The nationwide awareness initiative of 'Save A Girl Child' has certainly been of a real impact when it comes to the implication excluding some irreparable rural beliefs. And the same couldn't have been more prominent and announcing, at least in the entertainment industry.
However, Star Plus
' latest offering Ikyawann
is NOT about that and neither does it pose to be. The saga about a girl born in the Parekh family, who is also the dynasty's 51st child is an engaging tale about a girl child being raised by four men in the house and how a rival family has a plot against them. With five episodes down, let's analyse-
The Story So Far-
In a mere few episodes, we time-travel a long span of period from flashback to present day and then to the future, and that is the apotheosis of the show in itself. From the explanation about Leela's plot to be the reason of the quietus of all the women in Parekh family in a bus 'accident' to the birth of the much-awaited and termed-to-be-auspicious 51st child in the family, the first episode is an absolute roller-coaster.
Leela, a cunning and ruthless woman whose obloquy for the Parekh family is owing to Mehul Parikh (Priyank Tatariya) rejecting her daughter for marriage thus leading to the girl going mad flashbacks and explains her intentions crystal clear. In a marginally failed attempt to kill em' all, the 51st child of the Parekh family is born and to Baakey Parekh's (dadaji) disappointment, it's a girl. The family thus decides to move away from the city and have a new life in the city of Surat which is unknown to Leela and family.
After an extremely heartwarming and emotional montage about how little Susheel is raised by three men in the family against several hardship, we are shown how things haven't really changed for Leela, who is on a lookout for Parekh family since all these years to complete her revenge. On the other hand, Susheel is now a six-year-old girl who, evidently is loved by her family, but is constantly picked upon by other kids of her age. That is because of her apparently disproportioned growing height, her mannerisms and interests which are relatively masculine. Her grandfather truly loves her but has his concerns about her, where he constantly remarks her to be more of a 'girl' and not a boy.
Fate rolls around a full-circle as Leela and her daughter-in-law along with Satya decide to go to Surat (not knowing that the Parekh family is residing there) for some work and for Goddess Ambe's divine sight. Coincidentally, Susheel and family are at the same temple, where Susheel and Satya meet in the most unpleasant manner and the latter rubs off the former in the wrong way. In no time, Satya and his cousin's knavery is not received well by Susheel who chases him owing to the boy getting hurt. Leela has once again got a reason to destroy the Parekh family and vows to not spare the girl who hurt the boy in the most truculent way.
After a topsy-turvy hide and chase battle between an unaware Susheel and a mute yet ruthless henchwoman, the former initially falls prey to the latter's trick of fooling into unconsciousness which is to be followed by her death. And here is the element of mystery which is equally as good as the plot of how Susheel is saved in the nick of time by the educated and doctor daughter-in-law of Leela and her brother. An unknown and ecstatic Leela is totally oblivious to the fact that Susheel is alive and for good. However, post this incident the Parekh family decides to move to Ahmedabad and live there.
Cut to 16 years major time leap, where Susheel (Prachi Tehlan
) is now grown up to become a beautiful but tomboyish girl who is as mischievous and clean as she was when a little girl. And on the other side, the brat Satya (Namish Taneja
) has also grown up to become a handsome hunk who is still as proud and overestimates himself about everything along with being arrogant. Amidst a content driven four episodes, the 5th one was as commercial as it can get with filmy entries, typical gender battle and OTT song celebrations.
Vowing to teach Susheel a lesson, Satya decided to steal the trophy Susheel won and just when that was almost executed, he takes a fall and is apparently seen by someone.
How will Susheel and Satya's obvious love story actually begin? What will Leela do when she knows Susheel is the same girl she believed to be dead years ago? The plot has just began to unravel.
There are some immensely heartwarming and emotional moments in the show, where the father puts the milk bottle clasped between his arm and chest for the baby to drink from it posing it as a mother breastfeeding her child to the accidental yet intentional tear-wiping little hand of the baby. Even little moments like the uncles doing their best to keep Susheel entertained and happy to Susheel calling her father, MaaPaa (amalgamation of maa and paa) are poignant and touches the heart's chords in the right way.
At times, it is important to showcase stereotypes in order to break them and the show does that brilliantly. The different ideologies of Baakey and Mehul stay in the family and without any disrespect or rebellion, the stereotypes related to raising a girl child are meticulously combated.
Two instances absolutely rule the total runtime and both are mouthed by Mehul when he revolts against the society for having stereotypes towards children. One with his own father and the other at the school, Mehul's monologue has to be heard and put on repeat. If you haven't seen it already, do not forget to see it as soon as possible.
Except for the infuriating 'Leela Vi Leela' chants, the Gujarati folklore music and background score in the accurately designed setting is a winner.
Even though the stereotypes pertaining to a girl child are treated beautifully, the ones related to being a traditional Gujarati family are exaggerated annoyingly. The paroxysm of Leela's character and the imbroglios of Hindi and Gujarati amalgamations are exasperating and forced.
The character of Leela is powerful, imposing and complex, but the OTT presentation is furiously disturbing after a point of time. The performance of the veteran is applaudable, but there is a huge difference between acting and over-acting, where the latter is done much more than the former.
As a viewer and a critic, I am a fan of sped story-telling if treated with prudent approach and that happens here too. However, not everyone tends to like it and I feel one would have a problem with the extra-fastpaced story-line in the show so far.
In what we would call an ensemble cast, actor Priyank Tatariya and little Susheel win one and all's hearts with their father-daughter chemistry. Every actor seems aptly casted and the actors do a decent job justifying their characters.
It is too early to analyse Prachi and Namish's performances, given the fact they are barely an episode old; but Prachi seems perfectly cast for the character of Susheel, where she has the power of being a tomboy and the grace of being a beautiful woman too. Namish as the bratty Satya is impressive and it's only about time when we see a mellow and a more emotional side of the character.
Disguised of being a convoluted and mysterious revenge saga, Ikyawann
is a total winner when it comes to actually exhibiting the idea and the change it poses to do. With some absolutely fantastic performances and even better writing of the society-challenging sequences, Ikyawann
powers through to become an apt blend of a commercial yet content-oriented show. Will it be able to maintain the same? Only time will tell..
Rating - **** (4/5)