Forthcoming Star Jalsha series, Jai Kali Kalkatta Wali has a very exciting trailer.
A typical domesticated Bengali woman, probably upper caste, as most serials on Bengali TV are, all decked up in saree, sindur, gold jewelry doing sandhya aarati (Evening rituals) in front of Goddess Kaali. She is singing a Shyama sangeet, ‘Sakali tomari iccha ma, Icchamoyi Tara tumi (Everything is your will Mother, you are the willful Ma Tara)’.
Suddenly a little girl walks in with a newspaper in hand and exclaims, “Ma do you know, another bad person has been beaten up. He too used to beat his wife. Somebody battered and bruised and wrote the words ‘I beat my wife’ on forehead. Who is doing these beatings ma?”
The woman listens to her daughter, but without saying anything she turns back to Goddess’ idol and continues singing, “Tomar iccha tumi karo ma, loke bale kori aami (You do what your will is ma, people say its my doing),” casts a sharp look directly at the camera and ends with a devilish smile.
I found the trailer very powerful. I am strangely getting a lump in my throat as I write this. I find these sort of themes where women take to violence and vigilantism to fight patriarchy and are depicted as the feminist Goddess Kali, the destroyer, extremely soul stirring and goosebump inducing. Dealing with domestic violence on mainstream entertainment TV is a bold move by Star Jalsha. Though vigilantism is the last thing to be used to solve any problem, I don’t think any woman will take up arms after watching such shows. However I do believe in the power of popular culture to address social problems. Going by Star Jalsha’s history of issue based shows like Tomaya Amaye Mile and Ishti Kutum, they will soon lose the plot and turn the show into a regressive bullshit where two woman will bicker over one husband. Till then I am excited.
The lead character is played by National Award winning Ananya Chaterjee, who is a stunning actress who deserves way more. This is her return to TV after she played the leading female character in Zee Bangla’s Subarnalata, which was another feminist character based based upon Ashapurna Devi’s novel. Watch the trailer here