8 Indian TV Shows That Broke The Stereotypes

Indian television has been giving us different versions of the same saas-bahu drama for ages.

Here are 8 shows that broke the stereotypes and gave us something fresh and worthy.

1. Anupamaa


This show follows the story of Anupamaa, who is married to Vanraj Shah and is a mother of three. She is a housewife who makes numerous sacrifices for her family, but her efforts are never appreciated. After it is revealed that her husband Vanraj is having an affair with a colleague named Kavya, Anupamaa decides to divorce her unfaithful husband. People try to persuade her and change her mind because a divorced woman has to face many hardships, but she is determined.

Unlike the conventional stereotype of Indian society where a woman is expected to dwell in despair after divorce, Anupamaa chooses to live her life on her terms and starts a dance academy, a dream long forgotten. 

2. Barrister Babu

Bondita, an eight-year-old, was being forced to marry an old man. When the man dies during the wedding, Bondita is expected to perform Sati. To stop this from happening, Anirudh, a lawyer, marries Bondita. Thankfully, the show does not follow a typical stream in which two people married under complex circumstances try to work their marriage. Instead, Anirudh serves as a mentor for Bondita. He teaches her to stand up for herself, encourages her to go to school, and gives her the courage to aim to become a lawyer herself. Thus begins Bondita’s journey to becoming Barrister Babu.

3. Shakti Astitva Ke Ehsaas Ki

The show initially revolved around the life of Saumya, a kinnar (intersex). Saumya faces a lot of humiliation in society, but instead of silently enduring discrimination, she chooses to stand up for herself and fight back. After a series of setbacks, her love interest Harman Singh accepts her for who she is. The show gives a powerful message to society and has been appreciated for its work.

4. Kaatelal & Sons

Kaatelal & sons is an ancestral salon that is run by the males in the Kaatelal family. Things take a turn when Susheela and Garima, the family’s daughters, decide to take over their father’s business. The main characters, Susheela and Garima, are smart, determined, and headstrong. The show’s tagline is “Sapno ka koi gender nahi hota,” It challenges the basic patriarchal norm that sons are supposed to take up and run a father’s business.

Note: The shows listed below are no longer running but deserve appreciation for the stereotypes they broke.

5. Kuch Toh Log Kahenge

Dr. Ashutosh Mathur and Dr. Nidhi fall in love with each other. There is an age gap of eighteen years between the two protagonists. Though both have different views in life, they work through the difficulties of being together. The show clearly showed how age is just a number and people can be with whoever they choose.

6. Tamanna

The show follows Dharaa, a girl who aspires to be a cricketer. After an unexpected turn of events, she is obligated to marry Mihir and soon has a child with him. Mihir turns out to be a male chauvinist and proves to be very narrow-minded. Rather than being in this toxic marriage trying to work things out, she separates from her husband. Despite society’s disapproval, she begins her journey to become a cricketer. She takes up the job of a cricket coach in Meerut and proves to be a fantastic coach.

When Mihir tries to re-enter Dharaa’s life, she turns him down. Dharaa sets up a perfect example that woman can survive and thrive without the help of a man. The show asked the Indian audience a simple question: Does a woman’s dream have an expiry date? It challenges the stereotype that a woman has to give up her dreams after marriage.

7. Ek Aastha Aise Bhi

The show follows Aastha, a girl who loses her father at a young age. This turns her into an atheist, and her faith lies in karma. The show is distinct in its very concept. No bahu rani is running to the temple when the family is in trouble, no bahu rani praying to an idol asking for help. Instead, Aastha is a strong-willed girl who approaches problems with her wisdom and intelligence.

8. Mrs. Tendulkar

The show revolves around the Tendulkar family. Suhas and Vibhavari move to a new neighborhood. Their family dynamics stir up some drama among the neighbors as Vibhavari is the earning member of the family and Suhas is a homemaker. The couple tries to give a new perspective to the people around them. The show, through comedy, challenges and criticizes the gender roles set up by society.

Edited by Prakriti Arora

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