A few weeks ago, a new serial started on one of the regional channels (Zee Marathi) called Anubandh. The reason I know it is because it replaced another really popular serial and my parents had to watch to see if it could fit into the now-freed time slot.
This serial revolves around the subject of surrogacy. I was pleasantly surprised that at a prime time slot when the channel could have had another reality or show and vacuous loud saas bahu show, it chose a sensitive and a not-often discussed topic in serials.
Often in movies and serials, the moment the wife cannot have a baby, she grandly gives her husband prompt permission to go sleep with another woman, to make babies. Why they never give surrogacy a chance I used to wonder? But seeing all that hysteria, I thought, surrogacy would not lend itself to much drama.
Coming back to Anubandh, (the word my mother tells me means a bond but seeing the opening montage, I am guessing it means a strong, invisible or unbreakable bond, like perhaps between a baby and a mother) I was actually glad to watch this serial, thinking maybe change in content was slow but but surely there.
But it’s been a little under a month and the stereotypes are beginning to show:
- A girl who drinks/smokes/goes dancing/wears ‘mod’ clothes is inherently termed bad. “She doesn’t have our values.” They say.
- The famous ‘bad’ girl who wants to be the surrogate mother is asked by the doctor if her parents gave her permission (she is single). She has chosen to not to seek permission from them (in keeping with her bad image). The doctor then asks her is her boyfriend ‘allowed’ her to have this baby then? What’s this obsession with permissions?
- The woman who cannot have a baby does not look beyond that one baby, to validate her marriage and relationship. Everything else pales in comparison. Even her husband, for whom this is as much an ordeal, is not important. So much so that now she needs mood-altering pills to keep calm, to interview surrogate mothers.
The one stereotype they have not yet emphasised on is a ‘single girl’ choosing to have a baby. But I have a feeling it will come up because the protagonist will have the baby and she is the complete anti-thesis of the girl mentioned in the earlier points. But, no that has not come as yet. Which was also a nice surprise.
I have hope that maybe they are building up stereotypes to bring them crashing down? Here is a movie that was reasonably well-made on the subject of surrogacy.