Anupama - India’s darling daughter by Girija Jinnaa SignUp
Anupama - India’s darling daughter
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Recently I read an article on the net which dealt with a detailed analysis of a popular Bengali serial the remake of the same is now being aired on the Hindi television Channel. This gave me an idea that why should I not write an analysis of the serial Anupama which is now ruling the TRP charts and is popular all over India except of course Tamil Nadu.

When Anupama’s promo was released I dismissed it thinking it is again going to be the same old nanny story of a neglected housewife and how she is going to make a name for herself. Actually, a few years ago a serial named Hello Prathiba was telecast with almost the same theme, and without much celebration, it went off air within a few months and decided Anupama would face the same fate. It was wrong on my part to have been judgmental without watching even a single episode. A few weeks later I found that the serial was topping the chart since the second week of its telecast and that made me think and so on the 32nd episode I watched the serial.

When I watched the serial I went with a prejudiced mind only but what struck me was to my surprise the actor who played the titular role of Anupama, Rupali Ganguly was very shoddily dressed, something that is never seen in Hindi soaps they are all very well and richly dressed, and she spoke with a native flavor. There is something here I felt and watched - that episode was the one the mother Anupama comes to her son’s girlfriend’s house where the girl’s mother was ridiculing her and making her feel infra dig on several matters right from her education to her financial status and Anupama was giving replies- I felt the dialogues were good and after that, I continued watching it.

My question of how this serial which does not have any romance (because I always felt that serials with more romance enjoyed a larger viewership) is holding the attention of the viewers still lingered in my mind. And within a week I got my answers - strong and steady characters, good screenplay, and above all excellent dialogues all worked to create magic on the screen.

Let us take the three (now there are four) main characters of “Anupama”. Vanraj Shah a male chauvinist to whom a woman is created to serve his purpose, firmly believes that woman has only two roles to play one in his bed and the other in his kitchen. Anupama his wife who hails from a fatherless poor family could not pursue her education due to financial constraints and was pushed off into a “loveless and respect less marriage” with Vanraj Shah. And Vanraj Shah’s love Kavya, her it is for the sake of decency we call her his love because we know what respect Vanraj holds for women but Kavya who “looks modern” thinks that he “loves her for her beauty and intelligence”. And of course, there is that inevitable evil mother-in-law whose favorite and only pastime is to taunt her docile daughter in law and there is a father-in-law who is a nice gentleman but could never go against his dominating and belligerent wife.

The writers had clearly etched these characters and had defined them exactly and till now 406 episodes past the characters are behaving exactly the same way as they are expected to behave a rare thing for TV serials.

The story centered around a chauvinistic husband who moved around with a King size ego gloating in his achievement, berating his wife at the drop of a hat and justifying his extramarital affair to his wife’s “illiteracy” as he often laments “बैठकर बातें तक नहीं कर सकता”  and equals her to a servant maid and tells her “तुम्हें तो सिर्फ खाना बनाना आता है यह काम तो मैं किसी नौकर से भी करवा सकता हूँ ” with supreme nonchalance. Looking at the father two of her three children think that their mother is fit for nothing and call her loser in the dining table conversation. Anupama cries internally but she has none to share her sorrows except her long last friend Devika and her entry into the house is also few and far between and of course, the mother-in-law fails not to taunt her also.

Anupama is a docile woman who is scared of ugly brawls and verbal duals to the extent that when Vanraj raises his voice against she goes into a panic attack. She has no time to think about herself and Vanraj sees to it that she does not have time for herself by belittling ever her small achievements. As she confides to her friend Devika उन्होंने मुझे ऐसा एहसास दिलाया कि मैं किसी भी काम के लायक ही नहीं हूँthis is a kind of silent abuse which many women fail to understand when it happens in their marriages. A man who lives with a woman can make or mar her completely by shaking her own confidence in herself which Vanraj does very tactfully.

Anupama’s character is created in such a way that we love her and at the same time be angry and irritated with her for being extremely kind and benevolent even to her rivals. She is basically a warm and humane person who is positive by nature and loves all human beings and prefers to see only the good things in others and prefers to forget their bad qualities. None can hate Anupama though she has certain inadequacies like she is not modern and outgoing and her English is always a problem मेरी अंग्रेजी बीमार ही है to Anuj. She is not modern in the sense she does not possess a figure which she can flaunt with pride in thin chiffon saris nor her face is her fortune but she is savvy.

