If there is something missing big time in desi TV, it is innovative content. Under constant pressure to now deliver more rural-skewed ratings, all GEC channels are bending over backwards to churn out more and more regressive content i.e. new flavour of the season – supernatural.
In this unfortunate scenario, &TV comes up with Main Bhi Ardhangini, fusing family drama with bhoot pret. Will a day ever come when writers will be given the liberty to come up with out of the box concepts? Umeed pe duniya kayam hai, doston!!
The story is quite simple – rich good guy, Madhav (Avinash Sachdev), is not able to come to terms with wife Chitra’s (Anjali Priya) death, so is not immersing her remains. This does not wash down well with his fake-sweet stepmother, Nilambari (Deepshika Nagpal), who needs him to get married again to a girl of her choice to get his riches as per the family will.
So she and her son create an illusion that the dead wife is still lurking in the huge house. The scene where a drugged buffalo runs amok in a bid to show that the house is haunted was classic Ramsay stuff.
But alas, they don’t know that there really is a ghost in the house. Nilambari’s daughter-in-law tries to warn her husband, but he just ain’t ready to listen; rather, he threatens to beat her black and blue.
On the other hand, you have the good father, Narayan, who is unable to fight off his second wife’s evil machinations. There are no scenes between husband and wife.
The old man then brings Madhav’s childhood sweetheart Vaidehi (Aditi Rawat) into the picture, who hasn’t forgotten him even now. To start with, she seems to have platonic love and therefore brooks no ill-feeling towards the dead first wife, although the father has other plans, which she later agrees to for Madhav’s sake. Hope there was such selfless love out there; life would be much more sorted, what say guys?
Her entry scuttles Nilambari’s son’s stupid plan of bumping Madhav off. Vaidehi also drops the ashes urn, which obviously does not impress Madhav. She does not help matters much with her own silliness. This gives the makers enough time to spark a romance between the two. Vaidehi is shown to be very simple and helpful, tailored to meet rural mindsets as opposed to urban world-views which do not find web series women drinking and sleeping around as something shocking. Interestingly, Nilambari will support Madhav and Vaidehi’s marriage, thinking they can control this village belle. Does all this remind you of the Anil Kapoor-Madhuri Dixit superhit film, Beta?
The supernatural element is slowly opening up, with Chitra trying to freeze Nilambari to death or setting fire to Vaidehi’s sari when the latter tries to cook halwa in her old style. The CG needs to go up several notches; right now it is quite rudimentary. You can’t scare today’s public with just a weird hairdo.
Since Avinash is hoping to reinforce his return to the lead groove with Main Bhi Ardhangini, he will hope that this story, which had got huge ratings in its south versions, clicks with the HSM janta as well.
Aditi is good as the chulbuli (sweet, innocent) gal. Anjali Priya as the dead wife looks good in the role. We look forward to Madhav and Chitra’s amazing back story filled with love. Rest assured that as the story proceeds, we will see a much more serious bahu side to Vaidehi, when she will need to fight both human and supernatural evils targeting her man. In the desi TV universe, women do all the heavy lifting. Having said this, it will be interesting to see the take of the dead Chitra in the love story of Madhav and Vaidehi.
We think that at the end of the day, we might find out that Chitra had been bumped off, so she turned evil. We are used to seeing two women fighting for one man. Here, one of them is dead, so do the math and add the fun quotient to it while you go about it.
Deepshika is portraying the evil mother character to the T. What we like best is that she is not your regular over-the-top vamp. Rather, she is controlled, yet viler. She even looks very good.
If you start following desi TV, you might come to believe that becoming a ghar jamai is a very common trend, for every TV family has one good-for-nothing or rank evil ghar jamai. So here too we have an aspiring film-maker son-in-law who takes a lot of garbage from his MIL.
&TV seems to have totally embraced the new supernatural genre, with first Laal Ishq, then Daayan, and now Main Bhi Ardhangini. Let’s hope this further lifts the GRP of this sister channel of Zee TV, which until now is only known as the Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain channel.
Production house, EsselVision, that is a past master at handling various kinds of fiction and non-fiction themes, certainly has its work cut out, for budgets will surely be an issue (given low GRP).
Loud, over-the-top drama might be the only way if they wish to stand out in the crowd, for let’s face it; the audience is used to such stuff. Give them more layered and realistic shows and they simply switch channels.
IWMBuzz.com credits Main Bhi Ardhangini with 3 out of 5 stars.