Experiencing Real Life through Reel Life
Talking about TV soap operas has now become a household gossip in India. Inevitably, one has to pass out some comments over the daily episodes of these soaps. We are aware of the reality that television has a greater potential impact on social development than ever before in human history but how much? We prove ourselves so meek in the sphere of reel world that it tends to even shape and mould our behaviors and attitudes. Now the question that strikes our mind is that is it the “pervasive nature” of these soaps that casts a spell on its viewers or is it audience becoming so addictive to it? The answer will be obvious by taking a flashback on the journey of TV serials in India. The first ever TV soap opera of India was “Hum Log” (1984) aired on doordarshan which telecasted only 156 episodes for 17 months during the years 1984-1985. The series quickly became immensely popular and its characters became legends and a common topic of discussion. Hum Log was a story of an Indian middle class family of the 1980s and their daily struggles and aspirations. Its main aim was to entertain audiences but also promoted such social themes as gender equality, small family and planned family and national integration as well.
At the end of each 22 min episode, a veteran Hindi film actor Ashok Kumar used to discuss the on-going story and situations with the audience in a unique style using Hindi couplets and rhymes. The study of Hum Log’s review showed that a high degree of “para-social interaction” occurred between the audience members and their favourite Hum Log character. Para-social interaction is the face-to-face interpersonal relationship that develops between a viewer and a media role model. Being the first ever soap opera of India Hum Log achieved a reliable success and about 50 million individuals watched the average broadcast of Hum Log. Thus we view Hum Log as the first ever...