Aapki Antara: Redefining Prime-Time Content on Indian television

Television content seems to be evolving (surprisingly…). From drab saas-bahu tear jerkers, which at one point of time were pegged to solve the water shortage in our country, to content today which is much more superior and relevant. ZEE TV’s new show ‘Aapki Antara’ is a perfect fit to this description.The show revolves around the life of a 5 year old autistic girl – Antara. The challenges of an autistic child are showcased through a very strong and gripping storyline, where in the first episode itself Antara loses her mother. Added to this is another twist in which it is shown that she is an illegitimate child. Antara’s father, Aditya who was until then unaware of his illegitimate child, ends up taking custody of Antara.

Helplessness of a father is shown through some delicate moments where he finds it difficult to comprehend and deliver to her needs. A unique aspect of the show is that it explains the condition and behaviour of autistic people and the way they should be dealt with, in a highly sensitive and authentic manner.

Lead actor Zynah, who plays Antara does a convincing job as an autistic child. Her innocent face and twinkling eyes have touched the audience’s hearts. The story has many tender moments. There was one emotional sequence where she points out gazing into the sky, alternatively to the star and herself and repeats, “Antara… Maa, Antara … Maa” as she believes her mother is now a star in the sky. Although brilliant in Maths, she doesn’t shine like other students in school due to her withdrawn nature. You feel hurt to see her shunned by the teacher, to see other kids harass her as she innocently walks away from them. You feel a parent’s pain when eventually Aditya contemplates leaving her in an orphanage.

On this differentiated effort, Nitin Vaidya, COO ZEEL and Business head for ZEE TV says, “We aim to increase awareness about the condition of autism through our show. We’ve done detailed research on this topic and met several NGOs to ensure we present the right perspective to our viewers. The show has received encouraging response. People are extending help by sharing their experiences and supporting us in our endeavour.”

In times when the war of TRP’s is hotting up between channels, it’s a bold decision taken by ZEE to go off the beaten path from a standardised success formula. The topic of autism is a sensitive one and the show a brave experiment. We hope this show will break barriers and bring the topic out of the closet. Do tune-in Mon-Fri at 8:30pm and check this one out!

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