For the first time in the history of television, the producer-director of a mega serial, Thirumurugan, appeared on TV on Monday night and apologised for depicting an elaborate sexual assault scene in his mega soap Kalyana Veedu. The Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) ordered the makers of the serial, aired by Sun TV, to do so.
The BCCC, besides directing that a pre-recorded video apology in Tamil be aired for six days (from September 23 to 28), also imposed a fine of `2.5 lakh on the TV channel.
After the BCCC directive Thirumurugan stated that the channel regrets the prolonged depiction of women's torture, including scenes of gang rape in the episodes of Kalyana Veedu telecast on May 14 and 15 as well as an act of revenge shown in the serial on June 28. The channel also accepted that the social messaging deriving out of these episodes aired was not productive and such acts of atrocities committed on women should be condemned.
The director virtually admitted that the contents aired were malicious and will have a bad influence on society. The issue started after BCCC received several complaints from television viewers condemning the said episodes of serial Kalyana Veedu telecast on Sun TV at prime time 7.30 pm. The social media also was widely critical about the controversial scenes.
Based on the complaints, BCCC issued a notice to Sun TV and reportedly both the channel as well as producer Thiru Pictures defended the serial and argued that the necessary precautions were in place to ensure the family-oriented serial remained so, and that the scenes portrayed to show the wicked nature of the woman was taken out of context.
On reviewing the serial, BCCC found that the episodes violated several rules laid down by the regulatory body and reprimanded the channel and levied a penalty.
On May 14 and 15, the episodes of Kalyana Veedu telecast a sequence featuring a female character named Roja who hires four henchmen and provides them booze and biryani before ordering them explicitly to rape her own sister to take revenge.
The head of the gang, under the influence of alcohol, rapes Roja first and allows his friends also to indulge in the heinous act. All these were picturised in lurid manner. In a later episode telecast on June 28, rapists are punished with extreme violence, including setting the perpetrators’ genitals on fire.
Thirumurugan, who has a few films including Em Magan to his credit, was not available for comment. DC spoke few television buffs, who justified the punishment from BCCC.
“I regularly watch television serials. I did watch Kalyana Veedu on the said two days, which gave me a jolt. I have not come across such ghastly and uncouth scenes on TV soap, though such scenes may be part of some films. With these serials watched by millions of people, I felt the TV channel, the writer, director and producer of any soap should have some kind of responsibility and avoid such unconstructive scenes,” says Kamala of Velachery.
Savithri, an IT professional, also echoed the views. “Although fighting, abusing, and drama all happens in most of the reality shows that are telecast, I have also not witnessed these kind of scenes on a television serial. There are youngsters at home who also watch TV programmes. Such bad content will give new ideas to young minds.”