Well, maybe not exactly… it’s no likely that people will be turning to heir local Indian soap opera whenever they have a craving for passionately delivered monologues, sweeping political and social themes and lectures…
In reality; although soap operas are usually not looked to for educational opportunities or information, “Kyunki Saas Bahu Thi” is changing the rules, and trying out something new. It’s interesting that while American movies and shows are being engineered and manipulated that the same is happening with India’s soap operas. The difference is that for the first time ever, Americas shows are being written and produced with the goal of being crafted around on particular product to sell. In other words, instead of advertisers choosing between available movies for the one they feel is the closest fit to their product, which they will then advertise in between and around the movie, advertisers are now creating movies perfectly suited and focused as a vehicle for their product.
In India television and shows are also being written for more than just plot. This is where the similarities end. One of India’s most popular soap opera is now written with an educational slant to it. Instead of manipulating the story in order to incorporate product placements, the creators of “Kyunki Saas Bahu Thi” try to include relevant medical and social information.
For example a recent episode of “Kyunki” featured a servant whose son developed diarrhea, an important topic in India when Indians are actually dying because of this disease in record numbers. Diarrhea (which is not much more than a nuisance in America) is deadly in India with 550,000 children dying per year. People need to be educated, and slipping information into popular television shows, might be the way to do that. In “Kyunki” the servant and her employee rush the child to the hospital. At the hospital the doctor prescribes the medicinal remedy that is advised by global health groups, which in this case is oral rehydration salts. Hopefully, people watching the show will learn the symptoms of diarrhea and also how to treat it.
It’s really too soon so far to see what effects this new strategy has on society as a whole. Another question is what will happen to Hollywood as movies are changed more and more into either a way to sell tampons or the symptoms and treatment of genital warts.