?
Show: Ek Deewaana Tha
Ek Deewaana Tha, starring Namik Paul and Donal Bisht, narrates a love story between a ghost and human. Is it normal to love a ghost? Many would disagree, and it appears producer Prateek Sharma would too.
"Ghosts are associated with darkness. To change that illusion, I wanted to showcase a love story involving them. If you ask me if I would fall in love with a ghost, or let my dear ones do so, the answer would probably be, 'No' for me, but to each his own. But, we can take liberties on TV."
Inputs by Sonia Lulla
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