A television series called “Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha” (NBTNMKK for all future references) is a great favourite of mine these days. It, in fact is the reason I suddenly got down to business and started writing. Mohan, Megha, Nanhi, Guru, Shaadi, Pyaar- The words and names have been travelling with me for a while now. Time to put them down on paper (or up in cyber space?).
So here goes… NBTNMKK is my favourite viewing on TV today. It is a love story and I am HOPELESSLY addicted to them….specially ones where the chances of a happy ending are bright. So far, in this one they are. The show has been on air for 6 months and over a hundred episodes and I am deeply involved in the way the story and the protagonists lives are unfolding. Strong opinions on the story line, Megha’s attitude, Mohan’s sincerity, and Renu bhabhi’s snide remarks are being voiced and shared via social networking. I gnash my teeth when another suitor appeared; I bristled in indignation when Mohan is ignored. 100%, total, absolute involvement. It’s like I live in Juna Mohalla- much like Harry Potter visiting a Pensieve.
The series is Hrishikesh Mukherjee-esq in its treatment (in my lay person’s opinion). Think Golmaal, Chupke Chupke, Khubsoorat, Guddi- not absolutely off course but in several ways. In the simplicity of the narrative, real people, honest emotions. No garish sets, the language is simple and the look and feel is understated and realistic (the ladies are NOT competing with Christmas Trees!!!!).Even the music is soul stirring…..rare for a television show. The actors are consummate performers- from the seasoned to the debutante. Each one is so much the character they are playing, that is difficult to think of them otherwise.
For me, at the moment it is only Mohan and Megha’s love story.
Megha-a young Widow with two children (Nanhi and Addu), who lives with her in-laws in Indore. Her husband passed away in a mishap where a flyover collapsed due to sub-standard material being used. He was blamed for that and she has been fighting to get his name cleared. She is a dutiful daughter in-law and devoted mother and is somewhat misplaced in her efforts to do what is right and make her family happy. Deep down though, there is still the flicker of a lively, fun-loving, young woman who has stopped living for herself completely.
Portrayed realistically by Aakanksha Singh. Barely in her twenties and so immensely talented. Hailing from a theatre background, she emotes as Megha so effortlessly…as a loving mother, a caring daughter-in-law and a woman deeply in love but determined to do what is right. Her mixed emotions at Mohan’s impending engagement are a sight to watch and her confession of her love for him was symbolic-her always tied hair was free….like accepting that she loved him set her free- for just that moment.
Mohan-An honest, no-nonsense crime reporter. He works for the best news paper in Indore. Is a plain speaking, somewhat irreverent, matter of fact person with a deep rooted sense of justice and honesty. Below a cultivated gruff exterior, there lives a soft hearted, caring person who helps a school girl because he can’t see her crying her eyes out.His heart and his values are in the right place.
Kunal Karan Kapoor is masterly in his portrayal of Mohan. He enacts Mohan as the unlikely hero to the hilt. The tousled hair, the casual bearing, the untied shoelaces are a perfect foil for the starched and stiff Mirchi Madam. More often than not, it’s his eyes that do the emoting. Indulgent as Nanhi’s Spiderman, Menacing while beating up a street thug messing with “his Megha”, Mischievous as he spars with Renu bhabhi and oh so tender when they light upon Megha. He even hangs on to her handkerchief as a keepsake! As a crime reporter hunting down the drug mafia he is determined and matter of fact. With his mother he is loving and patient when he tries explaining his feelings for Megha. With Guru, he exchanges friendly natter but Guru’s importance in his life leaves us in no doubt. An actor par excellence. Very real, very believable. I’m sure a lot of young ladies are sub-consciously seeking their own Mohan out there.
They meet in true Bollywood/Mills and Boon style, on a fiery note. He calls her Mirchi Madam; he is the “lafanga patrakar” according to her family. They graduate to barely tolerating each other….as neighbours-no options there! Then sheer dislike on Megha’s part—after all he threw a spanner in the works towards proving her husband innocent. He eventually does get her husband justice – and rights a mistake he readily admits to having made. In fact he pretty much is her knight in shining armour-albeit on a motor cycle. Rescues her from the lascivious intentions of her boss for one! But as they hover around each other’s periphery they slowly become aware of each other. It is not love at first sight….rather at 20th sight…but oh so endearing as it blossoms. A glance across the road, a ride on his bike. Leaves a warm feeling around my heart. Like a bear hug from a loved one. Like walking on the beach, on a moonlit night, like rain drops falling on your face. There is camaraderie, they care deeply about each other, and yet it’s not pure mush…they argue, they fight. But inevitably the communication never ceases, never breaks down. At this stage in the show too, when Megha is determined to marry another man and go away and Mohan is just as determined that he will marry Megha and none other they still manage conversation and discussions. Maturely. Sans any shrieking hysterics.
This immensely lovable lead pair is amply supported by a stellar set of characters.
Nanhi-Megha’s 8 year old daughter. The story is as much about the bond Nanhi and Mohan share as it is about Megha. Cute without being sassy, older than her years or cheesy…Ashnoor Kaur plays a very sweet, very heart warming Nanhi. Their relationship is special in its acceptance and mutual liking and it shines through all the acting. Nanhi and her Spiderman (she calls him that because he responds to her SOS calls by shinning up pipes and jumping across the neighbour’s terraces. And of course he saves her world all the time!) are like a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night. Warm, sweet and comforting.
Guru- Mohan’s Major Domo. Can safely be called his best friend, philosopher and guide. A big champion for Mohan’s cause i.e. marriage to Megha. They share a strong bond of affection which is apparent through all the good natured ribbing and cribbing which goes on between them. Dushyant Uday Wagh acts his role out naturally and with great sincerity.
Bela/Jijji Bua– A warm smile and twinkling eyes which are so lovable. Played by Ms Madhuri Sanjeev, Jijji bua is Megha’s aunt-in-law. An admirable character who states and accepts her lot in life without becoming a martyr to it, though is determined that Mohan and Megha should find happiness together. Outstanding to not make her the pious, widowed, scheming Bua.
Papaji–Mr. Anjan Shrivastav in yet another stellar performance. His faith in Megha and his brave face to get on with life and do his best. A little hesitant, a little unsure, totally the quintessential middle class Papaji.
Ma, with her expressive eyes, her disapproving silences and her grief for her lost son. Ms Saroj Bhandiwdekar enacts this role of Megha’s mother-in- law with realism and dignity.
Addu—Vishal Bansal– cricket crazy and brattish.
Mrs Bhatnagar-Enacted by Neelu Kohli. Good at heart and loves her son. Despite their differences over his choice for a bride (someday!), they don’t scream at each other or break ties. He wants her to accept and understand and while she has still not been able to do so, she is still by her son’s side.
Several others have performed excellent cameos as well.
The story itself has a social message, which is fortunately not preached about in every other frame. Very much in the background and understood so much better with the empathetic and feisty Jijji’s thoughts, rather than endless sermonising. It is more about Mohan loving Megha and her widowed state not being any sort of a barrier for him.
It is about love. Honest, accepting, sometimes frustrating, all the time fulfilling Love.