While most daily soaps on television right now are talking about two women fighting over one man while he can’t decide for himself, Anupamaa on Star Plus is about a mother, wife, and daughter-in-law, going up against society by choosing herself.
Growing up in a typical Indian middle-class household, our daily entertainment was the same as everyone else’s – catch up on episodes of daily soaps that showcased a lot of drama, oops sorry, reality, in the name of reflecting society. So much so that it became difficult to identify whether we were getting inspired by these TV serials or them by us! Over the years, daily soaps across channels came and went; in spite of having different titles, they had the same narrative, multiple stories of all kinds of families with the bahu playing the same role – an obedient and sanskaari doormat. The more she tolerated, the more she was liked. Sounds too damn familiar, no?
Being an Indian woman, it’s terribly easy to relate to Anupama and her struggles, so much so that a lot of episodes end up feeling like a personal attack. Constant backlash about her shortcomings, not being allowed to work after marriage, being appointed as the in-house maid who works round the clock, unappreciated and unseen by her children and husband, punished with harsh words the few times she tries doing something solely for herself; the narrative of putting everyone before ourselves is so deeply ingrained in us that watching a mother, housewife, and daughter-in-law struggle with putting herself first for once feels liberating and anxiety-provoking at the same time.
Watch the trailer here!
Besides covering themes like dividing household chores between both genders, finding love at an old age, and choosing to live alone after divorce, this TV show makes you pause and truly see a mother for the individual she is and not just for the roles she plays throughout her life and this is depicted in scenes where Anupama’s children act out when she isn’t dedicating her entire life to them anymore. Their journey into acceptance has been portrayed rather well, even if it’s over-dramatized.
Rarely do we come across content on Indian television that talks about divorce and its aftermath for children, how coming from a broken home affects their relationships, difficulty in setting boundaries with family regardless of the damage they cause, and the guilt that follows when a woman tries to put herself first, even for a short while and Anupamaa covers all of this and so much more.
Besides coaxing society into leaving their baseless and orthodox thinking behind, Anupamaa also shows you what good parenting looks like. Supporting her son when he wants to pursue dancing, saying no to her kids sometimes without calling their needs stupid, helping them feel all their feelings, being there for them when they have their hearts broken, and standing by her daughter’s side, no questions asked, when she’s sexually harassed by a classmate; there’s so much to learn about parenting from this show!
Anupama’s relationship with her daughter-in-law is one you’d love to have with a mother figure. There’s understanding, kindness, compassion and so much love; disagreements are solved with conversations and coming to a middle ground. It’s hard not to be jealous of this onscreen depiction of the relationship between a saas and bahu.
Anupamaa isn’t drama-free in the least. A lot of the script feels unnecessary on most days, especially in scenes where the ex-husband and the ex-mother-in-law are involved. But it’s so brave to make a daily soap for the masses that breaks stereotypes in every single episode. Even if not in its entirety, Anupamaa is your story and mine.
P.S. Rupali Ganguly has done a spectacular job in her portrayal of Anupama Joshi! It’s so hard to believe that this is the same woman who played Monisha Sarabhai in Sarabhai VS Sarabhai, seriously!
Also Read: The queen of Indian television, Sakshi Tanwar has taken over the OTT space with Netflix’s Mai and the janta has only good things to say!
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