10 things I hate about Indian soaps

Published: January 15, 2012
Once a character is killed off, they may return to the show with a completely new face. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

Once a character is killed off, they may return to the show with a completely new face. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

1.    They are endless: Climaxes for these soaps do not exist. One of the characters in a Star Plus soap was shown to have lived through four generations. The director still planned to keep her alive had she not died a real-life death.

2.   There’s no such thing as certain death. Now, as far as I know, when you’re dead, you’re dead. But in Indian soaps a character can die and return as many times as the director wills it.

3.   Once a character is killed off, they may return to the show with a completely new face. Even the height, eye colour, and voice are different. Under some circumstances, the said character returns having suffered memory loss. This character thus remembers nothing except the latest fashion trends, of course.

4.    Endless affairs: In every soap, there must be at least one extra-marital affair, and every extra-marital affair has to produce an illegitimate child. I would have thought that science had progressed enough to take care of that. But it seems that in the world of Indian soaps, the plastic surgeons are much more advanced than the gynaecologists.

5.   Absurdly large families: I am always amazed at how so many people can be accommodated in one house. What is even more surprising is how easily room is made for any added member. Do all middle-class Indians live in palaces?

6.    The crazy math of money: Rich folk can lose their money if they screw up one deal out of the millions they conduct every day. They are shunted to a small house if one of their 50 factories catches fire. Meanwhile, the women may not have beds to sleep in, but they have gold jewellery that they can wear even as they do the dusting and sweeping.

7.   The universal utility of the set: the living room seen in the first soap becomes a restaurant, and 30 minutes later it turns into an office. The same building keeps changing into a club, a bar and even a five-star hotel.

8.    Drum rolls: Whether someone dies or a supposed-to-be-dead person returns (only to attend his/her spouse’s wedding, of course), your eardrums are sure to be pierced. These ear shattering notes follow arguments, slaps, and shocking moments in general.

9.    Non-existent door locks: You live in a huge mansion and you do not have locks on your bedroom door? Some nosy aunty from the family can easily peek into your bedroom when you are getting naughty with your husband’s sister’s husband’s cousin. Surely, a disaster waiting to happen.

10.   The age math. It is beyond me how the son can look older than his mother and younger than his wife. Maybe in the next season, they will all unveil themselves as the Cullens. Now that would be cool, wouldn’t it?

Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, January 15th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (49)

  • Arsalan
    Jan 15, 2012 - 1:12PM

    You only hare ten things about them.. Dont you think everything about those stupid, senseless, baseless soaps is supposed to be hated..


  • Sabih Zafar Ullah
    Jan 15, 2012 - 1:18PM

    The minimum currency unit in these soaps is ‘Crore’….*Jao Beta daidh soo(150) crore ka dahi lay ao *

  • G.Haider
    Jan 15, 2012 - 1:32PM

    Please add the 11th:Family intrigues and excessive overhearing


  • AM
    Jan 15, 2012 - 1:41PM

    Pakistan is also getting good at dramas spanned on generations.Recommend

  • Sundeep
    Jan 15, 2012 - 1:56PM

    As long as brainless people watch them, they are here to stay. It seems there a quite lot of them looking at their success.


  • observer
    Jan 15, 2012 - 2:01PM

    One thing that you can do- DO NOT WATCH.


  • Aftab
    Jan 15, 2012 - 2:11PM

    Well said Sana iQbal, but i think these things need to be told to our mainstream viewers who’s majority cannot afford a dinner for another day but keep their eyes stuck on so-called Dish TV screens. Attempts are made from every angle to demoralise this nation in the name mordernisation. My point of view is that these soap operas permitted to be On-Air by our operators is a modern example of self-destruction in denial mode.


  • positive pakistani
    Jan 15, 2012 - 2:53PM

    only 10?


  • Pakistani
    Jan 15, 2012 - 2:54PM

    do u think there are only 10 things to be hated about indian soaps


  • Jan 15, 2012 - 3:17PM

    Thank you for commenting. A detailed version of this article was publishet on ET blogs on 7th January.

    As I have mentioned in the comments section of the article on ET blogs — No, I m not a viewer of these soaps but yeah some ladies from the older generation in my family do and thats where I got my observations from. That said, positive criticism is appreciated.



  • freeha
    Jan 15, 2012 - 3:44PM

    yar everything is absurd in INDIAN SOAPS…………….


  • Tariq
    Jan 15, 2012 - 4:08PM

    Can anyone here please tell me what is soaps acronym ??


  • Temur
    Jan 15, 2012 - 4:29PM

    I don’t watch Inidan soaps or even movies, they give me an immediate headache. Watch Turkish soaps, they are far better. Pak can learn from Iran or Turkey how to make good movies and should keep away from low standard Bollywood crap.


