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Impact of Hindi Daily Soaps on Society

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The impact of serials depend on the kind of shows people are watching. People’s opinion on this are different and depends on their perspective, as for some they are the main source of entertainment and for some they are nonsense. Like comedy shows have positive effect but others like fictions, abusive shows etc are creating negative thoughts and atttitutes, which results in aggressive behaviour. However some shows might have both positive and negative effects due to the presence of both hero and villain. Effect of serials like Mahabharat was huge on its audiences, as one one hand, it taught about ‘dharma’ and ‘adharma’, about social and religious practices and life lessons, on the other hand repeated portrayal of hindi customs were taken as a attempt to make Hinduism’s ground firm in India, despite being a secular country. The type of impact one serial is creating, solely depends on the viewer and his way of grasping the content. Sometimes the stories are so impactful, that the actors playing it are also moved completely and characters which they play, start affecting their real personality also.

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Soap operas impact various layers of a viewer’s personality which means that the content of soap operas have multilayered structure, which effects the spectator’s various psychological levels. These underlying structures have certain hidden impacts on the spectator’s mind of which the are unaware of and it is a kind of culture industry’s technique to keep the audiences hooked. “Actually pseudo realism allows for the direct and extremely primitive identification achieved by popular culture, and it presents a façade of trivial buildings, rooms, dresses and faces as though they were the promise of something thrilling and exciting taking place at any moment”.

Due to the sameness, repetitivenss, omnipresence of modern serials and lack of substantial shows and lazy story telling, individuals have lowered their standards of entertainment. They have lost their resistance to vulgar entertainment and have submissively accepted these as good enough which neither benefits them or the society. The conclusion of every serial is good triumphing over bad, so now usually every spectator of soap operas can easily predict what would happen next o how the serial will conclude. The thrill doesn’t prolong and tension of the storyline is superficial. “Most important is that the tyoing of shows has gone so far that the spectators pproaches each one with a set pattern of expectations before he faces the show itself”. Soap operas attempt to show middle class ideologies within larger than life setting with unrealistic characters, making the entire effort look hollow. Plots ans twists are introduced depending on the demands of the audiences, sometimes the leads of the serials are also chosen by audience voting. The concepts regarding the purity of women and marriage have remained unchanged in soaps’ popular culture. These serials have succeeded in unifying masses inta a whole, due to the latter’s muteness.

Hindi serials claiming to be light entertainers, supports a dominant ideaology under capitalism where it receives both good and bad feedbacks. These soaps have a hidden ideology as discussed by the Frankfurt school theorists like Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, where Marx described ideologies as the transmission of ideas, values through manipulation of public information and pictures, by communication across all classes. This is how the material and cultural interests of the makers are also sustained and through media, it becomes easy for the socio economic elite group to reach the inferior classes, as accessibility is the basic trait of popular culture. Hypodermic needle theory states that media directly pumps the ideologies into the veins of the spectator and the latter has a uniform reaction to the programs telecasted. Media decides how they want their audiences to see the world and restricts their limits to oppose such ideologies. Elite’s ability to reinforce the capitalist ideology through serials, depends on the consumers whether they are accepting these as standard content. It depends on the audiences how they are going to interpret a particular storyline, irrespective of what the producers are putting in the program. This is the main reason behind the failure of some shows. Due to the openness of the multiple storylines, the audiences make assumption about the future of the characters and they come up with alternate solutions and endings of certain complex situations.

Stereotypes of particular classes and gender are basically serial dominated ideologies. However multiple interpretations by masses, challenges the rulling classes ideologies. In a way soap operas allow the masses to oppose the elitist way of thinking, which counter’s the theory of the viewers being submissive and unresistant to the serial’s content. “It is the viewer’s decision to whether they subvert the soap operas embedded ideologies, sustaining their radical nature, or use it to manage or maintain their current social situation”.

Negative impact

To gain TRP, Hindi soap operas show controversial unethical story lines which are not accepted in our society and many times actresses and actors have also received backlashes for portraying such roles. These ideas damage the minds of people which is leading to divorce, sexual harassment, household fights etc. Soaps have always portrayed certain concepts such as crime, patriarchy, violence in such a manner, as if it is normal. It is popularly shown that pretty and rich people can get away with anything which sends out a wrong message to the public. Shows on personal feuds, jealousy, family conspiracy, complex web of men and women relations and criminal fiction, teach people how to do crime and other conspiracy without any guilt or proofs. Shows basically copy these formulas, as without these traits, shows are not appealing among the masses as Indians mainly love controversy and this is misleading our society. People who daily watch serials are becoming impractical, getting far from reality and manipulated. Despite knowing about the negative impacts and falsity of the storyline, people still cannot cut themselves off from it, as they are too much engrossed and occupied in it already. Soap operas can be harmful, as sometimes people copy violent behaviours. Audiences sometimes imply negative themes from soaps into their lives and also learn about various issues regarding dominating patriarchy, techniques of corruption etc.

Daily serials keeping in mind about the impact on future generations, should start introducing programs with higher level of teaching as they play important roles in our family band culture. Guardians should also monitor the kind of shows their children are watching as these serials are often violent and show consumption of drugs, alcohol and other objectionable, anti social content. Verbal violence is most commonly shown. Soap operas also gives way for various misconceptions regarding our society. “Early love, materialism and unrealistic fantasies while laziness, irresponsibility, eroticism, violence and drug use also add to these negative effects”. Soap operas mainly affect children as they take the plots seriously and cannot differentiate between what is true and false, it might affect their mental state and values. Our choice of soap operas must be careful as it directly affects our minds. They are emotionally stressful due to the continuous solving and resolving of tangles and complexities among personal relations.

Positive impact

Watching television is a leisure activity and as soap operas are usually presented in a cheerful and entertaining way, so a good impact is usually expected out of them. Exciting plots and suspense keeps the audience engaged and make them think the entire day as what would happen in the next episode. Audiences mainly love serials as it gives them a taste of unattainable, romance, fame, glamour, passion, love and hatred in their life. Although mostly in unrealistic way, it deals with our daily life problems. Characters become so dear to the audiences that they start wishing for their well being, cry and laugh along with them. Sometimes the storylines actually give us the solution to our own real life problems and also certain dialouges give us life lessons.

Audiences can get inspiration from their favourite characters and develop will power to face problems. Serials become a part of the masses’ lives so much that even if they miss out watching an episode on television, there are certain applications where people can watch them later. Many people watch comedy soaps for their daily dose of laughter. Soap operas can effect our mood to a great extent. Many serials are also based on historical and mythological characters like Porus, Mahabharat, Shaani, etc which focusses on and educates masses regarding our religion and brings back our lost histories and foundations of culture.

Watching daily soaps is a kind of involvement in second hand behavior, which also teaches how to behave in common social situations. Types of hindi serials watched differs from person to person. People enjoy participating in the plots and taking a ride of various emotions with their favourite characters.

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