Ekta Kapoor, popularly identified as the czarina of television industry, turns a year older today. While her original claim to fame involves her revolutionising the Hindi TV industry with all her Sanskaari shows starting from Kasauti Zindagi Kay, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kumkum Bhagyaa and Kkusum that rocked the 90s and early 2000s, she was the first most successful television serial producer the nation had ever seen and the advent of cable TV just propelled her success. Let’s not forget however regressive these shows may seem to some, she was the first person to cast women in strong roles and make the plot revolve around her female protagonists. Ekta gave us iconic TV characters: Tulsi, Parvati, Kumkum who became household names. She painted a picture of a perfect ‘Bhartiya Naari’ who’s raison d'être was the well-being of family. There wasn’t any other side of a woman explored as she had a clear demarcation between her heroines and vamps. The leading ladies were all about sanskaar and the vamps (remember, Komolika from Kasauti?) were stylish, brash, out there and had underlining sexuality in their characterisations. It’s another matter that they were just as popular as the leading ladies. But despite the limited milieu of her K Series, she tried to explore concepts of extra marital affairs, domestic violence, polygamy, among other things.
Ekta entered the space of cinema and her horizons broadened. She oscillated from showing her women as sanskaari mahilas on TV but her film protagonists were every bit of flawed modern women, their portrayal relevant to today’s time and age. The line-up of movies she backed were interesting and revealed a lot about her business acumen and an urge to cater to every market there is, in the demographic. The Dirty Picture, Lipstick Under My Burkha, Veere Di Wedding, Ragini MMS, Ek Thi Daayan…all are path breaking in their own amazing way and that’s what we love about Ekta. Her protagonists in one way or the other look out to carve their niche, much like Ekta herself, and smash the age old patriarchy with their choices. They are not afraid to thrive in the fact that they are sexual beings and challenge the regressive mentality which does not allow them to do so.
She knows her market too well but is not shy of experimenting. She also has entered the digital space with ALT Balaji, the video on demand platform and making great strides with content there too. The undisputed queen of television first started off with some support from her dad, veteran filmstar Jeetendra, but then went on to build an empire and the rest is history. Hard to believe, no? As Ekta Kapoor turns 43, we wish her happiest birthday and hope that she flies high forever, now that she has ‘broken the glass ceiling’.