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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Sony TV: Ladies Special & Patiala Babes: A Breath of Fresh Air for Indian Television

Sony TV has always been at the forefront of bringing unconventional, realistic Indian serials – especially with past shows like Amber Dhara and Kuch Rang Pyaar Ke, amongst others.

Currently, there are two brand new shows that are adhering to Sony’s style.

These two shows are Ladies Special and Patiala Babes… Both are female-centric shows which premiered on the channel.

It has been a couple of weeks since the serials have run and they have been gaining acclaim from audiences and the media alike.

Filme Shilmy explores how these two serials prove to be a breath of fresh air for Indian Television.

Ladies Special

Ladies Special first premiered in 2009 as part of a major revamp on Sony TV.

Now, nine-years-later, the show is back covering the life we know today. 

The show is based on the lives of three ladies of various Indian cultures:

Prarthana Kashyap (Chhavi Pandey), Meghna Nikade (Girija Oak) and Bindu (Bijal Joshi), who happen to meet in the ladies special compartment of a local train in Mumbai.

How the strangers become friends during their regular commute in local trains and start sharing their life stories with each other forms the crux of the series.

Prarthana is a stolid Bihari woman who single-handedly looks after her parents and younger brother.

Meghana is a Maharashtrian, optimistic mother of two young children who strive to find a solution to all her problems.

Bindu is a cheerful Gujarati woman married to a doctor, who loves another woman.

The way these three different storylines interweave with each other is so flawless.

Unlike usual Hindi serials, this does not adhere to stereotypes and it avoids the regressive saas-bahu drama.

All three protagonists are realistic and progressive representations of how Indian women today are. 

It certainly is not the first time that Optimystix has pushed the envelope through their serials.

For instance, the 2010 dramedy Saas Bina Sasural focuses on a young lady who gets married into a home consisting of seven quirky men, deprived of a mother-in-law.

Also, the 2016 show Krishnadasi describes the lives, harsh realities and truths of religious Devdasi customs in a remote village of Krishnavati.

It can be said that team Opti has always strived to bring unique stories to our TV screens.

Patiala Babes

Patiala Babes focuses on how Babita (Paridhi Sharma), is dumped by her England-based husband, Ashok (Bhanujeet Sudan) for another woman, Mitali (Hunar Hali).

Babita aka Babes has willingly stayed away from her hubby for 17 long years, to take care of her invalid in-laws and nagging, selfish sister-in-law, who lives with them with her good-for-nothing hubby.

The family is complete with Babes’ idealistic father-in-law and stereotypical mother-in-law. 

However, the beacon of change is represented through the daughter, Mini (Ashnoor Kaur).

Mini has just finished high school and now wishes to pursue her dream career of a globe-trotting adventure photographer.

Being very social media savvy, she loves to post pictures online, is a girl of today and is a huge support-system to her mother.

It is interesting to see how we have two representations of female empowerment. 

On one hand, Babita is a devoted and selfless homemaker – a typical ‘Bahu’ who will put everyone’s happiness before hers.

On the other hand, Mini represents how today’s youth is trying to balance religiosity and modernity in its own unique ways.

Now, one keenly awaits to see how Babes transitions from being this sacrificial woman, to a strong and independent individual.

Final Word

Ladies Special and Patiala Babes are two shows that are relevant to the new wave of feminism in India.

Both serials are trying hard to avoid stereotypes, especially those which Indian television infamous for.

Over many years, we have seen female characters being suppressed in the name of marriage and duties. 

As such, we have seen too many evil vamps and mothers-in-laws, which are reasons why Indian TV carries such a negative typecast.

However, the shows celebrate women empowerment in a very subtle and non-boastful way.  

In fact, there is more of a human interest angle to both programmes, which is why they seem so refreshing to watch.

Perhaps this is the change that Hindi serials have been waiting for.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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