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Kahe Diya Pardes which emerged as an entertaining as well as progressive note in the world of TV soaps, turns out as stereotypical and disappointing as most of its counterparts.
Now let me confess – I am really not someone who loves watching daily soaps. I know reading the title you thought – what the heck, if it’s a daily soap on TV it is bound to be stereotypical, full of nonsense and drama and if you watch such stuff why complain, and if you will complain, why watch?
There was a time when I was in college, all naive, and this was when the Internet was all about going to the cyber cafe and getting all excited about entering the chat room and typing asl (age, sex, location) and talking to strangers. At that time, the only source of entertainment for young people like me was the idiot box, so I won’t lie – I used to watch the Ekta Kapoor soaps and probably even like them at that point; that’s why I use the word ‘Naive’.
I started watching a few of them when I was idle and they seemed ok; not as mindless and intolerable as the Hindi ones. And then came a new soap on Zee Marathi ‘Kahe Diya Pardes’ at 9pm on weekdays. This show was unique and was an instant hit for numerous reasons.
First of all this Marathi soap had a Hindi name; secondly the soap had both Hindi and Marathi dialogues and though the proportion of Marathi spoken was obviously more given that its a Marathi serial, the male lead is a North Indian who plays the role of a Hindi speaking guy who comes to Mumbai from Benaras to pursue a job.
As the actor playing the role is a Hindi speaking person, he is not fluent in Marathi and as the character demands he is always found speaking in Hindi. A few cute tidbits of Marathi is what he attempts but that’s it. So for a Marathi serial to have the main lead speak Hindi was path breaking in a big way. And though this was a risky bet the serial makers took, it paid off well.
So Shiv, the guy from Benaras moves in as Gauri’s neighbour and after the initial quarreling, fighting like cats and dogs, they fall in love. No prizes for guessing that family resistance will follow from both sides, the couple will go through tough times, decide to sacrifice their love and marry someone chosen by their family to make their parents happy but finally the parents realize their folly and give in. They get married amid much pomp and show and that’s when the serial should have gracefully ended. It would have left an inedible mark in all our minds as a soap which was not ordinary, attempted to do things differently and succeeded. But alas, the producers’ greed for TRPs got the better of them and they probably decided they should earn more – at the cost of the serial losing its credibility.
Shiv and Gauri get married and move to Benaras to live with his extended family. Gauri who was once an independent bold working girl who had dreams and was not afraid of talking, is now seen clad in a Gujarati sari, with her head always covered in a ghoonghat, and is forever thinking about what to cook for Shiv’s family to impress them. Her mother-in-law who was never happy with this alliance is plotting ways to take her down and her well-wishers – Dadiji (Shiv’s grandmom) who is the head of the family is trying to safeguard her interests.
At one point when Gauri visits her parents after marriage and informs her father that she is resigning from her job he stops her and asks her, “Why would you do such a thing? What’s the use of educating you if all you would do is cook at home? Whatever you do, make sure you work and remain independent. Find a job in Benaras but do not quit.” His advice falls on deaf ears though as our heroine has only goal in life now – be a good homemaker.
Whenever she talks to her parents and aaji on the phone her primary topic of interest is what new dish can I cook for Shiv’s family and she is always seen discussing recipes with her aaji. The last straw was when Shiv’s family admonishes her for calling her husband by his name. This is blasphemy, they roar and she then starts addressing him as Shuklaji much to the delight of not just his family but Shiv as well who should have ideally made his family understand that addressing the husband by name is normal nowadays and they should not be appalled by it.
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