  • Hopeful for peace
    Jan 15, 2012 - 4:33PM

    Only idle people watch these boring, stupid, senseless and baseless soaps in India. And among those, few you will get in my house too. But even foolish are those who’re searching for any logic behind these stupid daily soaps. So if you are idle……just enjoy, don’t even scratch your head on finding any logic behind story otherwise you’ll lose your hairs. But if your time is precious………then better just switch off your Idiot box. Anyway a certain Kapoor once remarked that his soaps are meant for intellectuals.Recommend

  • Deepwater
    Jan 15, 2012 - 4:46PM


    I think people should watch Colombian soaps. Not only are they excellent but this will improve people’s Spanish as well.


  • Xam Xaffa
    Jan 15, 2012 - 5:10PM

    HaHaHaHaHa! Good One.


  • Sanjay Sharma
    Jan 15, 2012 - 5:19PM

    Its ones DNA, which compells him or her to watch Indian soaps in whole of the sub-continent. They are absurd, but people of both sides of border are of same DNA. They will never like a Turkish or Irani soaps or movies, as someone has suggested above, as they don’t understand these languages. Its pity na……….The same complaints are echoed by Bangladeshis & Nepalis too.


  • amit
    Jan 15, 2012 - 6:08PM

    no my friend 50% pakistanis have arab DNA and 46% pakistanis have persian DNA and 4% pakistanis(hindu,christen,sikhs) have indian DNA.they rule india 600 years.


  • Jan 15, 2012 - 6:19PM

    Hey ET.

    You have spelt my name (author) wrongly as Sana Qbal. Its Sana Iqbal. Please correct it.



  • Jan 15, 2012 - 6:28PM


    no my friend 50% pakistanis have arab DNA

    LOL. Really? If you would have commented as ‘Anonymous’ instead of ‘Amit’ I would have thought Zaid Hamid commented on my article. :-D


  • Shak
    Jan 15, 2012 - 6:58PM

    I live in a Muslim city of around 300 thousand. Vast majority of us are Jatt or rajpoot. We are and always will be sons our land not imported for anywhere.


  • Lawangin
    Jan 15, 2012 - 7:08PM

    I doubt the Arab DNA ratio. Every third person in India is either Qurashi, Siddi, Alvi ,Abbassi or any other know sect of Arab. They simply forget that they are still Indian and can be proudn of their DNA being a Indian despite their conversion to Islamic faith. Recommend

  • Jan 15, 2012 - 7:46PM

    We are having the same in Pakistani soaps. Why object them.


  • Samiullah
    Jan 15, 2012 - 8:17PM


    Funny how some India hating jingoists forcefully try to like Iranian and Turkish stuffs. If you’ve already made up your mind that everything Indian is crap then you see only crap.


  • kafir
    Jan 15, 2012 - 9:07PM

    @ Author – Its amazing you got a list of what you do not like in those shows. I dont think they are worthy of watching , any discussion over them is outragaeous.

    PS: I did not read your complete article ,only the heading.I have spent no more than 15 minutes in my life watching them. They are obnoxious.Recommend

  • BS.Detecter
    Jan 15, 2012 - 10:49PM

    only idiots watch these soaps
    after recent improvemnts in Pakistani dramas, like Humsafar, I believe there is absolutely no need to even put a glimpse on soaps. No sane people will ever watch indian soaps


  • k11
    Jan 15, 2012 - 11:34PM

    Thats not the only problems or indian serials now these days but now their doing social serials like Pratigya Navya or whatever they come up with and they easily replace every serial after half a year i mean WTH!


  • Giri
    Jan 16, 2012 - 12:51AM

    It is sad these are the killer soaps. No one is watching them and going out only get killed in a blast. very sad.


  • Ghanshyam Mukherjee
    Jan 16, 2012 - 1:33AM

    By the way, who do you regard as ‘Indian’? They completely differ from region to region. For example, there is no similarity between northern and southern India as well as western and eastern India. So, your definition is incorrect.


  • Jat
    Jan 16, 2012 - 2:13AM

    @Ghanshyam Mukherjee: What nonsense ! All Indians are Indians.


  • TightChuddi
    Jan 16, 2012 - 2:19AM

    How about Saudi sopas? Cannot these be broadcasted in Pakistan?


  • Temur
    Jan 16, 2012 - 2:44AM

    @samiullah I have watched Turkish soaps which are quite famous in the Arab world. They dubbed them into Arabic, which I understand, and show on their TV channels. First watch them and compare them with funny bollywood crap then come and talk to me. Bollywood is crap and is really crap.


  • Temur
    Jan 16, 2012 - 2:45AM

    @deepwater. Are you trying to be funny here? They can be translated into Urdu.


  • Delhi Belly
    Jan 16, 2012 - 3:25AM

    Author has been kind enough to pick only 10 :). I guess as far as I remember I always struggled with my mom and other ladies who are supposedly house wives to not support such mindless crap created to rot any sane mind :) I really want to meet a family where ladies go to sleep with tons of jewels on them and crisply ironed sarees. And the colors are so bright that it burns pixels on my LCDs. they should ban such TV shows rather than bannking facebook or google. SC judges are you reading this ?
    @Ghanshyam Mukherjee: Right said friend, most of these SOAPs focus on some rich gujju families who some how have marwadi accent. So the producer / director are just fascinated by the north western audiance since I guess ( no pun intended or no intention to mock any community ) are predominately house wives and not career women. For anyone who will judge my comment please be advised I am from same community :)


  • Delhi Belly
    Jan 16, 2012 - 3:27AM

    This topic and the picture above somehow reminded of a painful memory of watching a movie “Hum Saath Saath hain”…..For anyone who have bear that movie can understand the pain :)


  • Ranjish
    Jan 16, 2012 - 4:00AM

    These soaps can do a lot for social upwardness in India but they stoop to the lowest level of saas-bahu tensions/fighting. These are taking India deeper into backwardness/Islamic ages, rather than lifting them out of it.


