For more than a decade, Indian TV has been subjected to hollow and over-the-top melodramatic saas-bahu sagas, slowing down the change in Indian mindset by making them regressive. Even when the concept of reality shows was introduced in the domestic arena, rather than Indian-ising the concepts and showcasing them with some originality, the producers decided to dumb down every side and omit intelligent conversations, as happens in the West. And by 'west' i particularly mean US.
Perhaps that is why there so few a blog talking about the scenario of TV in India, as the urban viewership of Indian channels are on a decline. Thankfully, there are some angels in the sky to pray to, and because of their inquisitive, daring and magnanimous efforts, we saw Connected Hum Tum air on Zee TV for 3 months, hosted superbly by Abhay Deol.
The show followed the lives of 6 women who shot their private moments for 6 months. They showcased their everyday predicaments and how they sailed through them. The show irrefutably puts the restrictions of the Indian mindset as well struggles of women in India in a glaring limelight. The channel could have effortlessly converted the seamless format to give it a more candid, spicy and controversial look, but thankfully they didn't. With all the norms and paradigms of the Indian reality shows broken, the show flagged off the endeavors and bliss of those selected, women where every moment, happy or sad, had the most apt song playing in the background, and one could personally relate to all the personalities and forced to think about the outcast issues within our society.
Mahima Chaudhary, an aspiring actress who was known as the sister of Garima Chaudhery, an Indian judoka who competed at the London Olympics. She wants to make her own name and establish her own identity, not only in the film industry, but within her family too. The ill-support of her mother during her struggles is the biggest hurdle encompassing her life. The down pull of her love life is also a major hindrance for her career. How she struggles out of all these complex issues with her emotional mood swings and rugged work life is the center of her story. She also gives particular insight to the life and minds of the Indian bourgeoisie, and their in between perceptions.
Preeti Kochar, a belly dancer and a dentist, who, before marriage, wanted 6 dogs and 6 kids running around in the house and setting the place ablaze with activity. Undoubtedly the funniest of the lot and a prankster, whenever her segment used to air, one could not help but grab the stomach with laughter. Not only her, her cute little son and her husband both help in weaving light moments. But behind her effervescent smile stood the Charulata-esque wife, full of lonesome moments, waiting for something new to occur. Her tiny tot battles with her husband over his laziness took up a form of grandeur as the series progressed, but adumbrated by her long-standing and uncomfortable tiff with her mother. Though her segment always brought a smile to the viewer's face, it also reflected as to how little matters take up huge shape when left unattended.
Malishka Mendonca is a Red FM RJ. Though she is in the middle of her thirties, she behaves as if she still is a teenager, and she does admit it too. Her segment religiously follows her love life. Her ex, her crushes, her to-be boyfriend, all devotedly take up the screen space along with her. Though immature-ish, she still won hearts with her rockstar personality and ever-glowing self. Her journey to find the definition of love projected her as someone difficult to understand. Though she did travel the road till the very end, her luminant affair spoke volumes about her, and helped unravel the dilemmas.
Sonal Giani, a LGBT activist, projects the life and lies of being gay and in a relationship. Being the most sensitive of the bundle, the channel never inputted their perspectives regarding her struggles. For the first time, a lesbian love story was showcased on national television, and how! There were absolutely no dissimilarities projected between the tussles, love and care of a straight or a gay couple and that made the difference. She and her girlfriend strode the tides of a volatile connection and the complexities of being gay in a conservative world. Though her part ended a few days before the others, it made the biggest impact and proved that sexually inclined people are no different than normal human beings. The channel should take a bow just for this segment.
Pallavi Barman, a successful corporate manager, is a true shopaholic, who buys loads of clothes and other stuff just because she is in a bad mood. But keeping her comical side aside, she is an independent modern woman who dives into the web of arranged marriage, for the second time. Her segment usually concentrated on the affability of maintaining a successful cord as well as her interpersonal tensions regarding her work and independence. The pressure on her to not let the second chance go bare, as happened earlier, was clearly extrapolated through the mountains of responsibility on her shoulders. Her bitter-sweet segment projected the modernity of the growing nation, their needs and wants, but attached with values and tradition.
Madhavi Mauskar, a grandmother with a sweet and lovely voice brings about nostalgia through her tale of independence and want of companionship. Divorced 19 years ago, she raised her daughter independently but now she deals with the question of reconciliation with her ex-husband. Her segment is very poetic and thought-provoking as she deals with numerous questions of age, nostalgia, love, companionship and at the same time, independence. Though Preeti depicted a facade of Charulata, Madhavi in itself imbibes that essence as she is the popular lonely character.
The series had a level of intellect that all other Indian fiction or non-fiction shows lacked. It again proved that the dynamics of Indian TV are constantly changing and it won't be long that there would be a day when no saas-bahu regressive sagas will dominate the TRPs. I sincerely hope the channel comes out with a sequel.