Sony TV has struck bulls-eye, with its latest runaway hit. We’re sure you know what we’re talking about. Yes, it’s Zindagi Ke Crossroads, the experimental and singularly unique show that has very quickly become the talking point of telly-land.
Life, aka Zindagi, never runs along a straight course. On some days, it ambles along on level ground, while on others, it takes us to unchartered, euphoric peaks. Quite a few times, it leads us to fearfully agonizing nadirs. We, the travellers on this road of life, learn to take everything in our stride. But often times, life springs a surprise on us, leading us to a defining cul de sac– a dead end, with no way forward.
All is not lost, though. This is life’s way of telling us that we have to gather our wits about us, and forge our own way forward. And forge our way we do, emerging stronger, wiser and happier at the end of it.
Zindagi Ke Crossroads is presented as a series of short stories, each with a thought-provoking social, moral or emotional dilemma at its core. The story is paused at crucial points, and host Ram Kapoor initiates an interesting dialogue with studio audiences, where they dissect, discuss and deliberate on the situations faced by the protagonists on screen.
The episode ends on a rousing note, with a happy ending for the protagonist, and a profound lesson for us, the viewers. What makes it even more intriguing is that incidents and circumstances portrayed are such that can occur in any of our lives. So, what would you have done if you were in the shoes of the protagonist?
Episode 4, called The Dilemma, is about a postmaster, who lives in a small Maharashtrian village. The postmaster, called Pandhri kaka, is amiable and well-loved by the villagers. However, Pandhri has a secret vice– he loves opening people’s letters and reading them clandestinely.
His vice lands him bang in the middle of a dilemma. The village sarpanch has arranged his son’s marriage to Vaishali, a girl well-known to Pandhri Kaka. So, when he happens to read a letter addressed to the sarpanch, saying that Vaishali is a characterless girl and in love with another guy. Pandhri Kaka doesn’t know how to react. Delivering the letter will surely result in the breaking of Vaishali’s engagement. He is torn between his duty and his morals. Ultimately, he decides against delivering the letter to the sarpanch and tears it up into pieces.
What follows are various twists and turns in the story, where even Pandhri Kaka’s own son is involved, before it culminates in a positive, yet, astonishing end.
The narrative is engaging and inspiring. Pandhri Kaka’s decisions are altruistic and focused towards doing the right thing, even at the cost of his own son’s happiness. The plot comes together seamlessly, holding us captive till the very end. To put it succinctly,it is storytelling at its stellar best!
The second episode, titled Family or Self, is about a young, fatherless girl, Neha, who has the burden of her entire family, comprising her mother, sister and brother, on her tender shoulders. Not only that, She also has to pay off her dead father’s debts.
Fate smiles on her when she gets not one, not two, but three marriage proposals in one day. Whom should she choose from her three suitors? One is her college friend who’s bought a ring worth ten lakhs for her with the help of a loan. Her second suitor is her boss and the owner of the company. He’s rich, caring and willing to shoulder her family’s responsibilities for her. Her third suitor is her father’s old business partner’s son. This guy wants to marry her, so that his ailing mother gets someone to take care of her.
Finally, does the choice she make pass muster with that enigmatic institution called life? Oh, if only things were that easy! Just as she is about to settle into a life of married bliss, fate deals her another cruel blow. Phew! What is a mere mortal, before the vagaries of life!
How does Neha overcome the problems, how do the studio audiences react to the various issues which present themselves out of nowhere? Watch the episode and find out for yourself!
Episode 6 is called Does the Past Matter? It is about a young couple, Vihaan and Nidhi, that gets married and settles down in another city. Nidhi is an upfront girl, for whom the present is what holds importance, while the past is past. Ironically, her past rears its ugly head, in the form of an indiscretion on her part, that had taken place when she’d been carefree and unhitched.
Vihaan is unable to reconcile with this unsavoury incident of her past life. Matters reach a head, and Vihaan wants a divorce. Nidhi is unapologetic and sticks to her ground that what took place in the past should remain in the past.
Can Nidhi convince Vihaan to trust her and give their marriage a chance? Or do they finally get divorced?
We found this to be the most interesting of the three episodes. It raises numerous questions on multiple levels. It touches upon the burning question of gender equality and society’s double standards in dealing with sexual indiscretions by a male and a female. It questions the significance, or insignificance, if you may, of a couple’s past in its present. The episode’s one helluva roller coaster ride, with we, the viewers, experiencing the exhilarating ups and heart-stopping downs, and eventually, grinding to a shocking halt! The end is truly astonishing, and totally unexpected. Watch it and decide for yourself.
Having whet our appetites with the intriguing offerings of the week gone by, we wait with bated breath to see what surprise the coming episodes spring on us unsuspecting viewers!
(Written by Rashmi Paharia)