The current lineup of Colors is a good blend of shows, and amidst all this, to have an entirely out-of-the-box and niche show coming in with a trickier subject is indeed a brave step in itself. That is what the channel’s latest offering, Pinjara Khoobsurti Ka is. Having seen the premiere episode, here’s what I thought of it.
The story speedrockets from the protagonist Mayura’s (Riya Sharma) pre-birth, birth to adulthood in one episode and it manages to showcase a journey in its entirety in one episode itself. We have seen multiple shows, films and other forms of presentations that talk about the unfortunate plight of women with color in India and otherwise; this show is exploring the take from the other side. Where we see shows and films targeting and playing with the viewer’s emotions by having an emotional centre, it is classified into several things – the best example being consumerism with the Toy Story franchise.
That is what one might think watching Pinjara, however, it certainly isn’t. Several moments in the first episode feel like they have been placed to overtly justify their concept but while it seems overwhelming, the need seems genuine. The situations shown in Pinjara which Mayura being the conventionally beautiful woman faces are indeed real. They aren’t just fictionalized and overly exaggerated to prove the point where such women do go through these instances more often than not.
To not forget about the actual, and probably more prevalent side in India that is that of women of color; the show has the protagonist’s sister, played by Akanksha Pal. Her plight of being dusky-skinned and the constant flak she faces for the same by her own grandmother apart from the society is usually more relatable.
What Pinjara does beautifully is encompassing both worlds and managing to do justice to the same. Not having seen the situations and hardships that a conventionally beautiful woman faces, you might feel a tad dissociated in the few early minutes but the moment her sister’s breakdown scene comes, you relate and understand to both these worlds. Amidst all this, you cannot help but feel for both these girls and constantly feel infuriated in the times we are living in, even in 2020. One character aptly puts it, ‘jis desh mein aurat hona hi ek saza hai, vaha khoobsurat aurat hona iske liye pinjara na ban jaaye.’ Indeed, being a woman in this world is a task in itself, all the more in a country like ours.
These moments are elevated better owing to the applaudable performances by the leading and supporting cast. As the sterotypical but loving grandmother, Uma Basu, as the progressive and loving father, Iqbal Azad and as the troubled, and stereotyped but sweet sister, Akanksha Pal put in good work. But it is the obvious conventional on-screen beauty of the protagonist Riya Sharma aka Mayura, along with her endearing vulnerability that keeps the show going constantly.
For as progressive as the show poses to be, there are two things that I felt were faltering. One is being all so literal about making a point. Sometimes subtlety is the best way to convey something especially if you have the option of making a show/film. But Indian TV shows never seem to have or follow that where every point is made quite too literally, at times with characters explaining what is going on and at times with junior artists mouthing it just to remind the viewer, ‘watch this, this is important.’ Apart from that, another complaint I had with this first episode is bombardment. In a mere one episode, the show paced so fast that it literally showed us every possible point that it would profess to make. This would have still been okay if we knew that it is a limited series but as we know that it is not one, the pacing of the first episode was indeed too fast to keep up.
Powered with a fantastic and progressive premise, Pinjara Khoobsurti Ka does manage to do justice to its ideation more often than not but it gets too overwhelming too early for even a quintessential viewer to keep up.
Rating - *** (3/5)