Indian soap opera

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Indian soap operas or Indian serials are soap operas written, produced, filmed in India, with characters played by Indians with episodes broadcast on Indian television.[1]

India's first soap opera was Hum Log, which concluded with 154 episodes, was the longest running serial in the history of Indian television at the time it ended.

The most common languages in which Indian serials are made in are Hindi, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, and Malayalam, though many contain a mix of the predominant language and English.

Indian soap operas are also broadcast in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.[2][3]


India's first soap opera was Hum Log, which first aired in 1984[4] and concluded with 154 episodes, was the longest running serial in the history of Indian television at the time it ended. It had an audience of 60 million.[5] Every episode of was about 25 minutes long, and the last episode was about 55 minutes. At the end of every episode, veteran Hindi film actor Ashok Kumar would discuss the ongoing story and situations with the audience using Hindi couplets and limericks. In later episodes, he would introduce the actors who played characters in the serial and end his monologue with the Indian language versions of the words "Hum Log."

Biographies of famous people started being produced in the form of soap operas. Meera was a biography of Meera, Veer Shivaji portrayed Chhatrapati Shivaji Shahji Raje Bhosle, Jhansi Ki Rani presented Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi, Chanakya covered Chanakya and Chittod Ki Rani Padmini Ka Johur portrayed Rani Padmini,Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat is a biography of Ashoka The Great.

Crime shows also started being produced and aired. Adaalat was an Indian television courtroom drama series which revolves around 'Advocate K.D Pathak', a defense lawyer with an impeccable track record of winning cases and setting helpless innocent victims free, but not at the cost of upholding the truth and C.I.D., follows a team of detectives belonging to the Crime Investigation Department in Mumbai. The protagonist of the show is Shivaji Satam. C.I.D. is the longest-running TV series in India.[6]

Social impact[edit]

Soaps have an impact on Indian society, with regard to national integration, identity, globalisation,[7] women, ethics and social issues in rural areas.[citation needed] The first Indian soap opera, Hum Log, began as a family planning program, and although it quickly turned its focus to entertainment, it continued to embed pro-development messages which provided a model of utilizing the television serial as an "edutainment" method that was followed by countries around the world.[8]

A 2007 study of cable coming to rural India showed that it led to "significant decreases in the reported acceptability of domestic violence towards women and son preference, as well as increases in women's autonomy and decreases in fertility." It also "found suggestive evidence that exposure to cable increases school enrollment for younger children, perhaps through increased participation of women in household decision-making."[9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pak-Hind Ka Swag, Book 5 "Culture, Technology and fun", chapter 16 "soap opera, Serials and films"
  2. ^ Geeta Pandey. "BBC - Culture - Indian soap operas: Family affairs". BBC Culture. 
  3. ^ "India Marginalized in Myanmar". 
  4. ^ Kohli, Vanita (14 June 2006). The Indian Media Business. SAGE Publications. pp. 1–. ISBN 9780761934691. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  5. ^ Gokulsing, K. Moti (2004). Soft-soaping India: The World of Indian Televised Soap Operas. Trentham Books. pp. 32–. ISBN 9781858563213. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "What makes this TV show such a hit with Indians?". Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  7. ^ Gokulsing, K. (2004). Soft-Soaping India: The World of Indian Televised Soap Operas. Trentham Books, UK. ISBN 1-85856-321-6. p. 105.
  8. ^ Aggarwal, Vir Bala; Gupta, V. S. (1 January 2001). Handbook of Journalism and Mass Communication. Concept Publishing Company. pp. 208–. ISBN 9788170228806. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Jensen, Robert & Oster, Emily Oster (August 2007). "The Power of TV: Cable Television and Women's Status in India." Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press. Vol. 124(3) pp. 1057-1094.
  10. ^ Munshi, Shoma (2010). Prime Time Soap Operas on Indian Television. Routledge, New Delhi. ISBN 978-0-415-55377-3. pp. 200.