Sony’s Pehredaar Piya Ki has been surrounded by controversies right from the day its promo first aired. The show was already in hot water for its portrayal of child marriage, even before it hit the small screen. In fact, many activists and TV personalities such as Karan Wahi and Vikrant Massey have slammed the show over its regressive content.
However, things went a little too far, when recently, after the child marriage, the makers showed a honeymoon sequence. After the episode was aired on TV, viewers decided to take matters in their own hands and a number of campaigns were initiated to ban the show. One such campaign, which has got the maximum attention is a petition addressed to Smriti Zubin Irani, Cabinet Minister of Textiles and Information and Broadcasting, which was posted by Mansi Jain on Change.org.
“Pehredaar Piya Ki A 10-year-old impressionable little kid (“piyaa”) caressing and stalking a lady who’s more than double his age and filling sindoor in her “maang” is being telecast at prime time 8.30 pm on Sony (family time). It is to be devoured by the entire nation. Imagine the kind of influence it will steadily and perpetually infuse in the viewers’ mindset. 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 (sic),” the petition reads and has gathered some serious momentum with over one lakh people signing it and supporting the argument that it is unfit for viewing.
While many agree that the plot of the show is bizarre and regressive, the director of the show, Amandeep Singh says that they aren’t supporting child marriage and the content of the show is in fact, very “progressive”.
“Many people are just assuming that the show is bad. However, when you watch the serial, you will see that there is no vulgarity shown,” he says, defending the show. When asked about the ‘suhagraat and honeymoon’ episodes, Amandeep says, “It was a trick by the woman of the house. However, the kid doesn’t treat the girl as his wife, but as a friend.”
Meanwhile, Tejaswi Prakash, the lead actress of the show also defended it, comparing it with Game of Thrones, where a character Tommen marries someone elder to him. However, seems like the actress missed out on a few key points before making the statement.
GoT does not breach legal age of consent, and indeed increases the age of its characters to suit laws. In Ireland, the age of consent is 16 and hence Tommen’s age, which is actually six at the start of the books, ends up being 10 at the start of the TV show.
Kalpana Kannabiran, a women’s rights activist, says that this is not the first time a TV show is promoting a retrograde ideology. “The concept of the show is preposterous. The focus here should not be on the age of the male lead, who is a 10-year-old kid, but on the deep seated misogyny,” she says.
Keerti Gadamsetty, a viewer of the show and also a petitioner from the city, says, “No matter in what situation the girl married this kid, the idea of them marrying is wrong, both morally and legally. People are comparing this show with Balika Vadhu, but the makers of that show handled a very sensitive issue of child marriage beautifully.”
Whether the show is banned or not is yet to be seen. However, there is no denying the fact that the show has hit an all-time low on Indian television....