I have always been a fan of TV drama, especially serials. As a young girl, I used to escape to my grandmother's room at night when my parents had gone to bed. My aunt had bought a TV for my Dadi, who would sit up late and watch TV. So, I would creep in to her room, always afraid that my father would find out anda ear wringing would follow. The drama that attracted me most was the serial Shahidullah Kaiser's Shong Shoptok, every week I watched film actress Rosy playing Hurmoti and the village life became evident to me, through the fine acting of A. T. M. Shamsuzzaman and others.
There is no ear wringing for me anymore, the TV is right in front of me, I do not have to sneak outside or worry about locked doors. The serials do not attract me anymore, unless one of my friends specifically requested me to watch, I am usually on some other mission. Few years back, I used to watch Subornolata, an adaptation from Asha Purna Debi's very famous novel, aired on Zee Bangla and happened to fall in love with the lady playing the protagonist, Anannya. Anannya is beautiful and her acting is superb.
She suddenly appeared in another serial titled Jay Kali Kalkattawali, aired on Star Jalsa, and once again I found myself attracted to the serial. Initially, it was because of her that I started watching, and found myself seriously engaged. This play was not about joint families and their dos and don't imposed on the bride, her jealousies with the other sister-in-law, or fights about property with some family member! This serial is dealing with serious social problems and bringing them to the forefront and even suggesting ways for us to address them.
For example, I watched an episode where there was a gang selling chocolates in front of children's school. The chocolates were filled with drugs and were being sold to the children during tiffin period; there was a conspiracy to make the children drug-dependant, which Obhoya Mukherjee (played by Anannya) reveals to the police. In another episode, there was a religious Guru, who was actually a rapist and usurper. Women flocked in from various areas because they were barren and the Guru would violate them, against their will and bring heirs to the sons. The whole nasty business was unearthed by the protagonist. The mentality of middle class families who adhere to the age old conviction of bringing a wife for their son,just to produce an heir, the helplessness of the women are all evident in the sequences. Abhoya raises her voice through the serial. She addresses the problems, speaks about this social injustice. In another series, women above 30 open accounts in www.dreams.com to help them with finding a match. This series shows how desperate are the lives of young women who are in perfect health, but unable to face society as they are still not married. Their looks, age or qualifications has not gotten them a “suitable boy”. They open accounts and fall prey to one cheat who uses different names and follows these desperate girls. The girls die as a result of the plan set by the cheater,but before they die they bring lump some money from their natal homes. That failure to “be married” at a suitable age causes agony to the woman is still so rampant in society, it drives the woman to a corner, even forces her to steal from her own family! What a desperate situation women are in, is portrayed in the serial and matter is addressed. As violence against women is becoming more rampant than before, we need serials which address these issues: Serials which point out right from wrong and that which gives women the impetus to march forward. Men have to remember that it is through the security of women in general that his world of wife, daughter, sister and mother will be safe.
Nashid Kamal is an Academic, Nazrul exponent and translator