 Brimming with positivity she is intrinsically good and it is her innate goodness and lovable nature that makes her instantly establish a connect whether it be people much elder to her or the gen-next. लोगों से रिश्ता बनाना और निभाना मैं तुमसे सीखूँगा अनुपमा says the business tycoon and her silent admirer Anuj Kapadia. She has in her an uncanny knack to build an instant rapport with anybody she meets and it is this simplicity that marks the character unique and demarcates her from others. She is too nice and kind to a fault that sometimes the audience feels angry with her. This anger for her is where the real success of the writer lies. The writer wants us to be angry with her because she is that patient, never utters a rude word against anybody, and tries to convince everybody. जरूरत से ज्यादा अच्छा और शराफत होना भी गलत है says her daughter in law but Anupama unconsciously does that because it is very simple she is like that. Why I am impatient and arrogant I have no answer so if you ask Anupama why she is so patient and sweet maybe she will say I don’t know as once GK asks किस मिट्टी की बनी है अनुपमा.  When we accept people with faults, why not accept a good human being who is filled with an overdose of goodness to a fault. We find it hard because we never come across anybody like that in our life. Anupama is the heroine and all heroines are larger than life only – it is because of Anupama the other characters like Vanraj, Ba, and Kavya shine; it is the eternal battle between the good and the bad.

Vanraj is the archetypal chauvinistic and feudalistic Indian middle-class man who cannot handle even the success he had got. The fact that he had built a five-bedroom house and is the provider of a comfortable life to his family makes him feel pompous and that is fanned by his mother who feels that his son has achieved the non-achievable. He is firmly convinced that he is the most handsome man and successful too and marrying Anupama is a favor that he had showered on her and he never misses even a single opportunity to pillory her for being अनपढ़ और गंवार and refuses to take her to office get-togethers as she stinks of masala (but he is an addict to her tasty food ). But we do understand that he has intentionally kept her under his thumb because maybe in his heart of heart he knows that Anupama is not all that idiotic as he has made her believe to be and feels that she does have native intelligence and so denies her even the slightest opportunity that comes her way. In one of the scenes, he tells Kavya अनुपमा भोली है बेवकूफ नहीं this is a clear testimony that he realizes the bitter truth that she is not a fool.

The next striking characteristic of Vanraj is he is utterly selfish – he loves none except himself. He “pretends” to be a “good son and a good father” as Anupama often says but we do understand even in their relationship the importance is only for himself.  Even in the drunken episode with Anuj Kapadia when the latter refers to Anupama’s marriage Vanraj says मैं ब्लू शेरवाणी में हाँट लग रहा था ना his self overtakes him even when his mind is not in his control. A megalomaniac that he is Anupama in her innocence further fans it by her remarks विनोद खन्ना जैसे हैंडसम दिखने वाले मुझसे शादी करने के लिए हाँ कह दिया यह मेरे लिए खुशी की बात है Vanraj elates over these statements and can never feel enough of them.

He considers and justifies his cheating on his wife for nine long years because he feels that he does not have mental compatibility with his wife who according to him is just a servant maid who cooks good food. But the big question can he tolerate a woman who could sit with him and talk to him on equal terms. No certainly not. As Anupama later on states आपको बराबरी से डर लगता है चाहे टक्कर आपको अनुपमा दे या अनुज and how true she is. He wants only yes men not equal. Even his girlfriend Kavya is anything but intelligent she is nowhere compared to Anupama’s native intelligence. She is just an ultra white beautifully decked-up doll who could speak English and that is the reason why Vanraj chose her for his physical needs.

In his relationship with Kavya, Vanraj is sure that she is just for प्यार, परिवार के लिए अनुपमा He has no respect for Kavya too and here pyar should be substituted with the word lust. Kavya is much younger than Vanraj and she is the perfect bed partner for a fifty-year-old Vanraj and he under no circumstances wants to give a name or social respect to his relationship with Kavya. Vanraj is shocked when Kavya insists on being his only wife and tries his level best to avoid divorce with Anupama and marriage with Kavya. But the two women remain adamant on their stand Anupama to divorce him and Kavya to marry him and this is the first big blow to Vanraj’s male ego. He tries all tricks with Anupama first showing his male power, then intimidating her by calling her mentally unstable, trying to please her that he has ‘fallen in love with her, and finally the day before the divorce even falls at her feet and says please don’t divorce me.

