Sotayli and other South Asian Dramas

South Asian dramas are a mixed bag of great art and incredibly silly and low-brow dramas. It used to be that these dramas would last 13-14 episodes and then would end with a quick and mostly satisfactory ending, but now, in the urge to become more like American television, these dramas have become long, tedious, repetitive and with horrible slapstick comedy. Simply, I think, because they don’t get how American television works. And most awful of all, they have a canned laugh track that makes the viewer go crazy because they play it after every ½ minute. Despite striving to be like American television shows, they don’t really get how quality American television shows work. The end result is watered down soap operas instead.

South Asians seem to love their soap operas. These dramas come on 4-5 times a week, the story moves along at a snail’s pace and becomes more and more illogical as the episode numbers grow. At the end, bystanders (like me) are usually begging the avid viewers (like my mom) to give up on the drama, because they only leave the viewer (and the unwary bystander) unhappy and frustrated with the conclusion of the series.

Also, South Asians love their melodramas. I mean, they must, because I would say 80% of the dramas that come on the International channels are melodramas.

I’ve recently been forced to watch a drama called Sotayli, meaning “step”. It’s about a woman who becomes a stepmother, when she marries her (now deceased) best friend’s husband.

(the stepmother)

CREDIT FOR ALL PICTURES GO TO THEIR UPLOADERS!

She wants to show the world that she is not a stepmother, but rather, she can be a mother to another woman’s daughter. But no one gives her the benefit of the doubt. This woman suffers for 20 years, with a husband who is willing to believe the most horrible things about her (that she is a child abuser, a cheater, manipulative, a liar, evil, etc.) because she is a woman and she only knows how to compromise. She is treated horribly by her stepdaughter, and she ignores her only daughter, so that no one will blame her for favoring her own blood.

(the crazy step-daughter)

In the end, not only does she lose her daughter (who commits suicide), but she dies from that grief. In 20 years of marriage, she never complains, she never speaks up, and goes back to a man who throws her out in the middle of the night with her toddler child! The drama is so melodramatic and over the top, that I have to wonder at what the writer was thinking when she came up with this horrible piece of work. I guess the drama is trying to teach women a lesson. By killing off this woman’s daughter, the drama is saying that too much compromise might not be a good thing, but why does it have to be so heavy-handed about it? Why do writers feel the need to create characters that are too stupid to believe? It not only makes one want to turn off the drama, but it makes the viewer reject whatever constructive message the drama might be trying to convey.

Despite evidence to the contrary, there are also good South Asian dramas out there. People have started uploading dramas on YouTube and forums such as www.friendskorner.com/forums. If you can speak the language (which is Urdu or Hindi, by the way), I would suggest you try these dramas out.

Also, there is a YouTube member, veslam2009, who is uploading dramas and subtitling them. If you want to try a South Asian drama, I would highly suggest Meri Zaat Zarra-E-Benishan.

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2 thoughts on “Sotayli and other South Asian Dramas

    • You could definitely check out the different dramas on Youtube. Uploaders and even channels will upload full episodes of HumTV, AryDigital and GeoTV dramas (Pakistani TV) and clips of Indian dramas. The only problem is that most of them do not have English subtitles. You would have to either speak Urdu or Hindi to understand.

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