When the village came calling
Of late, rural-based fiction shows like Bandini, Balika Vadhu, Na Aana Iss Des Laado and Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo have been the flavour of the small screen.
And looks like people are lapping up these shows even though they lack the glamour and glitz of saas bahu soaps and are regressive at times.
But these shows do their bit in highlighting issues like female infanticide, child marriage, caste system, poverty and forced marriages too.
Here's a look at the ones that have caught our attention:
Image: Scenes from Bandini, Balika Vadhu, Jamunia and Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo
Balika Vadhu on Colors
Cast: Avika Gor as Anandhi, Avinash Mukherjee as Jagdish and Surekha Sikri as Dadisa
Balika Vadhu set in rural Rajasthan deals with grave social issues like child marriage, perils of teen pregnancy and mismatched marriages.
It narrates the story of a child bride, Anandi who is married off at the tender age of eight to an equally young Jagdish and how she adjusts to a snatched childhood and a confusing world of grown-ups and relationships.
Image: A scene from Balika Vadhu
Bairi Piya on Colors
Cast: Supriya Kumari as Amoli and Sharad Kelkar as Digvijay Singh
The show traces the life story of farmers of Maharashtra and their exploitation.
Bairi Piya story revolves round Amoli, a 20-year-old beautiful and cheerful daughter of a farmer, who belongs to the Vidarbha region in the interiors of Maharashtra.
The villain of the piece is Takkur Dig Vijay who takes advantage of the innocent villagers. He is in love with Amoli and wants to have her in his life at any cost.
Image: A scene from Bairi Piya
Do Saheliyaan-Kismat ki Kathputaliyaan on Zee TV
Cast: Sulagna Panigrahi a Maithali and Ankita Shrivastava as Bhavri
The serial is steeped in Rajasthan's culture. The story revolves around the bond of friendship between two girls -- Maithali and Bhavri -- despite their caste and class differences.
Image: A scene from Do Saheliyaan
Na Aana Is Des Laado on Colors
Cast: Meghna Malik as Ammaji, Natasha Sharma as Sia and Aditya Redij as Raghav
Na Aana Is Des Laado focuses on a social evil prevalent in the Indian society. The show is set against the backdrop of a Birpur village near Haryana.
Na Aana Is Des Laado talks about the evil practice of female infanticide and repression of women in a village. Ironically, the repression of women is fully supported by another strong woman, Ammaji.
Image: A scene from Na Aana Is Des Laado
Kashi-Jannat on NDTV Imagine
Cast: Zubair Rahman as Kashi
Kashi is set in a remote village in Bihar called Dholkipur. The village is strongly divided on caste lines, which are strictly maintained. The show revolves around a lower caste girl called Kashi who aspires to go to school.
However every small step that Kashi's parents take towards achieving their daughter's dream is met with stiff resistance from the powerful elites of the village, who leave no stone unturned to ensure that Kashi does not do anything to upset the balance of power and the division of society that has been prevalent for centuries.
Image: A scene from Kashi-Jannat
Jamunia on NDTV Imagaine
Cast: Bhavna Khatri as Jamunia
Jamunia set in Kawardha (Chhattisgarh) is the story of an orphan girl called Jamunia, whose maternal uncle marries her off to a rich family for money.
What Jamunia does not know is that the family or rather the women are cursed -- no woman has ever survived in the family's haveli.
Image: A scene from Jamunia
Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo on Zee TV
Cast: Ratan Rajput as Lali and Abhishek Rawat as Shekar
The show is based on the story of a young girl Lali who is fighting poverty to support her family.
Her parents later sell her off to a rich landlord, who wants an heir. She is married off to Shekhar (the landlord's younger son) as his second wife. She later becomes pregnant.
Image: A scene from Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo
Bandini on NDTV Imagine
Cast: Aasiya Kazi as Santu and Ronit Roy as Dharma Raj
Based in a Gujarat village, Bandini is about a young girl Santu who is forced to marry a rich and much older man Dharam Raj.
The show traces Santu's trials and tribulations while adjusting with the family and how love surfaces between her and her husband.
Destiny binds the two strangers together in the stirring saga of greed, pride, deceit and traditions.
Image: A scene from Bandini
Kesariya Balam Aavi Hamare Des on Sahara One
Cast: Jaya Binjoo as Rukmini
Kesariya Balam Aavo Hamare Des deals mostly with the theme of unconditional love. The story is set in Rajasthan and brings the essence of its rich culture and traditions.
It is a story based on the trials and tribulations of Rukmini who has a burn scar on her face. Each day, she faces humiliation from people around her as a result of it.
The show is similar to the hit Bollywood movie Satyam Shivam Sundaram.
Image: A scene from Kesariya Balam Aavi Hamare Des