Nautanki films---it’s all in your name. Kahaani fultu filmi hai boss! It was worth the wait. What a magnificent launch for the much awaited Madhubala- Ek Ishq Ek Junoon. The curtain raised and it unveiled a spectacular world on the other side where we got to see an enthralling casting sequence, magnificent sets and glimpses of a show which is adorned by perfect cast and excellent work behind the camera. Undoubtedly the premiere was grand and lived up to the hype surrounding the show- an Ooh la la episode. Hats off for this attempt of paying tribute to 100 years of Indian cinema on television where the viewers will get to witness what lies beyond the whims and fancies associated with stardom.
When it’s a tribute to the world of glitz and glamour how can the serial be devoid of it? The one hour episode with just a short popcorn break made me forget that I was watching a serial and not a movie of the 70s.The opening scene reminded me of Gabbar Singh and his sidekicks from the movie Sholay. But here ‘Ab goli kha’ moment was reserved for the poor little girl Trishna and later her cruel father forced it to be an ‘Ab apple kha’ moment. OMG how petrified the little girl was. I have never seen a serial shot in such a filmi style. It was a treat to watch almost all the ingredients of a masala movie of the 70s- hits and misses, male chauvinist husbands, tyrannical thakurs, deserted areas (I have always wondered why villains of that era never preferred being in plush green areas), sidekicks, guns, ablaa naaris and more. The missing element was boy meets girl and love blooms- something which has to come as the story unfolds. The loving step mom was an exception here as Trishna’s step-mom dotes on her. I must say this thakur uses bullets more than he uses words. At the drop of a hat, he fires a bullet in the air. I felt like saying, “Ye gun humko de do thakur”, “Ye gun humko de do thakur”.
The item song ‘Choli ke peechey kyaa hai’ where the thakur was enjoying himself with the nautch girls also had traces of ‘Mehbooba Mehbooba’. A couple of observations on the flip side: the set up despite being larger than life did look a bit outdated for 1991. Thakur Saheb can sue Subhash Ghai for lifting his song as Khalnayak was not released then. But anyways drama is drama. As long as it entertains us, we can choose to overlook things and not get into nitty gritties.
So this Thakur Balraj Chaudhary has complete disregard for women, be it his wives or his daughter. His mother is an exception to this rule as we could see his reins in his mother’s hands. That made me recall Thakur Saheb needs to watch Aamir’s SMJ first episode, but how could he as it wasn’t there in 1991. I am sure as the story progresses, the turn of events in his life will make him feel guilty to death for abhorring daughters. He will also get to watch SMJ in 2012 which might open his eyes.
A special mention to the Ganpati scene. It was brilliantly executed and Pallavi’s performance was mindblowing when she faces Thakur’s henchmen and shouts at them. The subsequent scene was the highlight when the lights are on and there is a film set. The shot is called-Lights, Sound, Roll Camera, Action and so the story will pick up from here as per the first promo.
I must say excellent acting by the cast - Shagufta, Raj Zutshi, Pallavi Purohit, Lalit Patimoo, Sushmita Mukherji and the child artist Druti Zaveri. The episode was good enough to capture my attention that I forgot I had been waiting for Drashti’s entry all these days. From what I have seen till date in the promos and in the first two episodes, my gut feeling says that this show has the potential to become an instant sensation.
The chase continues in the second episode as the mother daughter duo are fortunate every time. There were amusing and emotional moments in the episode. Roma seems to be an interesting character. I think with her help Padmini will become a junior artist later as she will need to fend for herself and her daughters. I am eager to see if the story will take loose inspiration from Om Shanti Om as it delves deep into the life of junior artists later. The way thakur’s henchmen keep falling on the props provided some comic relief amidst the tense moments. In a nutshell, I can say that iss kahani mein drama hai, emotion hai, comedy hai and action bhi hai.
The star is yet to be born. All I can say is ‘Picture toh abhi baaki hai doston. Aage aage dekhte hain hota hai kya’. The stage is set, the foundation seems to be solid and only time will tell if this serial turns out to be a blockbuster or not. All the best Madhubala team!
Recommendation: YES, stay tuned to Colors at 8.30 PM from Mon-Fri.
Rating: ***** (5/5)