Monday, October 13, 2008

Balika Vadu

Balika Vadu,the latest show on colors is grabbing quite a few eyeballs of late.Set in rural Rajasthan the show deals with a refreshingly different and relevant social theme-child marriages,which is still a common practice in many parts of Rajasthan,Uttar Pradesh and even in the tribal parts of Andhra Pradesh!The story deals with Anandi(Avika Gaur who essays the role with amazing dexterity and is a true find),married at an early age and how she finds her feet in a rich household under the severe gaze of her grand mother in law Kalyani(Surekha Sikri,the national award winner playing the curmudgeon with a heart with unrivaled finesse)with help from her understanding in laws who are quite helpless to go against the wishes of Kalyani.It also shows the pain of Bhairav who wants to treat his daughter in law like his own child and has to deal with a dominating mother with her orthodox beliefs and Sumitra(Sadia Siddiqui who emotes wonderfully through her eyes)trapped between her duty as a daughter in law and her love for her son's wife who is after all a kid.Why does this show strike a chord? Because it strikes a chord between the demands of a TRP driven world of competitive television and the need to deliver a hard hitting social statement.Because the kids have done an amazing job and so has everyone around them.Because it is a refreshing change from the overdressed and over rated soaps which rule the roost today.Because even the social message flashed at the end of each episode is extremely endearing.Because the kids behave their age,don't mouth irritatingly smart one liners and do not behave like wannabe adults.Well shot without the irritating and needless zooming of camera it succeeds in bringing out the vibrant hues of Rajasthan through it's dexterous use of colors and sights.It tells us that widows are,even in this age of Ipod's and Botox treatments,subjected to incorrigible behavior by their own kith and kin.While credit should be given to the casting directors,the producers also should be given credit for treading on a off beaten bath.Through it's subtle narration and novel interpretation it reminds us of a time when television was a medium to deal with serious societal issues.The show has come under criticism from some quarters because it uses kids as props...but then how do you address issues related to children if you don't use them?Another reason it has been rebuked is because it is too dramatic but then dosen't melodrama add it's own zing to things at times? A sensible start has been made,my own hope is that it treads on similar grounds and comes to a logical ending rather than to keep wandering for years!

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