Mythologies have always remained staple diet of desi TV. Over time, the same stories (Krishna, Shiv and Vishnu) have been told and retold with slight twists. The biggest change over the years from good old DD time Mahabharat and Ramayan has been in visual presentation and computer graphics.
Talking about it, Producer Siddharth Kumar Tewary is a past master of the mytho historical genre, first tasting success with his interpretation of the Mahabharat on Star Plus. It not only fetched good ratings but was praised by one and all for its grandeur glimpses.
Now, Siddharth, after his ambitious Porus for Sony, is back with RadhaKrishn for Star Bharat.
The series opens with Krishna (Himanshu Soni) devotee Shridama (Harsh Vashisht) reaching the former’s celestial home along with Narada and getting upset at noticing that he has to recite Krishna’s beloved Radha’s (Shivya Pathania) name first for entry. The latter intellectually tries to prove that his devotion is higher than love which is nothing but illusion, but eventually realizes that true love supersedes everything. While doing so he ends up cursing Radha that she will spend 100 years outside their celestial dham. If today we could follow the above lesson many of our problems would get resolved but alas. And more important here is the love between Radha -Krishna is not physical but much deeper and platonic. No wonder when Krishna merely calls out her name, she hears.
Although Shridama is very repentant at his action, he comes to realize that all this was part of the cosmic play as it was time for Krishna to make his entry in the mortal world.
We were really impressed by the digital effects especially the reverse flowing waterfall. Even the other locales of Krishna’s world were awe inspiring.
To be honest, we are not very impressed by the casting, though; Shivya Pathania did not make us get the real devotional feel that Radha requires. Having said that it is early days yet and she can surely iron out the wrinkles. Himanshu Soni gets the Krishna look right but somehow his resemblance to Rajeev Khandelwal takes away our attention from the character.
Without much ado, action shifts to earth, where baby Radha is born, but she refuses to open her eyes until she sees Krishna as part of her promise when leaving him in heaven. Radha’s father is a very noble man who has made it a mission in life to restore her vision.
On the other side, in Mathura, a jailed Devaki (Falaq Naaz) gives birth to her eight child who was foretold to kill the evil Kans (Arpit Ranka) . Here there was one jarring problem, creative did not get neonate and rather opted for an older baby. Falaq plays her part well.
As part of divinity’s plan, Krishna’s biological father Vasudev (Rakesh Kukreti) manages to get out of jail, crossing the flooded Yamuna to reach Gokul where his friend Nand (Gavie Chahal) too was also waiting for birth of his child.
The special effects again kick in when whole world just pauses mid-stream allowing Vasudev to swap their respective children. He takes Jog Maya keeping his son for Vasudev.
The casting of Reena Kapoor as Yashodha also seemed odd for she looks a bit older to play a young child’s mother. Having side that former is doing a good job as loving mother.
Gavie is lucky to get diverse roles. It must have not been easy for him to come out of the Pakistani agent avatar (Ek Tha Tiger and Tiger Zinda Hai) and be chosen for a positive mytho father.
As the story is above about Radha Krishna love, the bal Krishna roop is not shown much, just Putnavadh (her shape shifting was interesting) and by the fourth episode they are grown up. Not much is known about Krishna and Radha, so we are eager to find out more.
More than the story we are looking at visual qualities which will make or break the show, and it has started quite well. Hope Siddharth also changes the grammar in terms of costumes and language. India is capable of producing much better quality visuals then what is on offer. We are not saying repeat Hollywood level stuff given low budgets and recovery models. But if both producers and channels agree to revenue share then we are on our way. Forget broadcast,, today even digital has a huge reach which can be tapped for more bucks.
We would rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars.