‘Oh, the older guy romancing the younger girl, it’s been done and dusted in the past’, ‘Sigh!!! Yet again, another show that promises to be unconventional like the 100 other shows on Television’, ‘Hero meets Heroine, first they will be at loggerheads and then they will fall in love. What’s new about that?” …. If your thoughts are such or even remotely similar then cast them aside, because Yeh Moh Moh Ke Dhaage (YMMKD) might truly be the ‘CHANGE’ Indian Television is looking for. Yes, we agree that it is too soon to tell because numerous shows in the past boasted about being different and never before seen on Indian Telly; but ultimately boiled down to the usual ‘been there-done that’ drama. Down the lane even YMMKD may take up the road most traveled; yet the first week episodes of the show changes your perspective and makes you think ‘Yeh show waqi alag ho sakta hai’.
Change is the only factor that is constant in life; and so there is no way to know whether or not YMMKD will remain true to the original concept that was marketed. But there are several reasons that strengthen ones belief that the show might actually be different. For starters the concept and story of YMMKD is by none other than Saba Mumtaz who is synonymous with the word ‘diverse’. ‘Dharti Ka Veer Yodha Prithviraj Chauhan’, ‘Dil Se Di Dua… Saubhagyavati Bhava?’, ‘Ek Boond Ishq’, ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai anyone??? A glance through her past works and you know that you’ll get something different and unique from her shows and YMMKD seems to follow the same trend.
The biggest challenge these days is to bring forth a story that is truly different. But no matter how different it truly is there will always be scenes or sequences, characters or at times even tracks that may remotely resemble something that has been seen before. Like for instance Ananya Khare’s character Rami in the show closely resembles to that of her previous role Mohini from Rang Rasiya (Colors)-a spiteful tongue, grey shaded antagonistic character with a shady background score something you will witness in YMMKD too. We all have that one relative (at times more) who cannot see you prosper in life or who will talk ill about you in the sweetest way possible and rub the bad memories in your face time and again. This person is no antagonist but the quintessential family member who is in your life even if you didn’t ask for them. Rasika Kaki of YMMKD is one such character. A loving papa-mummy or a sister who is like a daughter, a matured-older guy paired up with a much younger girl; there are many aspects of YMMKD that looks familiar YET the overall package and ‘feel’ of this desi-drama is appealing enough to give it a shot.
YMMKD which premiered on Tuesday introduced us to the lead protagonists Raidhan Raj Katara aks Mukhi – a character essayed effortlessly by the one of the finest, most talented actors of Indian Television Eijaz Khan; Arundhati Nanavat aka Aru essayed by Niyati Fatnani of D4 – Get Up and Dance (Channel V) fame. The lead protagonist’s entry is always one of the most anticipated scenes in any show and we have to say YMMKD did not disappoint one bit. Saying Eijaz Khan’s entry was visually appealing would be an understatement. Dressed in traditional Gujarati attire, riding a camel in the picturesque white salty desert aka the Rann of Kutch; Eijaz Khan’s entry as Mukhi exuded power, dignity and a rustic allure that is synonymous with a man of his status. It is evident that Eijaz Khan has absorbed the character of Mukhi down to a ‘T’ right from his body language to mannerisms to even the panache with which he delivers a dialogue and even emotes’ an expression. Four episodes down and you know that the casting of Mukhi is pitch perfect. Same goes for Niyati Fatnani who breathes life in to the character of Aru with ease. Though she comes across as a happy-go-lucky girl, Aru’s character does not give you the typical Indian Telly heroine wala vibe which is actually quite refreshing. Aru’s introductory scene; the very one where she is shown to race her way across the roof-tops and balconies of the houses in her locality, establishes her as a girl who chases her dreams of becoming a multi-millionaire just so that she can give her family a better more luxurious life. Niyati’s portrayal of Aru has a certain exuberance that lights up the screen making her apt for the role. Now that both the actors have slipped into their respective characters amazingly well, it’s only a matter of time before the story of this unconventional pair unfolds.