Kavya who claims to be intelligent is anything but intelligent. Just because she has an MBA degree and speaks English she lives in a delusion that she is intelligent. Life harshly teaches all its lessons but people like Kavya never learn anything from it. She has had a bad marriage but again in insisting on a marriage with a person like Vanraj, Kavya proves that she has not learned anything from her previous blows. Anupama herself tells once to Kavya तुम जिस आदमी से पागलों की तरह प्यार कर रही हो वो सिर्फ खुद से प्यार करते है Kavya does not have a family to bank on and it is understandable she feels jealous of Anupama since she is in a family. Kavya visits them on all special joyous occasions and finds a happy family of Anupama and she foolishly thinks that if she gets married to Vanraj all that happiness will become hers. She does not see that all this happiness is due to the hard work and toil of Anupama and her self-effacing sacrifice. If Kavya is shrewd she could have asked Vanraj to be the father of her child and made a family of her own where she could be the boss of the house. Instead, she wants to get into the shoes of Anupama and become the daughter-in-law of that house. She is not even intelligent enough to understand that having an affair and getting married to that man are two things poles apart. But she goes for it and is now paying for the wrong decision too.

Now to talk about Anuj Kapadia the character who has taken the nation by storm. He has become the rage of the nation and all women are now more worried for Anupama because only if she appears will their dear Anuj light up the screen. The character since the day marked its entry into the serial has been a phenomenal success unheard of in the history of Indian Television – the man who plays Anuj, Gaurav Khanna is humble and says all this love is for Anuj and not for me. He is the knight in the shining armor who has come to rescue the damsel in distress but the knight seems to have won a million hearts of women across the globe.

Anuj Kapadia is a man who is every woman’s dream – very handsome, very suave, super successful, and super-rich and most importantly he is exactly the opposite of Vanraj. If Vanraj treats women like dirt Anuj is chivalrous, believes in opening the door of his cabin not only for his love Anupama but also for Mrs. Shah who is a nobody to him. If Vanraj cannot handle even the small success in the big corporate world Anuj is cool about being a business tycoon, if Vanraj loves only himself Anuj loves even his domestic help and refers to him affectionately kaka and mummy if Vanraj thinks the women are merely made for men Anuj believes women are mortals too with hearts and feelings and respects, If Vanraj does not love anybody Anuj cherishes a one-sided love for Anupama. For him प्यार इज्जत से शुरू होकर इबादत में खत्म होता है, He is too much like Anupama, very grounded, the warm and nice human being who is never arrogant and uses measured words even when provoked and is never arrogant even under worst circumstances.

The mass hysteria that has erupted in support of the character Anuj Kapadia has made the makers themselves a little rattled because now they have to go by the dictates of what women want in social media. Before the arrival of Anuj on the scene, Anupama was suffering at the Shah house but after Anuj’s arrival people especially women “started feeling” more for Anupama, and the cry that Anupama should get out of that house reached such a crescendo that the makers have now made Anupama take the Big step to get out the of the house.

The character Anuj Kapadia has virtually given a fresh lease of life to the ‘finished story” of Anupama. The day Vanraj fell (literally he went down on his knees) and begged her not to give divorce itself the story of the serial Anupama had ended. The three months after that the makers were just extending with catfights between the two women was quite intriguing to watch – I was wondering what the makers have in their minds? They had a very big plan – it was a curveball thrown not only at Anupama but even at the audience.  The credit for the aura that Anuj Kapadia’s character has created goes to the writer as well as the artist Gaurav Khanna who had fit into the role so perfectly that we cannot imagine any other actor in his boots.

Now Anupama has come out of Shah house, in her style she has said Jai Shree Krishna which means goodbye – women all over the world want her to accept Anuj Kapadia’s love Will she or won’t she is the question that makes us all glued to the semi-big screen. Let us watch !!!

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