I stumbled upon this 90s television serial sometime back on YouTube (click). It explores the patriarchal Indian society and how it affects both men and women’s happiness. It was directed by Deepti Naval, the outstanding Indian actress. What’s interesting is that even though this came out on the year 1995, it is still pretty relevant because even though there has been a lot of talk about women empowerment, India (and the world) is still struggling with these issues.
This is about three women who make powerful decisions amidst immense pressure. Mrs Joshi is a 60 year old housewife who decides to leave her husband after finding out that he had an extra marital affair. She starts looking for a job for the first time in her life. Nashi, a woman in her 30s is a victim of domestic violence and a mother who gives up brilliant career prospects after marriage. Anu has recently graduated from college and she wants to become an air hostess. But everybody around her, especially her boyfriend doesn’t want her to fulfill her dream. Will they give up on their dreams? Will they compromise and accept their fate or will they find the strength to stand for themselves?
It is easy to see this as a “men are evil” propaganda. But if you look very closely, in the last episode, it’s men who understand these women’s capabilities. And it’s women who are equally responsible for these three women’s suffering. Even the men who were responsible for these women’s suffering are not pigeonholed. Deepti has shown their good side as well.
I was particularly moved by the story of Mrs. Joshi. The most practical thing for a 60 year old Indian woman who has been a housewife all her life would be to just accept her fate. But Mrs. Joshi has the courage to live alone. What moved me more is that even though she is vulnerable and searching for a job, she decides to help women who are suffering. Practically speaking, she cannot afford to be compassionate. But when women choose co-operation over competition, amazing things happen. The society and family may not understand you but you can have your own family.
Most of the actors are brilliant.The way Deepti focuses on little things in life is beautiful. Deepti has always been an underrated actress and this is also an underrated gem.