The events so far also give us a glimpse into the worlds of Mukhi and Aru. Mukhi is the sarpanch (village head) of Amboli and is loved and respected by the entire village. This is evident from how everyone was seen enthusiastically helping in the engagement preparations of Mukhi’s youngest sister in order to make it a grand and memorable event. Though the sarpanch of the village; Mukhi’s life revolves around his sisters. However, it is his youngest sister Mishri he dotes on the most. The brother-sister duo share a very warm, playful and emotional bond which is showcased amply in the show, but the depth of which can be witnessed during the engagement scene where Mishri blackmails her brother to call off her engagement if he does not agree to her condition of getting married. Mukhi’s dilemma is palpable as he tries to not give into Mishri’s condition but ultimately he is left with no choice but to comply. The engagement takes place without a hitch and everyone especially Mukhi and Mishri are happy but for very different reasons. While Mukhi is happy that his sister is engaged; Mishri’s happiness stems from the fact that her brother agreed has agreed to marry. This is quite evident from how she runs to hug her brother after the engagement rather than share eye-locks with her fiancé, which is how this scene would have played out in any other show. This moment defines the bond shared by Mukhi and Mishri and the fact that their happiness lies within each other. Mishri is like his daughter, who he has raised lovingly, cherishes above everything and would do anything for her happiness; while Mishri wants to make sure that there will be someone to take care of her brother after she leaves as she strongly believes that her brother needs someone to depend upon too. Knowing her brother well Mishri decides that the duo would go to Ahmedabad and visit Dulha-Dulhan.com who found Mishri’s fiancé. Once at Ahmedabad Mishri registers Mukhi’s name and other details with Dulha-Dulhan.com in the hopes of finding the right life partner for her brother.
Enter Arundhati Nanavat aka Aru who may come across as a career-driven girl but isn’t. What drives her are her father’s dreams, which she hopes of turning into reality one day. Aru dreams of becoming as rich as ‘The Ambanis’ and works with dedication and devotion towards achieving the same. She is a multi-tasker doing 4-5 jobs and in her own words with 200% commitment and hard-work. As fate would have it Aru, an employee at Dulha-Dulhan.com and one of the best Aru is given the task of finding a prospective bride for Mukhi, after Mishri requests that the smartest person at the office take up her brother’s case. Initially Aru refuses to work on Mukhi’s case but the idea of getting thrice the usual commission if successful motivates Aru to take up the challenge as it would bring her a step closer to fulfilling her parent’s dream of buying their own house. And thus starts the journey of two strikingly different personalities towards discovering love.
The concept of an older-mature guy and young girl falling in love isn’t new on Indian Telly but this might just be. Mukhi and Aru have a huge age gap (almost 20 years) between them but age is not the only factor that makes them an unconventional couple. It is the combination of factors such as difference in age, point of views, personalities and also the fact that one is 100% villager while the other is a city girl, that makes this pair interesting; and certainly it is this very difference that will bring about the TADKA like we love to call it, in this love-story. Week one saw Aru and Mukhi’s paths cross several times both knowingly and unknowingly. And though their first impressions ‘Dahfad’ and ‘Gawar’ weren’t exactly the best of beginnings, it was also not the same old routine where the hero-heroine’s very first meeting leads to instant hatred and contempt for each other.
What stood out in our hero-heroine’s first meeting was that though both the protagonists were at odds with each other, it wasn’t blown out of proportion and thank-heavens for that. The scene was more about highlighting how different Mukhi and Aru were from each other. Just like Mukhi couldn’t stand by and look as the tourists littered his village in his introductory scene, Aru too genuinely believed that somebody had left their dirty boots near the ashram littering the place and so threw it in the garbage like an ideal citizen. For a true Gujarati like Mukhi, Gandhiji’s Ashram was equivalent to a temple; therefore, he removes his boots and places them near the entrance before entering; but being born and brought up in the city, Aru failed to see this and acted according to her perception. Interestingly both Mukhi and Aru were right, it’s just that they failed to see each other’s point of view; which is expected since this was their first meet. What she did amused him and what he said irritated her and then they simply went their separate ways oblivious to the fact that their paths were going to cross soon.
One would expect to see Mukhi and Aru’s at loggerheads when they meet again considering how their first meeting went but pleasantly what you get is a glimpse of the light-hearted facet the show promises to deliver. After the initial shock, Aru is certain that she will be taken off Mukhi’s case because of how they left things at the ashram. But she vows to not give up without at least trying once. Mukhi on the other hand misunderstands Aru to be the prospective girl chosen by the agency who has come to meet him and admonishes her for the same. After some initial lapse in judgment, a sincere confrontation and a small miscommunication the week ends on a positive note with Aru finally takes up the task of finding the right life-partner for Mukhi.
Touted as a ballad to the concept of ‘unusual love’, a love that words would fail to describe, one that transcends the realm of established societal norms; YMMKD promises to deliver a tale of two people destined to fall in love with each other regardless of every factor that make them as different as apples and oranges. While there is a long time before the love-story actually kick-starts one can very well say that the team of YMMKD has successfully delivered two distinctly different and interesting characters; whose unusual love-story is expected to be every bit unique and interesting as the couple is. The show has it all a decent script, wonderful performances, excellent cinematography and good direction. The BG score is definitely a strong point and so is the overall light-hearted vibe that radiates thus far. One can only hope that YMMKD continue in this manner because like we said at the beginning this show may be the change Indian Telly needs.
Author: Vijitha Rajan