Joined: 08 November 2011
First things first – KTLK is not DK. Yes the story is similar, but the spirit of the shows is completely different. DK was a story about love – about losing and finding it; losing it and yet finding the will to love again. The story revolved around Ahmer's disappointment at what he perceived as Baba betrayal – not telling him about his past life and leaving his home to another person. There was a longing for the home but that was a part of it – what he really wanted to know was why Baba acted the way he did. Unable to understand that made him doubt the idea of love and relationships. As the show progressed he became angry at this person to whom Baba had left the house, because of her insistence at not wanting to sell it back to him even though it meant so much to him. The crux of the story was how one deals with falling in love when one's faith in it has been shattered and then how does one love the person whom one has unknowingly hated vehemently for so long. Discovering the truth about Baba, getting an explanation for his actions was the turning point in the story. It lessened Ahmer's fear of being betrayed in love. Finally his love for Zoya overcame his hate for her (because of the house) and he accepted her. The fact that they both had such a vast age gap was incidental, only a secondary factory in the story mentioned three times. Once when Sheena taunts him about loving a girl half his age which Ahmer brushes aside. Second when Anjie casually mentions their age difference to Zoya and Zoya says it doesn't bother her. Anjie drops the matter immediately. Thirdly, when Ahmer discusses the issue with his friend, his friend allays his fears gently. The matter ends there.
KTLK however is centred around this premise entirely. From the outset, the makers claimed it was a love story between two people very different in age and mental disposition and how they overcome their personal and societal hurdles to accept their love. The normalcy of the relationship is compromised by being put under a microscope by two people very important to both the central characters - Anjie and Mallika. How can they ignore two voices so critical to them? It makes them self-conscious; the CV wants this show to be about how this unlikely couple deal with and get over this constant societal glare in the form of cheering squads (Armaan, Rohan) and firing squads (Anjie, Mallika). That's why the personal hurdles have been cleared rather hurriedly and now we are on to the societal hurdles!
In Nidhi's case it is believable that she would fall in love quickly, considering the fact that she is a young girl and so more open to love. Nidhi is the product of modern India, she is of the Internet generation – strong willed, fearless, aggressive, smart (after all she got 14th rank in MBBS) and most of all supremely self confident. She wants what she wants and no one can stop her from getting it. This is the generation that is not afraid to "fall in love" rather quickly even though sometimes they don't even know if they are really in love but like to believe that is the case. She feels a strong attraction for Ashutosh after the rain episode and decides to stay and find out what it is all about instead of traveling to Europe. But then Anjie and Mallika's constant badgering make her believe it is love. This is the idea of the show - how people constantly keeping a tab on your relationship affects your feelings. Whether she will stick with it when the chips are down is the rest of the story. I don't have a problem in her calling her feelings love so quickly, because there is something called love at first sight. The real test is whether as two people peel the layers off each other, they can stay in love.
Right now Nidhi is going through the stages of grief. Initially there was anger and now there is sorrow. Being fired from the hospital and believing that Ashutosh doesn't love her is perhaps the first disappointment in life for this uber smart twenty something. She is shocked out of her wits. We as viewers need to give her some room to grieve and calm down. She had just recovered a little from the shock by finding a new job when she is thrown into the medical convention with the source of her pain, in a new place where she is all alone. Ashutosh has Armaan goading him on. Where is poor Nidhi's support system? And to top it all of, here is Ashutosh being nice all of a sudden, saying great things about her in his speech and then denying her existence a few hours later. Why was he quiet all this while? He didn't say a word when she questioned him at the fashion party or when her father said so many things to him at the restaurant. At present she is not in the mental state to deal with him. And then to hear from Mallika that this job, which she so proudly proclaimed was the result of her own talents, was the result of a recommendation of the same person. She was hit over the head in Mumbai. I completely support poor Nidhi wanting to run away and compose herself rather than talk or dance with Ashutosh. She is a shadow of her original self.
