In my opinion, the Indian population can be broadly divided into three sections today: The first one comprises of religious hindus, people who literally believe in myths: They have no qualms imagining that somewhere from up there thousands of bejeweled attractive Gods and Goddesses with more than a dozen arms are keeping a watch on us.. Then there are people who don’t go for literal interpretations but consider these timeless legends as legacies left behind by learned and wise sages: lessons in life disguised in heavy allegory to instill attraction and fear in common man, to ensure that righteousness be followed out of respect and fear, if nothing else. The third section comprises of people who couldn’t care less about Indian mythology. They neither believe in these stories, nor care to see them as puzzles to solve. They hardly even know the existence of these elaborate legends.
You can only imagine the kind of heat an argument would generate if these three kinds of people sat together and decided to talk about mythology. If it was a dinner, the plates, there’s a good chance, would fly over heads, spluttering food in all directions, thrown in sheer frustration.
I would have gone ahead and predicted a mini war in this scenario if only I had not noticed a recent uniting force which miraculously fills the chasms of contradicting ideologies: I am talking about an interesting mythological series called “Devon ke Dev Mahadev, on the Hindu deity Shiva on Life Ok, which, curiously, enjoys a loyal viewership across all 3 sections of the masses. During our proposed hypothetical dinner, if DKDM is shown as a preventive measure, I have a hunch no plates will fly. All eyes, from the radicals to the non- believers, would be glued to the TV.
How has DKDM managed to achieve such a feat? How can one show capture imaginations of traditionalists, modernists, non believers and even atheists, all together? Well, I think it has to do with a very unique trait of DKDM: It doesn’t try to make a statement. It remains open to interpretations, catering to all sensibilities at the same time.
For a religious person, who believes that Shiva actually sits on Kailash in a human form in unending meditation, the series awakens extreme devotion. It matches up unimaginably to the grandeur of the vedic and puranic allegories. DKDM’s Mahadev actually delivers. If they had a way to video record shiva’s life and actions millions of years ago, it could easily have had the same effect on us as watching Mohit Raina playing Mahadev. He takes authentic representation of a character to a whole new level. Infact, not only him, all the actors match flawlessly to the pictures conjured up after reading the vedic descriptions. Therefore, for a devotee, DKDM has done the unimaginable: It has brought God live to him. So no wonder, he often finds his eyes tearing up in devotion seeing Mahadev in person.
Coming to the modernists, who don’t deny the importance of myths but would rather believe in a formless God and extract lessons from these stories, DKDM is a beautifully attired puzzle. Religious or not, who can resist the beauty of the casts and the sets? While keeping them engrossed with the heavy symbolism through veiled dialogues and meaningful motifs, an appropriate amount of philosophy or wisdom is meted out at regular intervals to keep their rational curiosity satisfied. It’s a delight to witness that through the allegoric display of a timeless legend, a fine thread of knowledge and wisdom has been woven subtly but strongly into DKDM. Lessons pertaining to human’s quest to find god, the birth and importance of Vedas and the importance of self realization: everything is being taught continuously to minds that want to learn.
The non hindus who have no reason to believe in hindu religious myths, and the atheists, who have no reason to believe in any religious myth whatsoever, are also equally hooked to the series. Yes it’s true. I have a Mahadev/Mohit fan club to prove it! For these people, DKDM provides thrilling entertainment. The show has all the ingredients of a pot boiler. An extremely attractive cast coupled with a passionate love story unfolding in the midst of exquisite scenery is more than you can ask for to deliver you from the boredom of routine life. The story offers to them a passionate chemistry; thrilling twists and turns and a promise of happily ever after.
So I rest my case hereby, proving to you, why DKDM deserves all the attention: The series is a wonder: Even though it is showcasing a religious legend, it is not stringent in its treatment. It is more like a painting which can be painted by the viewer’s eyes. And that is the secret of the success of Devon ke Dev Mahadev’s universal appeal. Much like Mahadev himself, the show is colossal yet humble, modern yet traditional, sexy yet sober and above all personal yet universal…
Har Har mahadev J