Television show Pehredaar Piya Ki was infamous for its plotline from the start, actually even before it started. 20 days later, public sentiment about the TV show, in which a 10-year-old boy is married to an 18-year-old woman (because he needs to be protected), remain the same. A petition on change.org addressed to Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Cabinet Minister of Textiles and Information and Broadcasting (Additional Charge), called for a ban on the show. The petitioner, who now has 36,282 signatures (and counting) in support, wrote: “A 10-year-old impressionable little kid (“piyaa”) caressing and stalking a lady who’s more than double his age and filling sindoor in her “maang” is being telecasted at prime time, family time. Imagine the kind of influence it will steadily and perpetually infuse in the viewers’ mindset. We want a ban on the serial. We do not want our kids to be influenced by such TV serials.”
Ever since the show’s first promos aired on television in July, tele-viewers were outraged by the theme and alleged that the show propagates the idea of child marriage (an issue which has been critiqued by soaps like Balika Vadhu and Gangaa). Nevertheless, Pehredaar Piya Ki aired for the first time on July 17. After the initial few episodes aired, actor Karan Wahi slammed the makers for “selling stupidity in the name of content which gives TRP.” Cast member Suyyash Rai defended the show and said in an Instagram post: “But this doesn’t change the fact that we, the whole team of Pehredaar Piya Ki love this show and we all have worked really hard for it.” Tejaswi Prakash, who plays the role of Diya (the Pehredaar of the title) told news agency IANS: “The relationship cannot be like child marriage as we both (characters) do not know the definition of love, nor there is nothing like romance on the show. We are not married in a romantic way, we are just like friends.”
The first few episodes introduced the protagonists, Ratan (Afaan Khan), 10, and Diya, 18. Without wasting time, Pehredaar Piya Ki showed how Ratan was smitten by Diya’s beauty. He said that she’s prettier that the ‘pari’ in the stories his aunt read to him. Ratan followed her around clicking pictures, saved her from a cockroach and expressed his desire to get married to a woman twice his age – all the adults in vicinity had laughed. Diya also considered it a joke and was almost engaged to a man of her age (played by Suyyash Rai). But fate had different plans for them. Ratan’s parents died in a bomb blast, which was intended for the young heir. Ratan’s father on his deathbed requested Diya to marry his son and become his Pehredaar to protect the child from his conspiring relatives.
In the recent few episodes, the matter went from bad to worse with a suhagraat sequence and a proposed London honeymoon for Diya and Ratan.