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In rural areas, men stopped beating up their wives, after watching our TV series: Meinal Vaishnav

Monday, September 04, 2017
By Raju Vemekar

Charming , exuberant TV actress Meinal Vaishnav, who is going strong with her role in TV soap 'Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon (MKBKSH)', being aired on Doordarshan, is enthusiastic about the upcoming third season. She spoke exclusively to Afternoon D & C. Excerpts:

'Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon' has reportedly got over 400 million viewers across 50 countries. How do you feel about this ?
I feel great! I am glad that our efforts have been acknowledged and accepted. And yes, I feel all the more responsible.

What is the idea behind this show?
The show aims at targeting social issues like gender discrimination, child marriage, domestic violence and seeks to protect women's rights and deal with other issues prevailing in a patriarchal society.

What is the story line ?
It is the story of a young woman named Sneha Mathur (played by me), who is a doctor by profession. She quits her job in Mumbai to go to her native village Pratapur to work. She comes across many challenges and addresses various taboos like menstruation, contraceptives and masturbation. Through this show, the audience vicariously sees and understands the plagues of society around them and how they need to be addressed.

How the idea of this show was conceived?
Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director of PFI, a mastermind behind the show, was inspired by the South African TV show, 'Soul City', which showed a similar portrayal of societal issues that led to a downfall of HIV-affected cases among women. It showed that entertainment education, if done well, can quickly change social norms, and then lead to behavioural change.

Do you find any major changes in our society due to MKBKSH?
Of course. Even Poonam Muttreja has confirmed that the attitude of people across India has changed after watching this show. For example there is a bunch of villages and other rural areas, where men have stopped beating up their wives after watching our TV series. There are so many girls who after watching the TV series decided to fight the villagers as they decide to go to college. Surveys with men and women of over 3,200 villages, before and after the first season of the show, proved that there has been increased awareness about gender discrimination and family planning.

When will Season-3 of MKBKSH commence?
Within a couple of months.

What has been your most memorable/thrilling experience while shooting for MKBKSH?
There have been many such moments. However, there's one incident I shall never forget. After few days of shooting, Director Ferozbhai Abbas Khan, was so disappointed with my performance that he wanted to sack me. He gave me a last chance to prove my mettle. I grabbed the opportunity and after a small workshop, things changed drastically.

Is this your first TV soap?
Yes, this is my first show. I am very selective about my work. I understand my social responsibility and would never want to support things like superstition or conspiracy.

What are your upcoming projects?
At present I am only concentrating on season 03 of MKBKSH. Besides, I am also writing about some social issues.

Any attempts to enter Bollywood movies?
Why not? Nowadays Bollywood is getting pretty experimental. If I get a good script, I would love to do it. But, I don't want to be a mere ‘show piece’.

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