Gone are the times when women on the small screen were limited to playing homely bahus or green-eyed vamps. There is a host of strong characters emerging that make a difference. These real women who battle real issues, including pregnancy woes, husband worries, and son problems, and yet stay within the broader purview of the saas-bahu saga.
A recent example is the show Hamariwali Good News, where a highlight is a mother-in-law (saas) who gets pregnant because her daughter-in-law (bahu) cannot conceive. Srishti Jain, who stars in the serial, says: “I feel that nowadays TV is a great medium to be a part of as the content is no longer regressive. In my show, my mother-in-law gets pregnant because I, playing her daughter-in-law, am not able to conceive. It’s such an interesting concept and is being loved by our audience. It also gives me the chance to explore my acting abilities,” she says.
Actor Sucheeta Trivedi, whose show Indiawali Maa saw her play a mother who is ready to go to any extent to help her son, says that her show has helped change the image of a typical television mother. “My character seemed to be simple in the beginning, but soon it becomes evident that she will go to any extent to help her son. The entire role of a mother and how they were portrayed on screen has changed nowadays, and this is great for all actresses,” Sucheeta says.
For some, variety makes female characters on television soaps stronger. Actor Sukirti Kandpal, who plays a single mother who conceives by IVF, loves this aspect.
“Nowadays, there are newer and bolder roles for women on TV too. No longer are they expected to just live their lives supported by the men. My character, Alia Shroff, in show Story 9 Months Ki is all about a woman and the bold choices she makes and how she decides to have a baby through IVF because she doesn’t want to halt her life just because she will be a single mother,” says Sukriti.
Producer Rajan Shahi says that the character of Anupamaa, in his show Anupamaa, has been loved by the audience due to the personality twist in her character. “Post lockdown, there has been a huge shift in the kind of women characters that the audience likes to see and Anupamaa has been a trendsetter. Initially, the audience felt that she was a regressive woman but she is the flag-bearer for all women who have aspirations. She has followed a very organic journey from being a woman who has been taken for granted to someone who decides to stand up for herself and doesn’t accept infidelity from her husband,” he says.
The producer adds that his Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai had actually become quite stagnant until they introduced a new character Seerat. “Shivangi’s (Joshi) character Seerat, who has an aspiration to become a boxer and is not broken down by her family and society, has been loved. The show had stagnated earlier but as soon as we got Seerat, people have loved it,” he says.—IANS