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Let’s start with the verdict since we in India are so quick to judge : WATCH THE SERIES
I actually binge watched both the seasons together recently after getting emphatic recommendations from a friend. To be honest, I liked the first season more as I feel it’s more edgy and brilliant. By the time , I reached the second season ( ably sustained by endless cups of matcha and banana chips), there was this cozy, happy homecoming feeling–one that was amplified as one realized that the girls had “ found’ themselves and moved into their inner core, however tough or heart breaking their trials might have been.
Art imitates life. For after all, isn’t that what Pablo Picasso said :“That everything you imagine is real ?” When we watch the series we realize that we are not being told a ‘story’. This is reality! Conveyed through stellar performances of the main protagonists and a tad mercurial but brilliant direction, it does not shy away from ugly truths and cracks. Rather, it accepts the flaws in human beings and thereby vindicates Cocteau’s words that “The world owes its enchantment to these curious creatures and their fancies; but its multiple complicity rejects them. Thistledown spirits, tragic, heartrending in their evanescence, they must go blowing headlong to perdition.” Tragically,because it involves explosive cuts into the psyche, mindset and ‘beingness’ of the general population (except for the discerning few), the series has had its fair share of detractors and been subject to moral policing as well as unnecessary sanctimonious calls.
The series admirably highlights through little stories , many complex issues of ( a) female friendship & bonding ( b) female identity ( c) sexual freedom and choice ( d) millennial relationships ( e) women’s emancipation ( f) problems of patriarchy ( g) costs of urbanisation & rapid technological advance (h) alienation.
But, in five seemingly underplayed areas, the series succinctly puts out a very strong message or highlights a crucial fact. Let me tell where and how :
Damini Rizvi Roy: The two part surname immediately tells a little tale that her parents belong to two different and main religions of the country, sending out a strong signal of love and tolerance. The name Damini , which means ‘lightning’,and her being a journalist possibly conveys that the profession is/needs to be just that–hard hitting and fearless.In fact, I got reminded of the Bollywood movie “ Damini’’ ( 1993 ) which again was bold and beautiful.
A male as a Gynaecologist : This one smashes gender stereotyping and also simultaneously the gender politics that has unfortunately entered into the field of medicine. There has been a trend where male doctors are disappearing from gynaecology. Women tend to prefer and feel more comfortable with a female doctor. Definitely, it’s a personal choice, but medical acumen should not really be sacrificed at the altar of gender. A little non-seriously I wonder, that though my gynecologist is a female, would I have dithered if a Milind Soman look alike was around ? Bingo! Doctors in Indian movies etc have rarely been portrayed as hot–poor guys!
Choice to cast Umang Singh as a traditional Punjabi girl: This character could have been from any state in India. Why from the North and a state, both, which are known for male dominance in all spheres and very clear cut gender roles ? That LGBT-ism is natural and nothing to be ashamed of or to be condemned is what the series seeks bravely to achieve by using traditional male bastions as a backdrop. What a message for seeking inclusivity and tolerance !
The Boho Look of Kavya: The power of costumes and their effect on visual storytelling! And the need to recognize the contribution of people who work behind the scenes!Just by that quirky, Bohemian, hippie-chic way of dressing , the essence/need/role of this supporting actor was conveyed brilliantly. One didn’t hate her and yes one could also understand why she fit in with Varun ( a brilliant performance)—opposites sometimes don’t attract, but similarities do.
Breathe and be Imperfect: Totally flawed women with imperfect near and dear ones ? Plus brokeness and damage ? And this won my heart for it is based on the Japanese concept of “Wabi-sabi’’– the world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.This ancient aesthetic philosophy rooted in Zen Buddhism, particularly the tea ceremony,is a ritual of purity and simplicity in which masters prized bowls that were handmade and irregularly shaped, with uneven glaze, cracks– seeing an anchored, perverse beauty in their deliberate imperfection. The related Japanese art “kintsugi’– literally golden (“kin”) and repair (“tsugi”)–this uses a precious metal – liquid gold, liquid silver or lacquer dusted with powdered gold to bring together the pieces of a broken pottery item and at the same time beautifully enhance the breaks. Hey, it’s okay to carry a few precious scars….thats what I learnt.
Do watch,people!This is a new breed of actors and creators who are bold and are not afraid to experiment which is the elixir of creativity. We seriously also need to question why the land which produced the ‘ Kamasutra’ is so queasy about the birds and the bees ?
That’s all for now—time for my shot! Matcha,please.