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?Marital rape? rap on soap queen

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CHANDRIMA S. BHATTACHARYA   |   Mumbai   |   Published 23.11.04, 12:00 AM

Mumbai, Nov. 23: Ektaa Kapoor is in the dock. She has to appear before the National Commission for Women for showing a 15-minute ?marital rape? sequence in the country?s most popular soap, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.

Chairperson Poornima Advani said in Delhi today Kapoor will appear on December 1. ?We have received communication from Ektaa Kapoor?s lawyer,? Advani was quoted by agencies. Kapoor, as the producer of Kyunki, has also been asked to submit a copy of the episode in question, she added.

After serving the notice, Advani last week had referred to Kapoor?s long career of ?atrocities? against women. She should stop depicting women in a demeaning manner, Advani had said.

The Kyunki episode on marital rape, which left viewers across the country gaping in disbelief at the graphic depiction of the ?trauma? of a rape victim, was aired on October 12. It had the character of Ansh Gujral (played by Akashdeep Sehgal) raping his wife Nandini (Gauri Pradhan) as punishment for her refusal to accept him in her life.

The spokesperson for STAR Plus, the channel that airs the serial, refused to comment, saying the matter would be addressed by the legal department but stressed it was aware that the serial?s contents were for the general audience.

The spokesperson also said Kapoor has defended the depiction of the violence, saying marital rape is a fact of many Indian women?s lives but it is hardly ever spoken about.

Her serial wanted to throw light on the issue, she said, though many feel she only wanted to ?sex up? the ageing serial with the episode.

Kapoor was not available for comment today, but justifying her serial, she has said ?no skin? was shown and the rape scene was not meant to ?titillate? but to depict the plight of a rape victim.

Kapoor has been in trouble over the hapless lot of her saas-bahus several times. One previous Kyunki episode had the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation seeing red. It filed a complaint with the police against the channel and Kapoor?s Balaji Telefilms for ?encouraging? the banned sex determination test in an episode. It showed an expecting Puja taking the test and being elated when she learnt she was going to bear a son.

This time, Kapoor faces adverse opinion from the industry as well. An industry analyst said Kapoor should have been more sensitive as family soaps have as their audience the ?A to Z? of a family, from the child to the grandmother.

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