Now this is probably my first post regarding any television series. And with good reason. I hardly watch any television serial. In fact, my active TV viewing is restricted to sports, business shows, the news and the odd show on National Geographic or Discovery. However, with my parents tuning in to regional (i.e. Marathi) TV shows in the evenings, I invariably used to catch some episodes of a few TV serials. Over the past few months, one TV show has gradually managed to garner my attention and involvement. And when that show ended yesterday, there was more than a tinge of sadness. The show is the extremely successful and popular show on Zee Marathi : "Eka Lagnachi Doosri Goshta".
Translated literally as 'The other story of a marriage'. this serial, which started in January this year, is the story of two youngsters: Ghanashyam and Radha. These are like any other young men you would find around you. Smart, ambitious (Ghana's dream is a job in the US) and sure of what they want they want from life. But both having to face constant questions from their families regarding marriage. Marriage is, of course, the last thing on their minds. But when these two meet and realize they are sailing in the same boat, they hit upon an idea: get into a 'contract' marriage for a year just to appease their families, survive that time period, then get a divorce and live happily ever after. What follows over the show is, predictably, the story of how they realize that such an arrangement is not so simple as it seems and how love blossoms out of this contract arrangement.
The plot is fairly straight forward and the viewers are aware of the end the moment Ghana and Radha begin their 'married' life. But the director (Satish Rajwade) has handled this journey towards the end moment admirably. For starters, this show has a large dash of humour, but at the same time, never loses sight of the serious issues underpinning it. Secondly, the show is blessed with numerous but very sharply defined supporting characters. Whether they are Ghana's two uncles, Radha's father or the very lovable Maai (grandmother) in Ghana's household, each character brings to the table its own unique identity. As a result you tend to remember all of them and not just the two main protagonists. Applaud the team for investing time and effort spent in developing each character.
Finally, the performances. The supporting cast comprises numerous well-known names in Marathi TV and theater. The veteran Vinay Apte is brilliant as Radha's father (and the bond between them - he is a widower - is moving). Sukanya Kulkarni plays Radha's aunt and does a fine job of it. Rekha Kamat is delightful as Maai Aaji and Spruha Joshi as Ghanashyam's poetically inclined cousin sister brings the right amount of innocence to the proceedings. But finally, the show is about Ghana and Radha. And Swapnil Joshi and Mukta Barve bring the two characters to life. Admittedly, I was no great fan of Swapnil, and even now I am still not, but his performance stands out. Mukta, in my opinion is the star of the show. She starts off as an independent young woman who hates the idea of marital life. But once she starts living with Ghanashyam's family, she slowly realizes the value of marriage. This transition has been perfectly depicted by Mukta. Definitely one of my favorite actress ! :)
To end, the fact that there was a well-defined script definitely worked in the show's favour. Right from the start, you knew how the serial would close (i.e. Ghana and Radha starting their real marital life together) hence there was no scope for the makers to drag it on a like a saas-bahu opera !. And therein lies the serials biggest plus point. Here's hoping for more such serials along the way !!