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Demonetisation finds a cheerleader in the world of television fiction as scriptwriters weave the policy into the plot.

Written by Somya Lakhani |
December 17, 2016 12:10:51 am
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Jai ho Modi ji ki. Guru, aaj toh aapne bacha liya”. This is not a dialogue from a government advertisement; it is what the protagonist of Zee TV’s show Jamai Raja says in one of the episodes. Meanwhile, on Colors’ show Devanshi, the young girl who plays the lead, prepares an essay on black money and demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, and on &TV’s  Bhabhi Ji Ghar Par Hai, one of the main characters, Nalleji is elated with the news that aims at eliminating black money from the country.

In the world of television fiction, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has found an unlikely cheerleader. Since he announced his “war” on black money on November 8, several shows have introduced demonetisation in their storylines. Zee TV, owned by Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Chandra, also runs a ticker with #FightAgainstCorruption; and Zee Marathi runs videos of their actors informing the viewers about the ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

“Our take is that the government has taken the right steps, and a little inconvenience on the way is fine. Usually, we do not include current news in the show’s script but this time we were asked by the channel to do so,” says Manoj Santoshi, writer of Bhabhi Ji Ghar Par Hai. Other serials which include references to demonetisation are Star Plus’ Yeh Hai Mohabbatein, Life OK’s May I Come In Madam? and SAB TV’s Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah and Chidiya Ghar.

Adds Devanshi’s producer Sonali Jaffar, “We don’t use current affairs on the show but this fits our storyline. While problems have emerged in the demonetisation process, we don’t want to be unnecessarily anti-establishment. We are merely educating people on what to do now that this policy has been implemented.”

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The December 6 episode of Zee’s show Kumkum Bhagya aired a scene in which the matriarch of the house, Biji, stands in an ATM queue, and says that “agar main picture dekhne ke liye line mein lag sakti hu, toh ATM se paise nikalne ke liye, bank mein kyun nahi khadi ho sakti?” In another episode aired on December 9, the daughter-in-law of the house gets approval from the other women for managing to buy fruits and vegetables for the house through a card.

“This move requires guts, which Modiji has. We want people to not believe in the negativity, and that’s why we are giving a positive message. This was a mutual decision by the show and the channel,” says Kumkum Bhagya’s creative director Nitin Dhal.

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First published on: 17-12-2016 at 12:10:51 am
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