It’s Cur­tains

Af­ter 30 episodes, the show - a daily soap on Sony - was dis­con­tin­ued. The last episode was aired on Au­gust 25, 2017.

The Brand Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - By Anir­ban Roy Choud­hury anir­ban.choud­hury@afaqs.com

Thirty episodes down the line, the show goes off air.

Ef­fec­tive Au­gust 28, 2017, we are pulling off (air) our pro­gramme, ‘Pehredaar Piya Ki’ from tele­vi­sion (Sony). While we un­der­stand that the de­ci­sion to end this se­rial will be dis­ap­point­ing to those whose cre­ative en­er­gies are vested in it, namely, crew and cast, we, as a chan­nel are con­vinced that we will be bet­ter served by fo­cus­ing in­stead on de­vel­op­ing viewer in­ter­est in our up­com­ing, new shows. We are grate­ful to all the artistes, pro­duc­ers and fans of our shows and re­quest you to gra­ciously sup­port the view­er­ship of our newer ven­tures,” read the of­fi­cial state­ment is­sued by Sony Pic­tures Net­works In­dia’s flag­ship chan­nel Sony, con­firm­ing the end of the con­tro­ver­sial daily soap.

Pro­duced by Shashi-Sumeet Pro­duc­tions, ‘Pehredaar Piya Ki’ is — was, rather — the tale of an 18-yearold girl, who mar­ries a 10-year-old boy, in or­der to safe­guard him from im­pend­ing dan­ger. The girl (Diya), who was once saved by the boy’s (Ratan) fa­ther, de­cides to ful­fil the dy­ing man’s last wish by agree­ing to be his son’s ‘pehredaar’ (pro­tec­tor).

The con­cept of the show irked many and peo­ple ex­pressed their views freely on so­cial me­dia. Af­ter a few episodes were aired, a woman named Mansi Jain started a pe­ti­tion on ‘change.org’, urg­ing the Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing (MIB) to ban the show.

The pe­ti­tion reads: ‘Pehredaar Piya Ki’ - A show where a 10-year old im­pres­sion­able lit­tle kid is seen ca­ress­ing and stalk­ing a lady twice his age and fill­ing ‘sin­door’ in her ‘maang’ is be­ing tele­cast on Sony at prime time. Imag­ine the kind of in­flu­ence it will steadily and per­pet­u­ally in­fuse in the view­ers’ mind-set. We want a ban on the se­rial. We do not want our kids to be in­flu­enced by such TV se­ri­als. Join us in sign­ing the pe­ti­tion to ban this se­rial.

The pe­ti­tion, as of Au­gust 29, 2017, had 1,38,395 dig­i­tal sig­na­tures. On Au­gust 16, 2017, the Broad­cast­ing Con­tent Com­plaints Coun­cil (BCCC) urged the chan­nel to shift the show from the 8:30 PM time slot to 10:30 PM. Sony com­plied and the show, which pre­miered on July 17, 2017, was moved to 10:30 PM.

The pri­mary con­cern raised in the pe­ti­tion was - the show was ex­pos­ing kids to ob­jec­tion­able con­tent like child mar­riage. Well, this is not the first TV show to do so; in 2008, Vi­a­com18’s gen­eral en­ter­tain­ment chan­nel Colors started air­ing ‘Ba­lika Vadhu’, a show cre­ated to take on the is­sue of child mar­riage. In this show, the cen­tral char­ac­ter Anandi was forced to drop out of school and live with her in-laws. Her hus­band (Jagya) was a lit­tle boy him­self.

We reached out to the writer of ‘Ba­lika Vadhu’ - Ga­jra Kot­tary. “It’s not al­ways about what you show on screen,” she tells afaqs! Re­porter, “what mat­ters a lot is what you say be­tween the lines. In ‘Ba­lika Vadhu’, Anandi and Jagya were kids and they be­haved like kids till they ac­tu­ally grew up...”

‘Pehredaar Piya Ki’ even made a ‘suhaag raat’-re­lated ref­er­ence. Kot­tary (who re­cently pub­lished her fic­tion novel ‘Girls don’t cry’) sup­ports the move­ment against the show and ar­gues in favour of reg­u­la­tory in­ter­ven­tion, “There is a feel­ing that ‘TV pe kuch bhi chalega’ and it is good to see that some­one is mon­i­tor­ing the con­tent that’s go­ing on air on tele­vi­sion. I don’t think this show should have stayed on air any longer.”

Sumeet Mit­tal, the pro­ducer of ‘Pehredaar Piya Ki’, main­tains that the chan­nel and pro­duc­tion house mu­tu­ally de­cided to take the show off air. He says, “We made the show for the 8:30 PM slot, and air­ing it at 10:30 PM was not mak­ing any sense for us... hence, we de­cided to take it off. We have the chan­nel’s sup­port and we are work­ing to­gether to come up with a new project.”

But sources within the chan­nel in­form us that MIB has had an in­for­mal dis­cus­sion with the chan­nel af­ter which the chan­nel de­cided to take the show off air. Dur­ing the press launch of Kaun Banega Crorepati, in Mum­bai, on Au­gust 23, 2017, afaqs! Re­porter asked Dan­ish Khan, EVP and busi­ness head, Sony, about the show. At the time, tak­ing it off air was nowhere in his scheme of things. He said, ad­dress­ing a group of me­dia pro­fes­sion­als, “BCCC is an in­dus­try fo­rum and we are a part of it, so when it asked us to move the show to 10:30 PM we did it hap­pily. Is the move a good or a bad one? Only the rat­ings will tell.”

Khan added, “A lot of peo­ple spoke about the show with­out ac­tu­ally watch­ing it. In a coun­try where it is pre­sumed that a man will al­ways pro­tect a woman, isn’t it a pro­gres­sive thought that roles have been re­versed? It’s fic­tion and you can­not de­cide the moral of the story based on one episode... the moral emerges through the drama, af­ter it has run its course. We be­lieve it’s very good con­tent. Over a pe­riod of time peo­ple will un­der­stand the rea­son we have cho­sen (to air) this show. It has a strong mes­sage.”

About the reper­cus­sions of dis­con­tin­u­ing the show, Mit­tal says, “It will def­i­nitely be a short-term mon­e­tary loss, but our con­tin­ued work with the chan­nel will even­tu­ally lead to long-term gain.”

Mit­tal feels the so­cial me­dia out­burst against the show was a bit “ir­re­spon­si­ble”.

“So­cial me­dia is open to all and peo­ple to­day ex­press their opin­ion and com­ment ag­gres­sively. But some­times they need to think, as it af­fects oth­ers mas­sively. We have made shows in the past... this was a good show, which com­plied with all the norms and reg­u­la­tions. We did not ex­pect an out­burst like this,” he adds. ■

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