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Betiyaann

A family so regressive, you’ll want to cut off electricity to their home. The ‘chiraag’ they are expecting the bahu to deliver is expected to bring such joy that surely it will be enough to light up the house as well. Alas, yet another girl is born. Dadi maa wails, daddyji snorts and almost starts a fire when he knocks off an oil lamp from its pedestal…

So far so good – your typical ma-behen-bahu-beti type serial. But whatever little I saw was quite promising. For one, it’s not a Balaji production so you have a new set of faces in the acting department. There is melodrama but not the extreme variety.

Another refreshing change is the retro look of the house (no wrought iron beds!) and the absence of the omnipresent cellphone. But the main reason why I think the show will be popular is that it touches on a social reality.

There are still millions of Indians who will do anything for a male heir. In the bargain, they treat their daughters shabbily. In some homes discrimination is blatant, in others it is more subtle. But women across the country will identify with the theme.

What’s more, so far the serial is quite fast-paced. A second wife enters the picture, has a baby boy and now they’ve all grown up. Lakshmi, the youngest of the lot appears to be the firebrand. It will be interesting to see how the betis prove themselves, stand up for their rights and carve out their identities. On the other hand, in time the show will end up focusing on intrigues surrounding pati, in laws and past lovers.

Until then, enjoy the difference. And yes, this show may finally lead to the death/ dismemberment of “Kahani ghar ghar ki” on rival Star Plus. Just for that, it’s worth asking your mom to tune in!

Rashmi Bansal

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