The Indian television has been virtually disappointing over the years. Although the industry churns out an unfathomable number of series and programs every season, they fail to impress. The reasons are obvious: We are plagued incessantly with regressive serials in the name of uplifting society and its values. The fact is we are getting tired of the expensive saree clad soft spoken tolerant women who sacrifice all their rights and suffer continuously to showcase their “indian” strength of character. We have had enough of the family drama.
The Indian appetite is growing in terms of television entertainment. We definitely need to connect to our cultural roots but we need to do it the new way. The showcasing has to be as dynamic as our heritage. In this light, Devon ke Dev Mahadev on Life OK is a fresh gust of wind as it brings hope that finally the television industry is waking up to authentic creativity. The series has succeeded in bringing back harsh TV critics like me to television.
Man’s fascination with myth is not new. But that’s not what makes this series so beloved among young and old audience alike. At least a dozen mythical shows go on air all week: they don’t garner the kind of attention DKDM gets. The show’s appeal lies in its presentation and cast.
Welcome to the world’s first love story. Every Indian grows up listening to the story of the mighty Sati jumping into the yajna fire for the honour of her husband. We all know how Shiva danced the dance of destruction carrying Sati’s burnt body and had to be appeased to prevent the end of the world. The story has been retold a million times and has been depicted on the screen many a times. So what’s new in DKDM?
Oh there is. Up until now, we all heard Sati’s story with reverence. We kept Shiva and Sati on a pedestal and were so overwhelmed by the divine nature of the myth, that we didn’t seek to know how it felt to be a part of the story. It was okay not to identify, after it was a God’s story and we are not supposed to identify with Gods..
DKDM has changed all that. When you watch their story here, you forget that it comes from scriptures. You identify with them, you feel for them and it makes you want to be them.
Modern women identify with DKDM’s Sati because she is not over burdened with piousness, which is generally heaped upon mythological women in copious amounts in our culture. You see the confidence and steadfastness in Sati, lacked by many modern women. She is headstrong. She has no qualms about pursuing Shiv when she is being opposed by everyone, including Shiv. She does not wait to be proposed just because she is a girl and she does not let anyone else decide for her. When she is in love, she does not hide it with a shy smile; she brazenly declares it with a sensuous dance. Sati is a fighter and she makes you want to fight for her. Her faults are humane. She is proud and haughty. When she is made aware of her importance in Shiv’s life, she revels in her ego. She has problems but she is in love, just like every other woman on earth.
It is a daring feat casting Mahadev on screen. It is almost unfair to expect from any actor to play Shiv and do justice to it. The myths describe him as someone unimaginably handsome and powerful yet innocent and vulnerable. He is the master of dance, music, yoga, sex, language and what not. His anger is feared by gods and demons alike. His love is sought by heaven and earth alike. In short, it is impossible to depict him in all his glory.
And it is here that DKDM has achieved the impossible. The major strength of the show lies in the depiction of Shiva. This on screen Shiva is as good as it gets. It is not an exaggeration to say that DKDM’s Shiva makes you forget that you are watching an actor playing Mahadev, and not Mahadev himself. His eyes mirror both powerful wrath and extreme tenderness with mastery. His persona oozes power even when he has nothing to say. And when he has things to say, well, you just listen to it entranced, believing that Shiva is speaking to you.
So here we are, we have two characters that are strong yet lifelike. Very easy to believe in and identify with. The protagonists shine brilliantly through an extra ordinary chemistry. The pining Sati is extremely appealing when she defiantly questions Shiv on his rejection and the silent Shiv tears your heart with his vulnerable silence, for he alone knows that only pain and hurt will come out of their re union.
Every single role in this epic story has been played to its full glory.
The unique representation of this immortal love story has been further embellished with soul stirring music. The background music and the song sequences are a blessing to the ears. It touches the heart in a most extraordinary way and leaves you wanting to pray for the rest of your life. The song sequence where Shiv comes out to sing for the sake of bringing the unconscious rag-raginis back to life and unknowingly hypnotises Sati will remain an epic sequence for years to come.
But like all other great beginnings, the series faces a challenge to maintain the high bench mark it has set for itself throughout. It has succeeded in doing so till now and has kept us glued to the TV screen. The run time has been a subject of displeasure as it occupies only a fifteen minute slot (excluding the break) on the channel. The recap episode on Friday is an unwelcome interruption in the flow of the story.
Definitely, the entire DKDM team deserves applause for delivering an almost perfect master piece in the genre of mythological series after a really really long time. The cinematography is excellent. The creativity is surprising. This new way of representing the oldest and the most famous love story in the world brings a surge of hope for the genre and the T.V industry in general. And in the majority of households, at eight o clock every day, it brings fantasy, love and devotion, all together, and inspires many a hearts.