ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Neither Bold Nor Beautiful

The new wave of Marathi serials pretends to be progressive but is not.

In many urban families that would describe themselves as “progressive,” like mine, I have heard people saying that the current crop of directors directing Marathi serials are tackling “bold” issues, from the perspective of the large number of conservative viewers. As for myself, I initially expected the new serials to merely have better plots. But gradually, I also began expecting more progressive themes. That is partly because Marathi cinema has seen a true renaissance, and has been tackling newer, fresher ideas unabated for seven years, starting with Natrang in 2010, and with landmarks such as Killa and more recently, Sairat. Marathi cinema has managed to break out of an established mould, cementing its place nationally. Although a new set of serials appears to be in the same mould, a closer analysis shows that they have not made this transition.

The Marathi television industry, however, has not been the subject of much scholarly analysis. However, such studies can yield many insights about our society. In his essay titled E Unibus Pluram: Television and US Fiction, published in 1993 in the Review of Contemporary Fiction, the late David Foster Wallace wrote about the shadow of television on fiction writers in the United States. In that essay he analysed many culture-specific trends, but he also made three statements that could hold true of many societies with large television audiences, including India. He said that television reflected the “normality” of the general American public; that it reflected how the American audience wanted to see itself; and that excessive television viewing had turned members of society into “sweaty, slack-jawed voyeurs.” This essay is based on the few studies that have been published in addition to personal observation.

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Updated On : 3rd Jul, 2017
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