Posted: 09 September 2015 at 4:19pm | IP Logged
On one hand, there are these regressive Indian daily soaps where the central female characters are expected to be pious and pure hearted souls,engaged in household chores,not having their own individuality,getting embroilled in kitchen politics and plans of the vamps and leading their life as a victim of mysoginistic rules that are passed off as entertainment.
On the other hand,there's Stories by Rabindranath Tagore,playing on the same Indian 'Idiot Box' that telecast the other regressive daily serials and yet is so different because of it's strong female characters and powerful storyline.
Right from the young widow Binodini,who is unabashed and unaplogetic about her desire for phiscal intimacy and sexual freedom along with love denied by the society she is a part of in Chokher Bali, a yound soft heartedromantic at heart,Giribala who falls victim to physical abuse by her husband who is involved with another woman but does not let continue being a victim and instead leaves her husband and becomes a theatre actress in Maanbhanjan; a carefree,wildchild Mrinmayee who does not understand why should only women change and adapt after marriage and not the men in Samapti;an educated upper class lonely housewife who craves for companionship from her busy husband and starts liking the time she spends with her brother in law who motivates her to write poems and songs and keep herself occupied by pursuing her hobbies in The Broken Nest;a headstrong Mrinal,married off as a child, who decides to end her 15 year old marriage with her husband by writing a letter that shows the true face of her regressive sasural and their attitude towards the women in the house in Streer Patra; a fearless and strong Kalyani,whose father decides to call off her wedding due to the demand of dowry from the boy's family and instead of breaking down,Kalyani decides to live her life without getting married as she feels marriage is not the prime target to achive in a woman's life and there are many more things women can do than just get married for the sake of it in the story Aparaichit.
And supporting all these strong female characters are the equaly strong and supportive fathers who does not treat their faughters as a liability but instead allows them to lead their life the way they want to (which is brilliant attempt by Tagore if we take into account the time these stories were written).Right from Mini's father in Kabuliwala to Mrinmayee's father in Samapti and Kalyani's father in Aparichit, all are such supportive father figures which is a delight to see.And not just fathers but other strong male characters are also seen in the stories.Right from the wandering teenage soul Tarapada who wants to travel and explore life everyday to the supportive husband in Tyaag who decides to not let go of his wife from a lower caste as per his father's orders and istead decides to leave the house with her to Mrinmayee's caring husband in Samapti who takes care of her inspite of just hate from Mrinmayee's side.
And at the end of every episode, you realize these characters and stories were written over a CENTURY AGO,when India hadn't even got independence. And look at the scenario now- the quality of stories on Indian Television where makers are supposed to inspire people through empowering stories and not regressive nonsense shown in TV shows these days. It pains my heart when a show like Stories by Tagore on Epic is made by the same industry that makes a Saath Nibhana Saathiya or Simar Ka Sasural or that Star Plus inspector story where her mother in law keeps shouting at her which are the numero uno shows in India right now.
Kudos to Epic and Anurag Basu for bringing this show on hindi televions.This is easily the best fiction series running now in every department-content wise,story wise,visual wise,everything! Despite being a bengali,I have had the misfortune of not being able to read these stories in the original text due to my non exposure to reading bengali in my childhood. But this show has compensated the loss.I didn't even know about the existence of half of the stories shown in the serial.
And it still baffles me how can someone belonging to a completel different century write such stories which are relevant even to this date and are so empowering and contemporary.I guess that's the magic of Tagore and I am sure there are stories like these by authors of different languages and I hope other TV channels realize the potential of such stories and show them instead of the what we see on television these days!
Edited by KochurShaakBata - 09 September 2015 at 4:23pm