Anupamaa, a top-ranking TV show, is not only misleading but also uplifts patriarchy. The story idea revolves around the protagonist of the story wherein she is an ideal, traditional housewife who takes care of everything and is an ideal daughter-in-law, mother and wife. A homemaker who has dedicated her life to her family but doesn’t get valued for it. Apart from being a homemaker, she’s a qualified dancer.
The plot conflict deals with her husband being in love with one of his work colleagues, named Kavya, and ending up establishing an extramarital affair. The woman cast in the role opposite to Anupamaa to play the rivalry part is shown as a well-established, employed, married, updated and more beautiful woman who consists of all the traits of a perfect, high-maintenance modern town woman. On the other hand, Anupamaa is a simple, dependent, traditional Indian beauty who carries all the cultural traditions with her.
The storyline shows the protagonist to be suffering, struggling, fighting and begging for her marital rights despite being the one who is disrespected, ill-treated and has fewer priorities than her husband. Anupamaa is shown to be making sacrifices for her husband and ends up loving him with all her soul. She is fighting and doing everything possible to get him back.
The concern arises that she is shown as chasing a man who is not worth her dignity being portrayed as a ‘Tyag ki murti (a sacrificing idol)’ and ‘Pati-Vrata nari (husband-worshipping woman)’ who battles other women for her husband.
Why does marriage only subject women to loyalty and dedication towards her husband? The entire show is uplifting patriarchy and is a question on a woman’s identity and dignity, where a man is allowed to have an extramarital affair, and that too with a married woman. But Anupamaa is not shown as someone who can stand up for her own rights or have a tough, throat-cutting fight with anyone when it’s a question on her family.
The serial not only promotes stereotyping and suppression of women, and negligence of their basic rights, but also promotes a false belief of an idealistic married woman who pleases everyone in her family by doing household chores effectively.
This show not only promotes stereotypes related to women but also strengthens them under the shadow of idealism, culture and tradition. Along with it, the show is actively creating a divide among women who work at an office and those who are homemakers. Anupamaa is a homemaker in this serial who is not able to raise her voice against the wrong happenings to her.
Her daughter doesn’t appreciate her mother because she considers her to be outdated, again creating a disrespectful and baseless perspective to be fantasised by the audience that is not only illogical but also challenges morals of Indian society and parenting efforts leading to a bend towards external beauty and a materialistic approach in life.
The antagonist of Anupamaa’s life, Kavya, is shown as a working woman, but the character association of her in the plot makes her a vamp in the show, considering the fact that adultery is legal in India. A working modern woman is shown as a taboo and wrecking woman who hunts for someone else’s husband.
This builds a negative image of working women, who could have been shown in a positive manner also. The disloyalty of Viraj, Anupamaa’s husband, is again projected on Kavya in a manner that because of Kavya, Viraj is disrespecting and underestimating Anupamaa and creating a war between the two women. This, again, could have been shown as a situation with women supporting other women.
So, a working woman is shown as a house-breaker and liable for Viraj’s deeds, making him free of any claims on him considering it was Kavya who dragged her into all this. Again, a very wrongly projected message goes out to the audience: it tells them that a woman’s character is to suspect, hate and be each other’s enemy even as men continue with their malpractices.