5 Strong Women Characters Drive A Suspenseful Narrative In Netflix’s Kaala Paani!

Kaala Paani does justice to truly representing gender equity and feminism. Real women, each from a different profession, from a different walk of life.

Binge watched ‘Kaala Paani’, a science fiction thriller on Netflix. The story revolves around the perils of an epidemic caused by a deadly bacterium and the ensuing lockdown. The series makes for a great watch, but what worked for me is the respect with which the women characters have been treated. Observe closely and you realize, the brave protagonists are all women. A rarity these days.

Dr. Soudamini Singh played by Mona Singh

Mona Singh plays Dr. Soudamini Singh, a single woman, an efficient doctor, and the head of research. I wish her part was longer, but as the story progresses, due credit is given to her findings and brilliance. There’s no needless talk about her love life or single status.

Dr. Ritu Gagra played by Radhika Mehrotra

Ditto with Dr. Ritu Gagra’s character, played by Radhika Mehrotra. In fact, Dr. Ritu is portrayed as a young and diligent scientist, who goes to any length to save her patients and find a cure for the killer disease. There are some meaningful discussions that she has with her father in the past, but at no point in time does the narrative digress into her personal life. She is a thorough professional, just like the healthcare professional Jyotsna Dey.

Jyotsna Dey played by Arushi Sharma

Played brilliantly by Arushi Sharma, Jyotsna Dey is proud to be a nurse, and in fact rightly says, ‘A patient is nursed back to health, not doctored.’ She is struggling with some tragic incidents in the past, like the loss of dear ones, and she has in fact made up her mind to leave her job. But when the entire island is stuck in a huge crisis, she gathers her strength and courage, and sets out on her mission, to nurse sick people back to health.

Gargi Savla played by Sarika Singh

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I particularly liked the treatment of the character Gargi Savla played by Sarika Singh. A simple housewife who is weak in English and is often mocked for her English-speaking skills at her children’s school. But when faced with a calamity so grave, she takes it head-on, with exemplary courage. There wasn’t a single moment where she was depicted as weak, and more than that, it was a revelation to watch her husband appreciating her for being the family’s strength. There is no preaching here, her family’s respect for her comes naturally.

Parvathy Amma played by Veena Nair

Apart from these four, there’s Parvathy Amma, played by Veena Nair, who is the fulcrum of her family, her invalid husband, and her two sons. But when she realizes that the indigenous tribe of the island is in trouble, she bravely hands over the charge of the household to her sons and ventures to protect the tribal community. She also adopts an orphan and there is no guilt trip in the event, the men of the family respect her decision.

Strong, feminist women characters with well written empathetic male characters

It’s amazing how Kaala Paani actually manages to portray it’s men and women as equals, in all respects. I have to say, most male characters too have been written very well, they are shown as supportive and empathetic towards women.

What’s best, is that unlike numerous other shows on OTT, there is no sexual or adult content. OTT content these days heavily hinges on skin show and vulgarity, objectifying women all over. That’s why Kaala Paani is so refreshingly different.

Also, I have commonly observed that independent women are often portrayed as heavily made-up, cigarette-smoking, alcohol-drinking, cussing divas, who repeatedly brag about their success in a man’s world. Kaala Paani thankfully stays away from these cliches.

For me, Kaala Paani does justice to truly representing gender equity and feminism. Real women, each from a different profession, from a different walk of life. There’s no shouting from rooftops, there are no undue lessons of feminism, just simple and realistic women doing their best.

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