Television

Which Indian show has 400m viewers across 50 countries?

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MUMBAI: It is the actual subject of the story and its treatment which attracts the viewers and not the platform on which it's being aired or the marketing strategy or the dramatics. This has been proven, time and again. "Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon" on Doordarshan's which deals with current issues impacting the society such as sex-selective abortions and acid attacks has over 400 million viewers across 50 countries and has been aired across 240 radio channels and over the internet.

It has beaten favourite and most popular cult shows on HBO and Netflix as well as current favourite Indian prime-time channels. The soap opera has been showcasing women-centric issues — from menstruation to domestic violence to, and from acid attacks to child marriage.

Having given shows such as 'Shanti' and 'Swabhimaan', Doordarshan even today upholds the best form of progressive ideology in terms of making TV soaps.

The record daily soap that talks about prevalent issues such as the high incidence of abortion of female foetuses and acid attacks is on the way to become the world's most watched show. "Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon" has been dubbed into 14 languages and its third season is in the development stage. The show has been endorsed by Shabana Azmi, Sharmila Tagore, Farhan Akhtar and Soha Ali Khan.

The show traces the journey of a young female doctor named as Sneha Mathur (which is being played by Meinal Vaishnav), who quits her well-paying metro job to work in her village. The show, produced by Population Foundation of India and Bombay Local Pictures, is being directed by Firoz Abbas Khan, who is a well-known theatre director known for his work such as 'Mahatma vs. Gandhi' and 'Tumhari Amrita.'

Population Foundation of India executive director Poonam Muttreja told the Guardian that the massive reach of the radio and TV series was unexpected. About their hotline established for viewers' feedback three years ago, Muttreja said that on the first day they got 7,000 calls -- which was 30 times of their expectation.

Since its launch, back in 2014, the TV series has completed two successful seasons with over 170 episodes. The foundation even conducted surveys across 3,200 men and women in villages, before and after the show aired to record whether or not the series had impacted positive change in its viewers, Muttreja revealed.

In the show, Mathur returns to her village after her sister, who is forced into a late-term abortion dies during the procedure. Mathur's other sister becomes a victim of acid-attack after she joins a mixed-gender football team.

Muttreja told Thomson Reuters Foundation that there had been so many stories from villages across India of how attitudes changed as a result of watching the programme. She narrated an instance of a slew of villages where men decided against beating up their wives; and a girl who decided to fight her village in order to go to college—all, after watching this show.

The show is being applauded across the globe for doing what some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry have not managed to do.

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