Two powerful serials that have taken Television screens by storm in Tamil Nadu

Tamil is now emerging as a major language of communication. Many Tamil movies are being dubbed into Hindi and other major languages. Some directors are making a big difference in Tamil films. And now the time has come for Television serials to make the most profound impact. The visuals are so powerful, that even if one does not know the language, he can understand the story. This article is an attempt to discuss two recent powerful serials.


Sun TV is the most popular television channel in Tamil Nadu. This has virtually conquered the television screens in Tamil Nadu, as the serials are powerful and have excellent messages. Not all the serials are good, though. One such serial at is on air at the moment is a serial called "Ehirneechal" (this translates into swimming successfully against all odds). On another channel called Vijay TV is another serial that is on air at 8.30 p.m. this serial is called "Bhagyalakshmi".

Both serials talk about women's liberation and mirror the current thoughts and attitudes of most Tamil women. The already powerful Tamil NRI community has women occupying the seniormost positions and it is estimated that this community's approx. two crore population spread all over the world has been keenly watching these serials as well. In India, a lot of people have taken to social media to express their views in favor of the two leading ladies of these serials. Those who are helpless housewives who are still helpless under the dictator husbands are also opening up on Whats App conversations and interviews.

It is in this context that the story line of these two serials needs to be discussed. Unlike a movie, where only three hours of entertainment is possible, in a twenty-three-minute display of all human emotions, both serials have created so much of an impact that the advertisers are laughing all the way to the bank. While Bagyalaksmi is on air at exactly 8.30 p.m., the timing of "Ehirneechal" is 9.30 p.m., and this is reportedly done to enable the IT generation to watch it without fail. There is a demand to push it to the vital 7.30 p.m. slot on Sun TV.

We will discuss a) The Story line of Ehtirneechal b) The Storyline of Bagyalakshmi and c) The Sociological impact of both serials on the masses.

The Storyline of Ehtirneechal

Though Madurai is the third largest city of Tamil Nadu, with a massive agricultural base, it is a highly male-dominated society across most communities and castes. There are many who study very well and go abroad. The city itself is now in a stage of transformation into an IT hub, and it will take quite a while before it catches up with the likes of Chennai and Coimbatore. The males are typically chauvinists who never allow their wives to work. Or even if they do, they are not allowed to excel in their fields beyond a particular limit.

When one captures the local ways of talking Tamil and the normal emotions that go along with the "native" Madurai, complete with all the slang words, the serial is bound to be a massive hit. The serial showcases the story of a dictator, who heads a family of four brothers. The first three brothers, including the dictator, have wives who are typical, slaves, dancing to the tunes of their husbands. The fourth brother marries an educated girl, who is the heroine of this serial.

The twists and turns in the serial are superb. The dictator is a local lightweight, who manages some lucrative trading businesses. He is also rowdy and his brothers are known criminals. The last brother is also one who initially listens to the elder brother, and literally throws out his wife. He moves for divorce, but the girl forces her way back to the residence, since the cooling period is not over. The four brothers have a sister, who falls in love with the brother of one of the dictator's enemies. The heroine is all for the girl marrying the rich and famous boy, with whom she falls in love.

How she wins over the hearts of the women and also the widowed mother of all the children, forms the crux of the story. She manages to convince her husband that it is high time he revolted against the dictatorship of his brother. Her husband does exactly that. He goes to take up a job in an automobile showroom and gets a good name within a very short time. The young man and his wife, the heroine, are now against the dictator, who also insults his own brother (the second eldest brother). Hence, this scene, where the brother helplessly cries when being insulted, won many hearts. His child, now in school, shows up and requests the father to just be alive, boldly telling him that she would study and take care of her parents. The dictator now stands isolated, and it is not before long that the entire family, except his only brother (the third in the family), who is his faithful "yes man" at the moment, gang up and get their sister married to the educated person.

The serial showcases the life of a dictator, but this male closely resembles many from the villages of Madurai and the women closely resemble the helpless housewives. This serial is a super-duper hit, mainly because the dictator, who still believes that his word is law, slowly finds everyone against him.

The director has chosen the right person for the right job. The heroine, Janani, is from Bangalore but now speaks Tamil well. Her voice is dubbed even now, but her acting is very natural. She creates a video of her elder sister-in-law (wife of the dictator) whose viral counts exceed a million followers in no time. She gets calls from all over the world, informing her of how their husbands changed their attitudes after watching her advice to the men, and motivating women to step out and question the dictatorship of their husbands. The heroine goes through all emotions effortlessly.

This serial tops all TRP ratings, while other serials, like the famous "Sundari" now on in several languages), have been pushed to the background.

With a superb story, natural acting, and the nativity of Madurai and its environs, the recipe for success has been well crafted by the director. It has been reported that even those who do not understand Tamil so well switch on their televisions and stay glued to it for the full thirty minutes in Chennai and several other cities and virtually all over the State.

The Storyline of Bagyalakshmi

Bagyalakshmi is a serial shown on Vijay TV. It is a blockbuster. It showcases the story of a woman, an innocent housewife, who would bear all insults from her educated husband, Gopinath. Unfortunately, the husband did not want to marry her at all, as he had already fallen in love with a highly educated girl called Radhika, now an HR Manager in a good firm. Gopinath had not forgiven his father for forcing him to marry Bhagyalakshmi.

Gopinath has three grown-up children, one of whom is now married. The second son goes on to become a film director. Gopinath gets to meet his former lover, and immediately starts romancing her, without his wife's knowledge. He leads Baylakshmi to a divorce stage and thinks that he could easily cheat her into signing the divorce papers. Finally, when Bagyalakshmi comes to know how her husband cheated on her, she revolts and signs up for a divorce.

Though divorced, she sets up a big catering business and takes care of her family. The story is now gripping, showing Bhagyalakshmi working against all odds and winning in her new role as the breadwinner.

The Sociological impact of both serials on the masses

Though the Tamil population in the State is one of the most advanced in terms of absolute literacy percentages, most female graduates are housewives in semi-urban and rural areas. They are ruled by their autocratic husbands.

However, there is a lot of influence by advanced technology in the form of cell phones and television and so housewives have started small economic activities in what is famously called self-help groups. These groups are very active and the women have started earning money at least to partly run their families. The percentage of women who are still treated as slaves is coming down gradually. Those who are still at the receiving end need role models of women who boldly question the "System", as it exists.

Both serials have two young women, one of whom is middle-aged and another who is in her twenties, questioning the "System" of autocratic husbands and coming out tremendously successful. These two serials have opened up old debates and social media in Tamil is very active. Millions have expressed their anguish on what the autocrat is doing and suggestions are made to get him arrested under the law!!

Well, the serial is so real that "Ehirneechal" is part of the psyche of any Tamilian anywhere in the world. The director is bombarded with calls from around the world, requesting him to show the heroine as one who wins and does so, superbly. She is already on the right path and the educated young girl is now supporting the love marriage of her sister-in-law with her lover and is totally opposed to the dictatorship of the head of the family, who wants to impose an uneducated moron as the wife of his own sister.

The sociological implications are so huge that there are now lessons for every aspiring director. There are bound to be more serials of this tribe. Bagyalakshmi is also in the same category, with an under-educated matriculate rising against all odds.

Male dictators are now slowly changing their attitudes and open expression of the same is seen in social media. Hence, social media has already become a viable weapon for sweeping social change. One can only hope that this welcome trend stays as a durable trend in South Tamil Nadu and elsewhere as well.


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