Hero, Villain and the Bad Girl
A sneak-peek into the incredulous world of Indian TV serials
I am writing this extremely rough unplanned piece because I am very very angry and can’t hold back anymore. This is just an example of one little Bengali serial, but I am assuring you, out there is an ocean full of serials and movies just of this kind, always have been and don’t seem to go anywhere. I will talk about them someday later.
This is a popular primetime serial of a popular Bengali GEC about a talented street magician. She gets married to a rich boy who happens to be the son of the greatest magic authority of present day. Our heroine is trying her best to become the ideal daughter-in-law and also a good wife and also the ideal heir of his father-in-law, because it’s now the dream of her husband and loving father-in-law. Meanwhile her eeveel eldest stepsister-in-law (also a magician) hates her and keeps on sabotaging her life and career…you get the idea.
Now cut to the current episodes: the father cancels magician license of the eldest sister for criminal use of magic but instead of going to the police (which is bad for their celeb family reputation) he decides to marry her off to some good man who can 'take care' of her and keep her good (because he’s a loving father as well). So he finds a, no, the most traditional, unsmart, unpresentable, worst representative of geek community- an officially sweet and over-mannered 'good boy' groom who is polite and respectful to anything and everything but the consent of bride because he falls in love with Maya (the bad sister). Maya says 'no' repeatedly but no one listens to her on different grounds- family honor, good in long-run, good for her, bitter medicine, her responsibility to keep the honor of her father. Oh, forgot to tell- the father once proposed this marriage to his friend, the groom’s father, when they were kids, and even though his friend understands that was a light playful conversation, the father insists because he is a man of words. Our progressive heroine supports her father-in-law because she wants nothing but good for her evil sister-in-law. Desperate, Maya plans to escape the marriage by pretending to elope and marry another rich evil man who secretly plans to actually marry her. So the evil man tricks and kidnaps Maya, and tries to marry her forcefully. Maya, otherwise badass and supersmart, screams for help, throws her fists in fear and then cries helplessly. Meanwhile, father, other family members and the good-guy groom reach there to stop the marriage.
Now what we exactly see is: while the villain is strangling the helpless bad girl, the hero sneaks out to get the sindur (vermilion powder), slips his hands in the strangling, pours it on the girl’s head and 'marries' her. The hero 'rescues' the bad girl from the forced marriage with the villain by marrying her (who despises the hero and seeked villain’s help only to get rid of him).
Maya yells out of rage but gets slapped because she lied and dishonored father and now she’s disregarding the hero’s heroic act of 'saving' her. Her few sympathizers (including her evil birthmom) are stopped from wiping off the sindur (primary marriage ritual of Hindu woman) because marriage is serious holy business and there’s yard-long rule book for wiping off sindur, though apparently it can be poured anytime on any one- no rule applies. Some family member also pointed out that villain should be convicted for attempting force-marriage which is a criminal offence. And finally the father decides that, since marriage is no child’s play and they’re standing at a proper marriage ceremonial setting, Maya must get married to the hero (whom she despises and repeatedly said no to, from the very beginning). Thankfully the episode ended at the incredulous look on Maya’s face.
I can predict what will follow: eventually everyone (not eeveel) will support this decision as it’s for Maya’s own good; this time Maya will be forced by her own family into this marriage, her every revolt will be linked to her previous miscreants and showed in bad light; Maya will be tormented in her new house by her mother-in-law who always has been against this marriage because Maya is a bad girl; although it will be shown as a payback for what she did to our heroine, the good groom will be shown to care for her and save her from those abuses by standing up against his mother (and she will blame Maya for everything); Maya will be shown to hate and hurt her husband at the beginning, but eventually see how good he is, and start liking him, and finally becoming good girl. And thus, this entire monstrosity will be whitewashed and normalized in audience’s eyes.
Let’s not be shocked by this grotesque absurdity, as Indian groom legally doesn’t need his bride’s permission to sleep with her. But let’s also add an 'yet’, as India also decriminalized homosexuality just few days ago. So let’s hope, some day in future, we will see a more sensible mainstream.
Peace out! ❤