Don't miss this primetime bloom
Though Jannat Zubair Rahmani has acted in and as Kashi before, as Phulwa she manages to overshadow everyone in sight.
Monday to Thursday, 9.30 pm, Colors
Yet another girl-child on primetime! After the iconic popularity of the little Anandi in Balika Vadhu and the two small Uttaran girls, Colors' latest offering is Phulwa, a little yet mature, bright, spunky girl who despite her small frame is high on will power, exuberance and optimism. That Phulwa's story is inspired by Chambal dacoit, Phoolan Devi adds more spice to the story.
The show begins with the now grown-up dacoit going back to her childhood days when she was the angelic Phulwa, who shared her poor father's problems, didn't go to school because her little brother's education was more important and spread goodness and cheer all around with her 'wisdom'.
Phulwa's father is a boatman and the only breadwinner of the family. He is battling for his tiny piece of land that is under a legal tangle with the Thakur of the village. The Thakur and his two sons are obviously the villains. Then there is a small-time dacoit who once accidentally meets Phulwa in the dead of a night and is touched by her innocence. She bandages his bleeding arm and he, in turn, feels obliged enough to bail her out when her father's boat gets stuck deep inside a river!
Now, Phulwa's elder sister is getting married but due to some problems the wedding doesn't take place and that's when Phulwa again steps in to bail her out. That's the story so far…
The few plusses: the setting of Chambal, the rugged terrain, the warm sunset, the serene surroundings complement the tension-filled proceedings very well, then there are the performances and the dialogues. Every supporting part puts in a decent effort. And then there is the actor who plays Phulwa's father who is near-perfect (his teary eyes do the talking most of the time), Prashant Narayanan as the dacoit and Sai Ballal as the evil Thakur… last but not the least is Phulwa… though Jannat Zubair Rahmani has acted in and as Kashi before, as Phulwa she manages to overshadow everyone in sight. Her beatific face and her tender dialogue delivery make her a primetime darling. A special mention of the immensely lilting title song.
The story is reasonably paced and is an exception to the eyesore that some of the shows on the same channel have become today!
What doesn't work are some typically 'serial' elements the show resorts too, like kids dancing to Dabangg songs (come on, guys, just because Salman Khan hosted Bigg Boss, doesn't mean you have to keep him happy by playing his songs!) or a very irritating signature tune that accompanies one of the negative female characters of the show. It's oh-so-cliched. Also, the whole thing about a Hindu priest and a Muslim pir making appearances at regular intervals is so pat! Primetime secularism, anyone?
All said and done, one only hopes Phulwa flowers and blossoms to an iconic character and show, and not just another saga. Considering it comes from the makers of Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo, which started on a promising note but went all over the countryside after some months, we hope the same doesn't happen to Phulwa too. Also, if the story is indeed based on Phoolan, it should be interesting to see the makers walk the thin line between making it engaging and entertaining in the episodes to come.