Wednesday, August 27, 2008


The latest Axe commercial (an edited version of the international one) has been axed.. Although as of yesterday it was still on air.

Is it indecent and vulgar? Well, a girl biting a piece of a boy's bum (even if he is made of chocolate) is juvenile humour, IMHO. And I don't especially like the boy (looks like Archie fell into a vat of Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate). Bhai dark chocolate hota to I might have accepted that bumbite :)

Then again...

There are several more 'offensive' commercials on air. If you wish to take offense, that is.

What is far more damaging, derogatory and what have you are full-fledged serials like Ballika Vadhu. This is a show which airs Viacom 18's Colors.

The show is essential about Anandi, an 8 year old girl who is married (yes, MARRIED) and enters her sasural. The episode I caught was all about how her 'husband' (a little boy called Jagdish) wants to send her back home because his mother and everyone else seems to love her more than him now.

While sasuma puts Anandi to sleep by telling her stories about rajkumars, Jagdish goes to his terrace in search of a falling star. Because he has heard that if you see one, your wish comes true. And his wish is ki woh chuhiya ghar wapas chali jaaye.

It is cute, but in a very sick kind of way. First of all, child marriage is ILLEGAL in India. Period. Hence it should be illegal to promote the idea of a ballika vadhu in the first place.

Neither does the story seem to be set a hundred years ago. The furniture and clothes look pretty modern. The channel claims it is set in rural Rajasthan but it's hardly evident. As you know, in TV serial land adding a 'sa' when you address someone makes it Rajasthani (bhaisa, dadisa and so on).

The final scene on the show last night was truly revolting. Anandi and her mother-in-law can eat only after the men and the dadi have finished. What's more, Anandi must eat from her husband's jhootha plate. She refuses and starts crying... but ultimately relents as the alternative is to stay hungry the whole day.

And by the way, the family eats on a proper, Western style dining table. On white crockery. If this is rural, then I'm a village belle!

I am never in favour of bans and censorship. But I make an exception in this case. NGOs and the government are working hard to eradicate child marriage, although it is an uphill task.

In such a scenario, surely we can do without a Ballika Vadhu where the idea is being flaunted. Unless they have a track in the near future where the police arrest both sets of parents, I think the show should be taken off the air!

The I & B ministry recently issued a notice to MTV for 'denigrating women' on Splitsvilla. I have no view on that coz I have never seen the show.

But someone needs to note that it's not just MNC advertisers and music channels that might be 'corrupting' influences. What passes off in the name of Indian culture can be far worse!


  1. IS it just my browser or you have done something with your formatting!
    Please revert back!!
    Regarding Axe ad- I think it is the perfect tagline that they have use..
    As irresistible as chocolate! Girls really find chocolate irresistible ( me for one really do)
    I think the way that Guy is the way he is in the ad is to potray him as a dumb stupid bloke.. but after using Axe- girls are finding him irresistible!!

    And regarding Balika Vadhu show on colors - That show is based on Anandi Gopal - the first women to obtain medical degree in India..
    This is not about child marriage and all.. but women emancipation!!
    The show always has some tagline after the show like " Bachpan chinn jata hai types"
    It is a nice serial and I commend Colors channel for coming out with something refreshing than those mundane channels all showing saas bahu serials!!

  2. Yup, there's something wrong with your layout. (I'm using Firefox 3)

    Even I was horrified by the premise of this serial. Doesn't matter if it's a true story, or even about empowerment... think about it, the channels will milk it for it's child marriage value for years. It's plain sensationalism.

    And about a topic which is wrong and disturbing (and illegal). I mean, what if there's a serial showing the humane side of, say, a rapist? It could be possible, but should it be even made? I'm sure the channels werent interested in talking about women emancipation, rather they're just there to milk it for all it's worth, because they're out of topics regarding adult marriages.

    I think I'll do a comic about it...

  3. i think the prime focus of the series is to eradicate child marriage. At the end of the episode apparently there is a message about wrong doing due to child marriage.

    Also, in sub plots they show the consequences of the evil.

    In my opinion its a good move and not glorifying it.

  4. Rashmi,

    As far as I can remember, "Balika Vadhu" has been sponsored by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. So, either you are wrong or the ministry's priorities are terribly misplaced!

  5. Hey Rashmi,
    Apparently a lot of your readers disagree abt the show Ballika Vadhu.I think whatever the premise of the story be - true or not, how it is presented is what is important. If, like you say, the setting seems modern, it takes away from the aunthenticity and we are left with mere fiction.
    Also, giving a socially relevant message at the end of the show is redundant. The majority population watching this will remember the plot and not one moral message at the end.

    I agree with you completely about the shows they have on tv. But i wonder how much can the ministry censor if production houses are doofus enough to continue churning out the rubbish they do. There is some show on Zee...Betiyaan or something....the man of the house apparently has 5 daughters from his wife, and so he has married another to bear him a son. He is the doting father for the son and barely there for his daughters. He is more attentive and generous towards the son bearing mother than the first wife who does the upwas and pooja for his life!

    And then you have a whole number of shows where the woman is always manipulated into marriage....maybe more than once...she doesnt seem to have an opinion on this...its either money or property or her babuji's health that is the determining factor.

    Any woman who runs a business or is a working professional has to be the evil conniving one with the horrendous makeup and vile laughter.

    Seriously, we need better story lines and a revamping of what goes as creativity in our tv-dom!

