Show Title: Ek Shringaar Swabhimaan
Timings: Monday to Friday 9 pm
Ek Shringaar Swabhimaan, new daily soap on Colors, revolves around a single mother and her two ambitious daughters. The serial has Prachi Shah, Sangeeta Chauhan and Ankita Sharma playing the lead characters. I watched the first episode and here is my first impression of the serial.
Ek Shringaar Swabhimaan (2016)
Two little girls dressed in traditional attire (Is that what kids wear to school nowadays?) run with their backpacks when one of them stumbles. The girl running ahead of her asks her to be careful to which the girl says that she will never fall as she is her shadow. (Whatever that means.) And we see her actually run stepping on her shadow. They finally reach the jharokha (balcony) of an abandoned haveli and folding their hands before the sun, they pray to make their mother proud someday.
Fast forward 18 years later…
Celebrations are on in the city of Bundi where a man is playing a dhol (drum) in the centre of the crowd as some people in the crowd praise two girls for making their city proud. Another man is busy distributing a newspaper, which contains a front page story of his niece’s success in professional exams along with a picture of his sister.
Cut to, a girl alights from a train and buys a newspaper when a little boy tugs on her dupatta and begs her for money. She tells him that her mother taught her to never give or take anything from a stranger so she asks him his name and offers a packet of biscuit but he insists on knowing her name before accepting the biscuit from her. (Seriously? Yeh toh kya rubbish tha. Aaj kal kuch bhi crap dikhate hain TV pe). She tells him her name and he takes the packet of biscuit and runs away. She then reads the newspaper with a story headline reading as ‘Sharda Solanki Ki Betiyan Bani Bundi Sheher Ki Shaan’ (Sharda Solanki’s Daughters Make Bundi City Proud). (Eh? Since when did newspapers start running such silly headlines?) She reads the article and notices that her name i.e. Naina has been written before her elder sister Meghana’s name so she cancels her name with a pen saying that she is her sister’s tail and that her name should always come after her sisters’ name. We then see Meghana distributing biscuit packets to poor street kids. (Seriously?) The two sisters meet and discuss their achievements with Meghana congratulating Naina for acing IIT exams but Naina says that though she topped this year her percentile is still 2% short of the record set by Meghana. They then make their way to Bundi Public School.
At home, Naina’s aunt Kalpana taunts Asha saying that since her sister-in-law Sharda and her two daughters have become famous they should change their house name for people to know where they live. She goes on to say that the newspaper mentions the mother’s name but not of the Mama (maternal uncle) who has helped his sister bring up her two daughters.
Meghana and Naina visit their mother Sharda at Bundi Public School where she teaches kids. As they hail a rickshaw to head home, they present their mother a new pair of sandals. (And they do this on the road in the most dramatic way possible. Couldn’t they have waited to come home do the gift distribution?)
At home, Naina and Meghana present gifts to all family members when their mother brings out the saree gifted to her and tells her two sister-in-laws to pick one for themselves and one of the sister-in-law picks the saree meant as a present for Sharda which annoys Meghana and Naina. Meghana then informs her family about her new job in Mumbai with an annual pay package of 35 lakhs and a car. Her family is shocked but happy for her.
Mamajee has held a party celebrating the return of his nieces. The guests start discussing Meghana’s marriage (Sheesh! People nowadays have no better work than discuss a girl’s marriage.) when Mama firmly states that she will marry the boy of his choosing and that too only in their community. Meghana feels disappointed on hearing this and tells her mother about it. Her mother, however, tries to pacify her saying that her uncles and aunts always wish well for her and that her bade mama (older uncle) will never let anything go wrong in her life. Babe Mama then introduces Meghana and Naina to some guests and tells Meghana that they are here to see her for their son.
Back in her room, Meghana chucks a laptop hard to the floor and Naina comes running to stop her. She tells Naina that the laptop is of no use to her now that she will be getting married and will have to throw away her degrees. She laments about how a girls’ achievements and degrees do not matter as eventually, she has to get married and sit at home. Sharda overhears her daughter and silently sheds a tear.
