Zee TV’s new show Yeh Teri Galliyan, exposes the utter hypocrisy of Indian society. While prostitutes are required to fulfil certain baser human instincts, they are not given respect in society.
The setting of this Cinevistaas Limited offering is Kolkata’s infamous red light district, Sonagachi. The lead girl Puchki’s mother, Arpita (Akansha Sareen), is sold by her husband to the head of a kotha, Thaku Maa (Shubhangi Latkar) while she was carrying Puckhi. The scene where Arpita begs her husband to save her was full of pathos and made me hang my head in shame as a man.
The show then takes its first leap and Puchki is shown to be a five year old cute innocent girl, essayed by Ruchi Mahajan.
Puchki’s only friend in the world is Shantanu (Ayaan Zubair Rahmani), the son of another sex worker, Chanda (Anandi Tripathi). Both become close; he always helps her in whatever way he can, e.g. acts as God and fulfils her small prayers.
The characters of the kotha are quite complex; while Thaku Maa burns Arpita’s feet for trying to escape, yet she offers her the best medical care when she falls ill before breathing her last. She also ensures that the deceased gets all the proper burial rituals. Ditto with Pathan, the kotha’s strong man, who will not let the woman escape, but prays to the Lord to save Puckhi from her wretched future. You want to just shake them and ask – what use is your goodness when you don’t let them escape.
With Arpita out of the picture, Chanda’s character as Puckhi’s Badi Ma, will have a lot to do, being her only anchor.Main vamp, Thaku Maa’s daughter, Beauty (Renee Dhyani), always torments Puchki, telling her that the future of Sonagachi’s girls is only to dance and sell their bodies. The sad part is that Beauty speaks the harsh truth– nobody would want to associate themselves with prostitutes and their kin.
Puchki’s life gets worse when Shantanu is taken away from her and given in adoption to a rich Mazumdar clan. He refuses to go, but foster father, Arindham (Kiran Janjani), pays for Puchki’s treatment in return for his going with them. Shantanu thus gets the good life while Puchki is left to fend for herself.
Interestingly, post his arrival in the house, his foster mother Anita (Raymon Singh) gets pregnant after years of trying. The patriarch of the house, Ravindra Mazumdar, called Sir, rather than accepting his arrival as good tidings, asks him to be sent back, on the old blood line argument.
However, uncle and foster mother step up and convince him to let him stay. His aunt will be another vamp. Shantanu’s altruistic foster uncle also tries to get Puchki admitted in the same tony school as Shantanu, but is thwarted by his father’s orthodox rules. The dialogue between him and Arpita, when she asks him his full name, was touching. He says he feels stifled by the family baggage, to which she quips that at least you have it, most others don’t.
Full marks to the makers for showing the Bong cultural imprint. Right from the language (bondhu and badi), dressing and food (Puchhi), we also got a glimpse of how Bengalis bid adieu to their loved ones (Arpita’s funeral). This is the part of India where each state has its own practices and ethos.
The stage is now set for the leap to happen, which will bring in the elder Puchki (Vrushika Mehta) and Shantanu (Manish Goplani), but our sources inform that the leap might be delayed. Guess the makers are happy with the response that the kid part is getting. Children always elicit more sympathy and eye balls, and here, both Ruchi and Ayaan have done a superb job so far. You really feel sorry for Puchki and lament at our hypocritical society.
The story post-leap will not be unique. Will a bhadralok Kolkata family accept a prostitute as their bou (bahu)? Kiran Janjani’s character will come in to play only then, we guess.
We just hope that the leap does not get delayed too long, for then poor Vrushika and Manish will have to wait endlessly, like Nirbhay Wadhwa did, before the long-delayed Hanuman track finally came along on Sony.
Creatively, there is lot you can play with, even with kids. The rampant discrimination in the treatment to both plays very well into the current boy vs girl debate. `
There is just one problem– the drama is too heavy, and the lighter moments involving the kids are few and far between. Beyond a point, too much pain might work against the show, so hope the makers introduce some lighter characters to unburden the atmosphere.
IWMBuzz.com credits Yeh Teri Galliyan 3.5 out of 5 stars.