17 Jun 2007
women in television
Its no coincidence, with a strong possibility of a woman as the next President, Hindustan Times comes out with a magazine cover story of women characters who have made mark on television.
Their list is an interesting one - Tulsi, Komolika, Jassi, Tara, Shanti and Rajani.
The group divides itself very nicely - the first three came on air after 1999, the last three during late 80's to mid 90's.
The first three are part of the traditional roles that are expected of women (although people may claim they are strong characters !!). Tulsi and Komolika are part of a extended family/patriarchal set up while Jassi is the ugly duckling discovering that she is a swan with a little help from Maybelline(or was it Lakme?)
The last three were independent, articulate women more often than not fighting for a cause. Of course like real people they had their faults but at least they were trying to do something different, change attitudes or generate a discussion. (Of course Jassi, Tulsi and Komolika inspire hours of discussion but of a different kind!!)
Whether it was a business set up (Shanti, Tara) or fighting for citizen's rights (Rajani), these women never conformed to the roles defined by the society. Their lives did not revolve around their families, they were not obsessed with the politics in their extended family or looking good to get the attention of their boss etc.
Today's woman characters seem comfortable within a patriarchal set up and actually strengthen the same values that the Shanti, Tara and Rajani argued against 10 years ago.
What does that say about television? Or is this what we want to see today?