The lockdown has exposed many people to many aspects. For men who were cooped up in their homes for more than 10 months, one such aspect has been their evening television. Many brothers, husbands, fathers, platonic friends and BFFs got a cringe-worthy magnified image of the TV series on a daily basis.
In the 90s, Ekta Kapoor ruled this zone and won the wrath of every ‘woke’ blogger for the storyline of her serials. But as the decade turned, she veered to the streaming world. That left this window open for several content creators. If you thought the new content creators would dish out anything different, you are in for something else — something like Shaadi Mubarak.
In the beginning, Shaadi Mubarak had a different concept. Preeti, driven out of the house by her son and conniving daughter-in-law, is taken in by her relatives and gets into a business relationship with KT ji, an ultra-rich past superstar. Things transpire and Preeti marries KT ji. But after a 100-odd episode, the series becomes another saas-bahu serial.
It’s been roughly 50 episodes since this century-mark and there’s not a single reference of the business that the husband-wife set up. But then, Shaadi Mubarak works in an alternate timeline. It’s a timeline where DNA tests don’t exist, two women married to the same man can live in the same palace, and the other woman can create scenes where the husband and wife have to meet in the bathroom to decide how to get her out of their lives.
Shaadi Mubarak actually started out as a good series. Almost every week, there were some solid takedowns of the people you didn’t like, unlike the strong female protagonists of Ekta Kapoor, who simmered and scarified all throughout her 1,000-episode series, until they grew a spine. In Shaadi Mubarak, every second or third episode, Preeti would have someone rip apart her enemies (verbally, of course) — her son, in this case.
That was an interesting dynamic, the mother being castigated by the son and the daughter-in-law. But that petered down faster than you the TRPs. Now, it has gone into weirdville, with two wives of the same man living in the same home and women organisations making a token appearance.
Shaadi Mubarak is actually a vile piece of content that goes against everything you thought was logical. There’s a kid living in the same house, sans DNA testing, saying that he’s KT ji‘s son from his first wife. There was this story arc of a DNA test, but maybe the screenwriters didn’t want to spend that much bandwidth in finding out how a DNA test works. Seriously, it’s been 20 episodes and nobody’s ever talked about the DNA test. Why would someone allow someone to live in a house, supposedly their kid, without a DNA test?
If that’s not enough, take a look at Ladies Special, the reimagining of a popular TV series of the early 2000s. In this, a gritty, natty Maharashtrian woman has no choice but to set up a tailoring business when her husband loses his job. And if you think Ladies Special is about a time gone by, take a look at Jau Ashi Kashi Mi Nandayla, an ongoing Marathi series about a woman and her sister-in-law running a food business from home.
About 90% of the series’ screen time is them cooking or in the kitchen. The portrayal of women as ones who spend the entirety of their day cooking won’t stop. Even in Imlie, another series on Star, we see all the womenfolk of the house doing chores they are expected or “supposed” to do — clean vegetables (I think it’s coriander), knit clothes, etc.