The AT Word: The audience’s 3000-episode rishta with ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’

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3000 episodes for an Indian TV series in this day and age is pretty good going, wouldn’t you say? As we celebrate, congratulate and commemorate ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’ which is marking this milestone, it’s inevitable that we also think about why the audiences have made it one of the most popular TV shows in recent years.

As with every TV serial, ‘YRKKH’ has gone through a number of leaps, changes in characters and generational alterations. Some may have made viewers quite unhappy but others will have been exciting developments for its family of loyal fans. However, no matter the evolution in the show’s stories, it’s managed to keep the audiences engaged and has acquired even more viewership along the way.

Although every show relies on its main characters to take it forward, ‘YRKKH’ has stood apart from other contemporary shows by sticking with traditional roots at every point and, more recently, having a newer generation posing an opposing view to conventions that are widely adhered to. This (arguably) means that the show remains relevant for the older generation as well as the younger, with both perspectives coming across in hugely identifiable ways throughout every part of the story. Whether this is through a daughter-in-law who wants to follow her dreams or a son who hides the heart-breaking death of his baby in order to ensure his wife doesn’t undergo stress.

Personally, I haven’t been watching the show since 2009 but more after about 2012. My reason for watching it even now with my mother is exactly as above. Sometimes you do find yourself shouting at the TV when watching the show because you think the characters are wrong in their actions or you believe things should be handled differently. But one thing you seem to never fail recognise as a viewer is the earthy, Indian and traditional emotions with an easy to understand narrative which is the heart of the show. You genuinely wish the characters well and you understand the changing emotions of the extended family even if you aren’t part of one yourself.

I’ve never felt the need to defend that I watch the show, even when people have branded TV as regressive. I can understand that view but I have always felt that ‘YRKKH’ writers want the show to be able to bring together the thinking of different generations to suit one family. This doesn’t in any way mean that it’s how real families function or preach that all families should be that way. What I take from it is an understanding by the makers and writers that in order to keep the ongoing story up-to-date with today’s times, it needs to largely appeal to today’s generation. And I, for one, think it achieves that on the most part.

Congratulations to the entire team of ‘YRKKH’, both past and present, on 3K episodes. May your popularity grow evermore.

AT x

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