Soft-soaping India: The World of Indian Televised Soap Operas

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Trentham Books, 2004 - Performing Arts - 133 pages
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At least one third of India's billion inhabitants regularly watch Indian soap operas, which have displaced popular cinema as the prime entertainment genre. And in the Indian diaspora on every Continent, Indian soap operas are a feature of life -- a source of pleasure, discussion and shared identity.

This book characterizes the forms of these soap operas and relates how they have evolved. It explores how they have contributed to shaping the identity of modern India. Initially developed by the national telecast service, Doordoshan, specifically to convey messages about women's role, contraception and other family issues. Doordoshan also engaged viewers with serializations of the two great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabarata. But with the onset of cable TV, soap operas became primarily entertainment driven and progressively more sensational. The book traces the impact of these different strands of soap operas and considers their impact on India's dominant concerns: the search for national unity, identity, the changing role of women, and the ideology of consumerism.

"Soft Soaping India" is the first book to study Indian televised soap operas in all its forms and will be essential reading for students of the media and sociologists interested in India and its diaspora. It will also be relevant to Women's Studies.

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About the author (2004)

K. Moti Gokulsing is Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the University of East London. He co-edits the journal South Asian Popular Culture and is the author of the acclaimed Indian Popular Cinema, also published by Trentham.

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