Bitter slice of life

Showcasing reality

Bitter slice of life

Emotional drama:  A still from ‘Baba Aiso Varr Dhoondo’

The Indian television industry is silently but steadily breaking a number of myths prevalent in the entertainment industry. Something that its bigger and mightier counterpart could not do with films, despite being around for many more decades. The first and foremost being the fact that a heroine needs to be fair and gorgeous — if someone does not fit the bill, she is not qualified to play the lead role. The television industry debunked that myth with quite a few leading ladies — Rajashree Thakur, Parul Chauhan, — playing lead roles purely on the basis of their acting skills.

Socially relevant themes is another case in point. While parallel cinema has been in existence right from 50s, it was branded and kept aside as something that could not appeal to the masses. The television industry, to a great extent, could change that as well. Serials like Balika Vadhu, Laado, Agle Janam Mohe Betiyan Hi Kijo, Bhagyavidhata, among others have not only captured critics’ attention, but also garnered TRPs to keep them on air for a long time.

The latest myth to be broken by Indian television is to allow a dwarf to play the leading role in a new serial. We have seen a few films based on a similar theme, the most memorable being Appu Raja. But there is one major difference. While the story of this film revolved around a person who is a dwarf, the role was played by Kamal Hassan; not a dwarf in real life. In the case of Baba Aiso Varr Dhoondo on Imagine, the role is being played by a 20-year-old girl who is a dwarf in real life too.

This show is the story of Bharati — a talented young woman and a wonderful human being. She has everything going for her — a well-to-do family that loves and pampers her. Unfortunately, as she is a midget, she has to face ridicule and rejection wherever she goes. Like all other girls of her age, Bharati also longs for a man who will love her, despite her physical condition.  Juhi Aslam, a trained actress and a girl who suffers from the same physical condition that Bharati does, is essaying the role of the protagonist.

Juhi is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Science and hails from Shikohabad near Agra. She dreams of becoming a doctor one day and never thought she could become an actress because of her height. She was surprised when the casting coordinator from the show offered her a role. “The casting co-coordinator saw me in college and approached me. He wanted to know whether I would be interested in acting. For obvious reasons, I thought he was joking but when he was persistent, I asked him to speak to my parents.
That is how I bagged the role,” says Juhi. How did her parents react? “Initially my mother was a bit hesitant, but my father and grandfather were extremely positive about my decision,” explains the actress.

Says Raakesh Paswan, writer and producer of the show, “The biggest asset of this show is the simplicity with which the role of Bharati has been portrayed by Juhi. Her emotions come straight from her heart since she deals with such situations in her real life.” Adds Saurabh Tewari Head of Programming Fiction, Imagine, “It’s an extraordinary story that had to be told in an extraordinary manner. Bharati is a unique character to have appeared on TV. We’ve added a great amount of believability and credibility to the story by selecting Juhi who essays Bharati’s role. It’s a emotional, heart-wrenching and an entertaining drama that will infuse freshness into the TV scene.”

How did the thought of having a show with such a storyline come to his mind? Paswan shares the story behind the development of the serial. “I have been working on this concept for more than a year. Saurabh and I have already worked together in Bhagyavidhata.. and so when I approached him with this idea, he was very excited and asked me to move ahead with it. But the story really crystallised after I attended a marriage reception where I came across a lady in her 30s who was a dwarf. I could see the problems she faced.  He adds further, “It is funny how human height plays a role in development of a person’s psychology. Height leads to superior and inferior complex and I have tried to showcase all emotions a dwarf girl experiences, through this show.”

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