India is finally waking up to the conversation on the heinous crime of sexual assault against women. Amitabh Bachchan in Star Plus’s latest campaign on ‘victim shaming’ urges families, authorities and citizens to reflect on the need to change the way how victims of sexual assault are treated. The campaign shows how society has failed these victims by stripping them of their dignity through incessant interrogation about the horrific incident and merciless character assassination -- shaming her instead of the perpetrators. In a public service awareness initiative by Star Plus, Amitabh Bachchan questions those who indulge in character assassination with one pertinent question, “Whose fault is it?” The campaign advocates that society needs to place the guilt rightfully with the perpetrators by putting them on trial instead of shaming the victims.
Bachchan says, “The idea that a woman loses her dignity if she is sexually assaulted is instilled strongly in our cultural mindset. The shame should be on the perpetrators instead of the victim. We need to foster a safe, secure and supportive environment where victims can seek refuge especially from those who they turn to for protection like authority figures, family and society. There is a strong need to step forward and talk about this through stories that can trigger this change in the mindset of the people. ‘Kya Qusoor Hai Amala Ka’ (KQHAK) is an effort by Star Plus in this direction.”
Star Plus has always endeavoured to tell stories that inspire change, keeping the progress of the women at the heart of every initiative. Talking about this special initiative, Narayan Sundararaman, General Manager, Star Plus, said, “When we were planning this show, we were very clear about being very sensitive to this subject. It is not just about the show, but the society is going through this. The society needs to come out of the victim shaming. Star Plus has always tried to make that change in the society with campaigns like Nayi Soch and and Gurdeep Singh and daughters.”
Through this story on Star Plus Dopahar, the intent is to sensitise audiences and society at large to the trauma of the victims of sexual assault. Television has the power to spark meaningful change and as a channel, Star Plus wants Amala’s inspiring story to reach maximum people through our platform.
The campaign has started on April 11, eight days after the start of the show. Sundararaman added, “The story of the show had to come to a stage where the heinous crime happens against her (Amala). The plot of the show is how she doesn’t get support from the society, including her family. The incident of rape occurred on a certain day. That is when the campaign was timed around. This is the genesis of how this campaign happened. Amitabh Bachchan has certain amount of gravitas and credibility attached to him. We required a strong voice with credibility.”
The channel has specific promotional plans for all four shows -- be it Tu Sooraj Mein Saanjh, Piyaji, Ek Aastha Aisi Bhee and Dhhai Kilo Prem, along with KQHAK.
Explaining the recent campaign, Sundararaman, said, “The campaign will run for the next two weeks where we would want to raise this issue and amplify it. Then we will wait for the reactions and feedback for the story. We have majorly targeted the digital media to a good extent. There is a big thrust on IPL on Hotstar. It is also on our TV network, along with some news channels. We wish to create awareness through this public service advertisement.”
Star Plus has tied up with an NGO -- Jan Sahas Social Development Society-- which is an organisation providing support to survivors of sexual assault since 2000. Victims can reach out for aid to them via a toll-free helpline -- 180030002852.
A first on television, Star Plus is telecasting this brave story ‘Kya Qusoor Hai Amala Ka?’ as part of its afternoon programming line-up at 12.30 pm. The show is an official adaptation of the acclaimed international Turkish series called Fatmagul, which has been remade with an Indian cultural backdrop. The show portrays Amala as a woman of substance and a survivor who has the conviction to fight for justice conquering the demons in people’s minds and reinforcing through her story that the shame should rightfully be placed with the perpetrator and not the victim of sexual assault.
Asked if there are plans to bring in more shows on the afternoon band and beef up the line-up, Sundararaman said not immediately. “Right now we will focus on the four shows we have launched. It is more important to establish the viewership habit on the (12-2 pm) afternoon slot, we will analyse the feedback and competitive reaction and then decide about the next phase. We are still in the launch phase.”