Ashutosh too is of a different shade compared to DK's Ahmer. Ashutosh and Ahmer were mellow, lively characters before Baba's betrayal left them stunned and reserved. It made them close up like the king in the castle from KTLK's fairy tale. But unlike Ahmer who is upset by Baba's betrayal (leaving his home to someone else), it is the actual loss of his childhood home that has left Ashutosh angry. He deeply hates the person that has, in his mind, taken away his safe haven. This hate has made him incapable of love. But Nidhi doesn't care for such barriers. She doesn't care for restraint. If she wants to see him she will, as she says, "Jab dil karta hai tab aa jaati hoon." She is willing to work to make her place in his life. And using this brashness she pushes through Ashutosh's defences. As he says, "Woh ladki pagal hai, mujeh bhi pagal kar degi. Par us se naaraz bhi nahin raha jaata." She is like this strong wind that blows away everything in its path. Hence we see him softening to her advances and she makes a place for herself in his life. When Mallika taunts him about loving a girl half his age, he isn't sure it is love; he believes he is incapable of it because of what his Baba did. Personally I would have liked to him dwell more on this – how can I love anyone after what has happened? There was just one scene about this.
Ashutosh fired Nidhi because of a half-baked sense of protectiveness towards her (again the CV did not do a good job of showing his mental process). He reasoned that if Mallika thinks I love her, so will other people and I don't want to harm this young girl; so let me fire her even though I may actually be punishing her for nothing since I don't even know if she loves me. Basically the CV wanted to show how the pressures of society had caused this new love to be nipped in the bud. I have no problem in them wanting to go that route. But the way they did it was very illogical. It would have been more believable for him to at least wait a while and figure out if Nidhi had feelings for him and if people were indeed talking about them. In the meanwhile he could have pondered more on his own feelings, how it was that she had carved a place for herself in his heart and whether it was love. Then if he still felt that protecting her from society by firing her was the way to go, it would have been clearly justified and the role of society in such an unconventional love would have been highlighted. He is after all a smart and mature man; why would he act so rashly when provoked by his friend?
After Nidhi was out of Ashutosh's life he found that she had taken a place so big in his life that the pain and emptiness when she leaves makes him quickly (too quickly for my comfort) believe that it must be love. Just like the pain and emptiness at the loss of his beloved Baba and their home. It almost seems like he has withdrawal symptoms – he had become so addicted to her! The CV is now trying to justify Ashutosh's "rushed confession" to Armaan after the fact. Think of the paens he sings to her in his speech at the convention and the dialogues he says in his scenes with Armaan – such beautiful, beautiful lines about her being like the warmth of a shawl in his life. His discovering what she means to him after firing her (rather than slowly, while she was still at the hospital as a lot of us wanted), generates the pathos needed to connect with the audience. Who does not feel Ashutosh and Nidhi's sorrow right now and cry with them? While we hate the fact that they are apart when the CV has the power to keep them together, we also feel bad for two lovers separated by society. And we cheer as Armaan and Rohan try to bring them back together.
It is true. Society is a doubled edged sword in India. It is the one that makes our lives miserable by its constant intrusion into our personal spaces, its harsh stares and its opinions about everything in our lives. Yet it is this society that makes our lives more bearable everyday with simple things like a quick chat and a hot cup of tea with a friendly neighbour at the end of a day's work.
Those of us who grew up in the 80s in a cosmopolitan, "new" India may find Ashutosh and Nidhi's plight hard to believe and this whole situation cliched. But I, a product of this "new" India myself who has spent several years abroad, have seen the hoops through which my friends have had to jump to go from love to marriage because their relationships were deemed unconventional by society. How will Ashutosh and Nidhi navigate this difficult terrain?
The audience will stay with them as they go about on this journey together as long as the CV keeps it as real and logical as possible. We all allow some amount of emotional baggage, some coincidences, some slips of logic because that's what drama is about. But please CV don't test our patience too much! And keep up the writing – the scenes are beautifully written and the dialogues are heartfelt. It is this writing that lifts a mundane and lame situation and makes it a bearable scene. The words have the power to touch the audience's emotions so that even though in its entirety an episode may be illogical, the powerful scenes are what remain with the viewer. But when the viewer steps back and thinks about what we saw, we will figure out that the story is going nowhere or makes no sense. So don't take us for granted.
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But, it was for a different show..
The show will be produced by Saurabh Tewari...
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