  6. Anonymous1:29 PM

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  7. Yep, I guess you put some video in the side bar causing this problem.. I am using K-Meleon and it messing up your entire layout... pl correct it.

  8. Haven't seen the show... but looks like it is very popular (atleast among your blog readers). What about the right to freedom of expression.. and there is always a remote nearby for switching off. BTW I also like the Axe ad... but probably the unique idea (chocolate guy eaten by girls) dominate (in terms of recall value) more than the product :)

  9. Do you really think that if the show is set in modern times, it portrays something wrong? I know several families in my city, one even of a very rich politician, where girls were married at the age of 14-15. Yes, Child Marriage is illegal in the country but if you believe it is non-existent just because the law says so, then you are incorrect. I think the show organizers are intelligent enough to understand that they cannot promote the concept of Child marriage, and they must have made a good plot which was approved by the censor board.

    Almost all of today's serials explore the ideas of extramarital affairs et al, which are illegal too. Better stop the whole television concept, and lets show only Ramayana and Mahabharata on television. Oh, even they cannot be shown because of reasons all of us know!

    Let's not criticize something without knowing exactly where it is leading us to. The taglines after the show prove that the organizers are concerned about this concept. Let's be a little more responsible in reporting/bashing/criticizing something about which we do not know much. I personally believe it is a great initiative as of now, and only time will tell where it finally leads us to.

  10. Very well said, in fact most of the ads on deodorants and perfumes border on the extreme of vulgarity; have they run out of ideas that they cannot think anything better. Very crude and cheap is how I rate such ads.
    Also regarding the "baalika Vaadhu"post, even I had the same thoughts on watching the ads. Thankfully , I havnt subscribed to COLORS(being a pay channel). Although many readers have expressed views to the contrary , I feel the ad could have been presented in a better way to reflect the evils of child marriage and not a 10 year old cutie chirruping "Kya aap meri saadi mein aa rahe hain" - looks like the whole world has been invited to that little girls marriage.Who do these duffers hire for such crude ads?Real shame...

  11. @baalika badhu: DUH!!! @the AXE ad - that guy cannot look HOT even if he tries. DUH! again.

  12. I can't agree more....

    Your template has gone bonkers...plz undo the changes!!!

  13. I agree too...I am not able to read anything beyond the second video. Pls undo the changes.

  14. Hi Rashmi, looks like you haven’t seen too many episodes of this serial. It is in no way trying to propagate the idea of child marriage. On the contrary this serial is trying to bring out the ill effects. its been on air for quite some time and most of the sequences covered till now have brought out the disastrous effect such marriages have specially on girls. We might like to believe otherwise but child marriages are still happening in India and this serial is trying to create an awareness around it..

  15. This time, you've definitely bitten off more than you can chew. The child-marriage serial, as mentioned by other viewers was sponsored by the government ministry, it does come with taglines trying to show child marriage as bad, and it IS set in modern times - relatively modern times. I don't see how this takes away from the authenticity. You need to watch more episodes of this show and then you will see what this show is really saying. It is in no way portraying child marriage - in fact for one, it is the only Indian tv show I have seen in a long time with a decent script, and decnegt actors, actually trying to push a message. It is interesting that you don't object to and of KEkta Kapoors kSerials but you have a problem with this one. They actually give very bad messages, yet somehow you pick the one show which is trying to do something positive as the bad show. Interesting.

  16. Wow, I am surprised that people are defending Ballika Vadhu.

    Anyway, I am not in favor of such shows, but I am against your idea of banning such shows. If there is an audience for such shows, well, more power to the producer. India needs less censorship, not more. No exceptions. ;)

  17. Spon on rashmi... i second your thots -

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. So here's the comic I promised:

    Female Radio Channel

    Not directly related to this, but the serial gets a mention :) Hope you like it.

  20. Spotted yesterday, a microwave in the kitchen of the anandi household. While in another scene, the nanad is seen grinding mirchi in a okhli.

    Its atleast a little different from what's happening.

  21. Its people like you who uphold the closed mind frame held against the Indian Masses.

    ITS A F***ING AD..

    Its supposed to be corny, why do you think Axe sells?!

    Remember that other ad..
    Millions of naked chicks running towards a guy coz he sprayed some semi-solid aerosol on himself.
    It SELLS.
    The ads are supposed to be funny and you have to have an extreme tightass to not see the humor in them.

    'm surprised so many of the other bloggers agree, follow the horde eh?!

    And regarding the Balika Vadhuka serial, how is it propagating Child Marriage in any way!? They have sub-titles, that too in Hindi so that it gets the message across to the masses, which explains the evils of the concept of child marriage.

    Dude, money's always gonna be made, look at the message they're trying to get across instead of bitching about the moolah being minted.

    *Al Gore has minted millions by waving the GW flag, but nonetheless he bought the crisis to the fore.

    *For those who are internationally challenged - Mr.Gore is the Ex Vice President of the US and he has been one of the front runners preaching the negative-effects of Global Warming.

  22. Not seen the show
    Child Marriage exists in rural India that includes the outskirts of 'developed' states like Maharashtra.
    the post is interesting and I agree that television shows are sub-par quality.

  23. Rashmi: Congratulations for starting the popular youth magazine JAM.

    I just want to wish you all the very best in your endeavors. By the way, how will I contribute articles to JAM.


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  27. Anonymous1:06 PM

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