Udann is a bold effort by Mahesh Bhatt to bring into focus the issue of bonded labor. It went on air starting 18th August 2014 and features Chakor, a child played by Spandan Chaturvedi as the main lead. She is the collateral to the loan taken for the funeral of her father Hariya from the local Zamindar Bhaiyaji. Chakor stays with her mother for 7 years and then goes to the haveli as bonded labor. No serial is complete unless there are complications of which there is no lack. Lots of things, including two murders, happen while Chakor is still a child. The serial jumps forward in time 10 years to when Chakor, played by Meera Deosthale trains under Arjun Khanna and is taken care of by him as if she where his daughter. Her mission is now to free Azadganj, the town where she grew up, from the tyranny of the zamindar. Mahesh Bhatt had a golden opportunity to give the serial a better treatment but went the traditional serial route.
Sasural Simar Ka is a masala family soap with oodles of superstition binding the plot together. The show went on air from 25th April 2011 and completed a whopping 1423 episodes on 16th February 2016. Deepika Samson plays Simar Prem Bharadwaj, a small town girl. Dheeraj Dhoopar is Prem Rajendra Bharadwaj. Avika Gor plays the role of Roli, Simar’s sister. She marries Siddhant Bharadwaj played by Manish Raisinghani. The soap is about the slipper journey of the family and how the two sisters uphold the best traditions of the Bharadwaj household. Jayati Bhatia plays Nirmala Bharadwaj, the mentally disturbed mataji in the serial. The show is popular and one wonders how and why. Housewives watch it while chopping vegetables so one does not really care what is going on. Couples watch it in order to avoid talking to each other and it maintains domestic peace and harmony. Children watch it in order to avoid studies. If you have a mind give this serial the no mind.
Another love serial with tangled skeins for you to unravel. Ranveer and Ishani are the main leads who, naturally enough, fall in love when they grow up. The show went on air from 24th June 2014 on Colors. As you would expect of Ekta Kapoor productions, there are twists and turns as the hero and heroine make sacrifices for the other before ultimately uniting. Shakti Arora plays Ranveer and Radhika Madan is Ishani with over a dozen others to provide complications the plot needs to keep you interested from one episode to the next. The gooey emotions and the scheming can prove overwhelming. There is one good thing to watching serials like these: you get to know the latest fashion get up of serial heroes and heroines.
Zee TV gave us Kala Tikka from November 2nd, 2015. The story is about Vishwaveer Jha, an astrologer and his family living on the banks of the ganges. He wishes to keep his daughter Gauri protected against a curse or the evil and in order to do so he adopts an abandoned infant Kaali. Kaali becomes Gauri’s kala teeka protecting her from evil influences. Kaali is treated badly but carries on nevertheless in her task of protecting Gauri. Kaali becomes a singer but Gauri gets credit. A guy named Yug becomes attracted to Kaali and fate brings the two together. Simran Pareenja shines as Kaali with Fenil playing Gauri somewhat overshadowed. Daljeet Kaur plays Manjiri Vishwaveer Jha, wife of Vishwaveer played by Bhupinder Singh. This serial will reinforce beliefs of the die hard superstitious set.
Khatron ke Khiladi is Endemol India production showcasing on Colors at 9 PM. This stunt based reality show is refreshingly different from the family dramas and Arjun Kapoor, as host, steals the show though one must admire the actual contestants. The other one to like is Raghav Jyual and his comic ability. You will also love watching Sana Saeed and Vivan Bhatena leave their mark on the show. It has been good going so far and we can only hope it gets better.
Funny thing with the Indian mentality: a bahu is fit for burning but a jamai becomes a Raja. Go figure. Zee gave us their own version of Jamai raja starting 4th August. The show is produced by Akshay Kumar and stars Ravi Dubey as Siddharth Khurana and Nia Sharma as Roshni Siddharth Khurana. Do gooder jamai raja Ravi pours oil on troubled waters and makes a valiant effort to reconcile his wife Roshni with his mother-in-law Durga Devi, a jewellery business person. Roshni is the proverbial do gooder who works for the welfare of the underprivileged for whom Durga devi has no time. Naturally there is a 180 degree polarity in their thoughts leading to sparks and flames that firefighter Ravi is at hand to put out. Will he succeed in exterminating the flames of conflict is what the serial is about. The Indian psyche has a prurient interest on what goes on in other people’s families and this perhaps accounts for the spate of family oriented serials numbing our senses. To their credit, Ravi and Durga won Zee Rishtey awards for favorite saas and jamai and the lead also got the favorite nayi jodi award.