  • your_point_is
    Jan 16, 2012 - 4:27AM

    The writer has listed the basic characteristics of a typical TV Soap Opera. These characteristics apply to Soap operas anywhere in the world. The show is supposed to be a midday fairy tale escapade for housewives before the kids and husband get back home from school and office and start demanding ‘what is for dinner?’. I don’t think logic or realism is part of these shows. In fact, there is about as much logic in these shows as Harlequin romance novels! But overall the writer has listed a ‘Soap like’ set of complaints!


  • Pradeep
    Jan 16, 2012 - 8:43AM

    The problem of soaps stem from the target market. They are usually the housewives who are homemakers. Hence the Saas-Bahu dramas. However since they cannot have the same run-of-the-mill stories, these dramas get increasingly absurd and dramatic. I agree with the point about rich families. However just yesterday I read an article about new emergence of Indian soaps that deal with small town ordinary life women’s travails.


  • Zehra
    Jan 16, 2012 - 9:47AM

    Not that our morning show hosts are any different. Prime target audience for Star plus is our housewife lot-mostly the ones who’re less educated. Same can be said for our morning shows. Both Star Plus and Pak morning shows have a ‘dumbing’ effect on those housewives. Nothing to raise their intellectual capabilities. I mean, is prancing around in Shaadis all thats left for women to aspire to? Shallow.


  • Rahul
    Jan 16, 2012 - 9:49AM

    @Sabih Zafar Ullah

    LOL..!!! You sure have some sense of humour :).

    @sana Qbal,

    Very well written. As many others have said, there are too many absurd things about Indian Soaps, especially depicting regressive ideas.


  • Zehra
    Jan 16, 2012 - 10:04AM

    @ Samiullah

    Temur too, was only stating a more intellectually appeasing option. Indeed Turkish or Iranian cinema is far more superior artistically than Indian cinema. But then, you have to watch it to know it. And then again, if one’s used to crappy cinema that insults your intelligence, then none of these alternatives are likely to appeal to you. If theres anything worthwhile to learn from India, we may study it. Otherwise no point emulating or adopting their 3rd rate stuff.


  • Jan 16, 2012 - 3:20PM

    @Ghanshyam Mukherjee:

    Well, regional Indian dramas are usually not aired in Pakistan probably because we do not understand the language. Hindi soaps have viewership due to greater familiarity with the language. Since Pakistanis mainly connect to India via Hindi, that is why it is common to gerenralize Hindi content as Indian Content. This is same as Indians calling an Urdu movie, a Pakistani movie despite the fact that Pushto and Punjabi cinemas are more flourishing in Pakistan.


  • Jan 16, 2012 - 3:23PM

    I am Sana Iqbal. :-)

    Thank You for the correction.


  • zezu
    Jan 16, 2012 - 4:19PM

    …. and the music … music with camera in their faces … music … camera… atleast 10 min before they speak… no wonder these soaps are limitless.


  • wolfie_loves_kulfi
    Jan 21, 2012 - 5:40AM

    yeah i can bet 10 bucks this Sana Iqbal must be watching at least most if not all our indian soaps.. and prolly be one of the soaps big fans too the ones sitting at home with butter popcorn and tissue paper box crying watching ‘ kuyki saas bhi kabbhi bhau the” and passing comments depending which re-run she is watching .. just that all this hate stuff written by her is just a smoke screen.. hehehee


  • maha ali
    Jan 21, 2012 - 11:34AM

    @sana iqbal

    unfortunately Sana, we dont have much option. Pakistani channels are kind of pretty boring frankly.
    Apart from morning shows presented by overexcited anchors, boring political programmes and low budget dramas, there is nothing much to watch

    Good or bad- (even with all those over the top saas bahu serials) , Indian television is at least fun with all those reality shows. I myself am a pakistani housewife and prefer indian television over pakistani channels anyday.


  • jadoo
    Jan 21, 2012 - 11:49AM

    emphasized text@Sabih Zafar Ullah:

    The minimum currency unit in these soaps is ‘Crore’….*Jao Beta daidh soo(150) crore ka dahi lay ao *

    Read as teen sau crore for ” pak viewers” ( 1 INR = 1.8 PKR) approx


  • Jan 21, 2012 - 2:48PM


    In that case you should be glad that you bet only 10 bucks :-D


  • bushra
    Jan 31, 2012 - 1:11PM

    This article is pretty interesting and true for indian soaps.


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