Later that night, Meghana sees her mother in her room and tells her to not worry about her as she is willing to get married to the boy of their choice and will ensure that whichever city she goes after marriage she will make it the top IIT city in the country.
Next morning, Meghana’s cousin Vishal looks up Jhalavar online and tells the family that the place will not suit Meghana. Mama rebukes him saying that he need not say stuff as he is taking care of it. Asha informs Sharda that the boy’s family will be visiting them in the evening to make the marriage alliance official as they have approved of Meghana. Sharda asks her if Meghana will be allowed to work after marriage to which Asha replies that the family is stinking rich and she will never have to work. But Sharda is worried as she knows Meghana’s ambition to work. To assure Sharada she calls the boy’s father and asks him if they are OK with Meghana pursuing her career after marriage and the father gives an affirmative answer. Sharda feels at ease and excitedly continues with the preparations for the evening.
Kalpana and her husband are discussing Meghana’s prospective grooms’ family when Naina overhears her aunt say that she has heard about the family before and is well aware that they never permit their women to work. Naina tries to reach her mother and sister to tell them about it but is stalled till the boy and his family arrive at their doorstep. Naina then sends a text message to her mother requesting her to ask the boys family about their thoughts of Meghana working after marriage. Sharda asks the boys’ about his opinion on Meghana working after marriage to which he replies that Meghana can work in their cow shed to kill time after marriage. The whole family is shocked. Asha then intervenes and tells him that Sharda just wanted to re-confirm. The boy’s father then tells them that he would prefer death than have his daughter-in-law work outside. Mamajee then asks Sharda to go on with the rituals when Sharda apologises to the family and rejects the marriage proposal.
First Episode First Impression
This is a true scenario where people who help you often feel that they own you. The maternal uncle, in this case, feels that since he has brought up the two girls they will do as he wishes. And his only wish is to earn respect in the society by fulfilling all his duties even at the cost of his niece’s happiness. Thankfully, the mother, Sharda knows where to draw the line of interference and does not look like someone to cram under societal pressure. We have a super mommy on the side of her daughters. I likey!! 🙂 Though the show has started off holding on the main topic dealing with career-oriented women, I wonder how long will it sustain to eventually set its foot in the regular saas-bahu territory.
What looked nice?
The episode ending was the best part of the first episode for two reasons. One that the show finally ended (Phew!), two that the mother spoke up for her daughter (Way to go super Mommy. Proud of you!)
I liked the three main women of the show. Sangeeta Chauhan who plays Meghana looked good as the strong headed and successful engineer. But Ankita Sharma who plays Naina stole the show with her cuteness. She looks extremely adorable as the sweet and endearing Naina. Prachi Shah may not look like a mother of two grown-up daughters, but she does manage to look vulnerable yet strong. She feels indebted to her brother who has helped her bring up her two daughters but at the same time she is a strong woman willing to take on anybody for the sake of her daughters.
What did not look nice?
I have a bad feeling that Meghana and Naina will eventually get married (probably in the same family) and will do everything that any other heroine does in every other TV serial. I do not see anything new about the concept or the story. Every TV serial with a similar (read ditto same) concept follows the same pattern in the almost the same sequence with –
A girl —
1. Wanting to be independent and support her family.
2. Starts working with people who are mean to her.
3. Meets a guy who is nice to her and falls in love with him.
4. Thanks to some ridiculous reason ends up marrying a guy she doesn’t love.
5. She will dislike her husband at first but will gradually fall for him.
6. His mother, her sister, his aunts, her ex-boyfriend, his ex-fiancé and every other random person or any kind of silly circumstance will one by one turn against them and will try to separate them.
7. The couple will separate for a brief period but will eventually meet to reunite.
8. Once again they will become a couple and points 6 and 7 will keep repeating till viewers get bored and the channel is forced to replace the show with another show having a similar premise under a different name and a new cast.
I am hoping this doesn’t happen with this show at least and it will do justice with the theme i.e. women empowerment (Yawns isn’t that the theme of every other crappy daily show on television?).
Ek Shringaar Swabhimaan does not look alluring to me. There is nothing new or interesting about the show for me. If you like family dramas then go for this one.
Catch this show on Voot.