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'Focus on larger issues'

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Most serials show women as being either weak, scheming or both. Why, asks Tahseen Sultana

Why do script writers of television serials think all that women do is fighting or scheming? And for what? For men. The scripts are invariably about mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law fighting for the son or husband's affection; women scheming how they can ensnare another's husband; women conspiring to revive former relationships. For God's sake, let's focus on the larger issues concerning women, say for example, domestic violence, trafficking, female infanticide, abuse and harassment at work. All right, if not the darker side of life, why not the day-to-day life of an ordinary workingwoman? She balances career and home.A recent article on women IAS officers was an eye-opener for me. They are simple women. But in serials, simple women don't do much other than fight for elbow space in the kitchen. Today's serials are far removed from reality. Television is an effective medium. It has more influence than cinema because it comes straight to our drawing rooms. We sit and watch programmes with our families. Hence, it is important that the programmes provide intelligent and positive entertainment. I have watched "Udaan" as a child. I learnt the importance of fighting for my rights, being employed and staying in control through economic independence. "Fauji", "Sea-Hawk" and "Penn" (Tamil) motivated me, "Ramayana" and "Mahabharata" interested me. "Secrets of the Sea" aroused my curiosity and "Tipu Sultan" and "Chanakya" opened the doors to our rich history.Perhaps today we can make serials on the lives of women such as Kalpana Chawla or Mother Teresa, instead of just flashing a few clips of these women in the news. Okay if not women, we have great men. Could we not have serials on men such as Azim Premji or Narayana Murthy?If the defence is 'we make what sells', then I say 'no'. People watch these serials for want of better options. We switch over to news channels when the serials get unbearable, but how many times can we watch the same news? As told to ASHA MENONSOUND OFF! is a weekly space for you to rant, applaud or talk about anything on your mind. Write to metro@thehindu.co.in telling us a little about yourself (with address and phone number), and you may get a chance to sound off!

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