ALT Balaji is creating all the buzz with its fresh content. The fact that it is backed by Ekta Kapoor
is all the more intriguing and her audiences are eager to get a glimpse of the new web series.
Test Case is a Nirmat Kaur starrer and it revolves around the journey of an Indian woman who joins the army's special forces. She comes as an exception to the norm and it naturally starts off as a long debate on whether she belongs in the setting. Right from the beginning, the trailer displays the issues against the idea of women in the military -
The direction is choppy and fragmented, and is effective in shaking the viewer up by saying 'get up and listen!'. The promo screams for recognition for a very real problem. We're presented with prime issues and a series of plans to tackle it in snippets. There are reporters asserting that women cannot serve in the army due to issues of safety, the pre-conceived idea of them being weaker than men and the norm of a male-dominated military.
Nirmat Kaur is introduced as a part of a unit full of men. Although the show is based in a restricted setting, confined to the military, the subject it deals with applies to all Indian women. The series deals with the strength of a woman and it can be any Indian woman, from one that fights in the court of law to an office boardroom, the household or the battlefield.
We see Bollywood actress, Juhi Chawla as a minister of defense as she asserts that the name of the Test Case in the discussion isn't Shikha SHARMA but SHIKHA Sharma sending across the idea that it is the woman and not the patriarchal family name that matters.
Attempts to intimidate Shikha are many. She is told things ranging from "there are only men on special force teams" and that "We make men out of boys, what do we make of you?". To this, our lead replies with "A commando, Sir!".
Our Antagonists Rahul Dev
and Atul Kulkarni
play their part well and look apt in representing the male macho. They bring forth the typical statement used by men when it comes to tasks that aren't generally given to the 'weaker sex'- "Mai aurton ki bohot izzat karta hu but, yeh desh ka sawaal hai
". The comments of men around are reinforced in the trailer. It gives off the sense of dominance that is constantly asserted on women as they are time and again reminded of the things they're incapable of.
The characters we saw so far were very real. We have Nirmat Kaur who is promising as a strong warrior in the making (her strength, however, isn't overplayed and we hope it remains that way). We have antagonists who fit naturally into their roles. The rest of the men and their part isn't dramatized. It makes a good case for the realistic kind of portrayal Ekta Kapoor
is looking to put forward in stark contradiction to her saas-bahu
convention. Overall, the series seems to promise it's viewers a good argument against the question - 'Are women fit to serve in the Indian Army?'
We are hoping that the series that is showcased as grounded in reality doesn't dwindle into the same old 'girls v/s boys' debate. The possibility of it becoming another saga that overly dramatizes the plight of women is high and we'd like the makers to keep it genuine in its exploration of complex gendered issues of today.
The trailer is definitely a good peek into the life of an exceptional subject. The moment the lead demands that she must get no special treatment and should be allowed to live in the dorms with the rest of the men, the series becomes about an unafraid character. We love how on point the trailer is leading up to Shikha calling herself a 'Test Case'. Everything from the direction to the dialogues points to the intensity of the scenes but the protagonist remains calm for most of the part. We think it's great that there isn't an emotional angle to it. All in all, the Test Case begins with a set of questions we hope are addressed well.
Ratings 4/5 (****)