The long-running success of the 2015 &TV show, Santoshi Maa starring Gracy Singh and Ratan Rajput, has encouraged the makers Rashmi Sharma and the channel to come back with a sequel, now titled, Santoshi Maa Sunayein Vrat Kathayein.

Gracy again returns as the lead deity solving her bhakt’s problems, while the rest of the cast and concerned families have changed.

What we like is the fusion of two love stories, one between Parvati (Preetikaa Chauhan) and Shiv (Dinesh Chauhan) in heaven and second between mere mortals Swati (Tanvi Dogra) and Indresh (Ashish Kadian), both of which run concurrently. One common theme of love surpassing everything runs through both.

It was pleasant to see the makers stressing on the importance of the female consent in marriage (Paravati’s dad was not ready to listen to her and forcing her to marry Lord Vishnu ), a smart mix of devotion and social messaging.

The creative team have worked well to create good CG for the heaven sequences. The earth’s storyboard is simple. Rich Indresh’s father humiliates Santoshi bhakt, Swati’s dad with all usual accusations of the girl being a bad character gold digger.

Sihanshan (Indresh dad) represents the very powerful but orthodox patriarchy still prevalent in North India. He does not respect his wife and kid and treats them shabbily.

He has a quirk of wanting to see his wife Kunti (Purva Parag) all decked up, first thing in the morning. His line that she is Devi only then, and a mere woman later, speak volumes of his narrow mindedness. Both his sons Indersh and elder brother (Micckie Dudaaney) worship the ground their father walks on. The scene where both brothers hold traffic until dad completes pooja was reminiscent of feudal India. During one such routine, Indresh blocks exam going Swati’s way and later helps her reach college. Interestingly he was not speeding at all, and time was of the essence.

At first, Indresh refuses to stand up for Swati, saying, I can’t go against my family, but yet also refuses to wed anyone else either. A desperate Swati then tries to commit suicide. Guys this is the 21t century, is a man/woman more than necessary than your life?

But then, Santoshi who had been watching all this from heaven, steps in as human and saves her devotee. She asks her to do some pooja. But her task is made tougher by a Goddess Palomi (Seema Mishra), who wants Swati to fail her talking parrots add heft to evilness. Narad’s question to Santoshi as to why she is not helping her devotee was spot on, and so was her reply, that humans are capable of taking care of themselves. But she does step in the playing field when Palomi plays dirty pool. Narad joins Santoshi ma on earth to help Swati. His habit of saying Narayan Narayan, lightens the atmosphere.

In the meantime, Indresh finally breaks free of his father’s shackles and weds Swati. What I cant get is, why do they need to continue the pooja, elope and be happy? Since Kunti had helped son to escape, Sinhashan ties her to the sun-soaked pillar. He also asks the pandit to find anti-love pooja.

Gracy Singh looks as good as before and brings out the required divinity as well. Here must give full credit to the creative team and Tanvi for etching out the Bhojpuri speaking Swati very well. Tanvi looks just the part in terms of language and body mannerisms. It is not easy to play a rustic character.” As for Ashish, the jury is still out as we have not seen him do much so far. Here must say Sushil Singh is doing a good job as the evil Sinhashan, you really want to kill him. The brother, Micckie is also doing a good job.

Brilliant producer Rashmi Sharma knows her mytho bit, but here the lack of budgets come out clear. But then can’t even blame &TV, for they are stuck at sub 50 GRP. The first weeking ratings of Santoshi Maa Sunayein Vrat Kathayein, should give them hope that with the story opening up the show might as reach as high as channel leader Ambedkar. credits the show 2.5 out of 5 stars.