Sony TV’s streak of presenting unconventional shows has been going strong and the same has continued with the latest presentation, Mere Dad Ki Dulhan. However, the show has been talks for another reason predominantly and that is the fact that it marks the comeback of TV veteran Shweta Tiwari to a daily soap. After having seen four episodes of the show, here’s what I think of it.
Straight off the bat, the show breaks several stereotypes right from frame one. It is easy to go wrong with such a concept which surrounds a widowed father, a young daughter, and a soon-to-be-entering-their-life middle-aged lady. That doesn’t happen with Mere Dad Ki Dulhan.
Coming to the base plot, even though the promos of the show were rather self-explanatory, it will take a while to reach that point where all these individuals collide. Nia (Anjali Tartari) is a successful, sweet, patient and loving girl who is at the peak of her career in life and has the opportunity of a lifetime to go to USA for work – she, however, has a major dilemma to deal with and that is having to leave her widowed, nagging, slightly annoying but immensely loving father, Amber Sharma (Varun Badola). What follows is the struggle of a daughter of choosing between her career-high or her father. This choice becomes all the more difficult as her father isn’t making this easy on her because he is struggling with his own feelings of not accepting that his daughter will be gone away and at the same time not actually willing to say it. Enters Guneet Sikka (Shweta Tiwari), who is a victim of a fraud that happened with her owing to being looted by a prospective partner on the dating application that Nia (and her company) has made. She has been cheated upon with Rs 18 lakhs and the man has run away but her struggles don’t end there as she has a nagging and tensed mother who doesn’t leave a chance to slam her daughter on how she is single at the age of 40. Guneet still loves her mother and in spite of suffering all the hardships in her life, she manages to sport a smile. With Guneet already having entered Nia’s life and the latter all set to go away to America, we know where the story will be progressing but having known the characters in these four episodes, it will be rather interesting to see how that happens.
Apart from the story and its treatment being immaculate and fabulous, it is the nuances of the show that make every minute of the show extremely endearing. From the little funny moments that Badola and Tartari share as a father and daughter who love each other but aren’t vocal about it to the little things that make such a massive impact- pretty much everything works. To elaborate on it, scenes where Nia gets happy that his father has finally allowed her to go to America, she hugs him tightly but being the quintessential old trout he is, he doesn’t like too much physical affection. One of the scenes which was an absolute winner and stole the show is when Guneet Sikka is being constantly battered and slammed by her mother about how can she be happy considering she is 40 and all alone in her life right now – Guneet has the perfect reply to that as she says she is happy because they have food to eat, a roof to stay under and her own mother. How mildly yet impactfully does this scene breaks the stereotypes related to middle-aged single women! Brilliant.
The Writing & The Performances
The biggest winner in the four episodes I have seen so far is the writing. The way the scenes have been written is another reminder of how Indian television can be progressive, impactful yet commercial at the same time if treated the right way. For instance, after the whole hullabaloo surrounding Nia’s going to America, when Amber finally agrees to it, you don’t see a predictable emotional moment of ‘jaa jeele apni zindagi’ type – instead, staying true to how Amber Sharma is, he indirectly gifts Nia a phone and says things about how they will communicate when she is away with the subtle joke of how he isn’t going to spend ISD money by calling her on call. This is brilliant writing. Even a small character like Ghanshyam, the tempo driver of Amber’s travel service is given a layer to portray. Rarely does this happen.
Coming to the performances, it is a shame yet a blessing that we see less of actors like Varun Badola and Shweta Tiwari on the small screen. As actors, they are probably amongst the best that the small screen has to offer. Badola is inch-perfect as the old trout who is stubborn, agoraphobic, unexpressive still immensely loving towards his daughter – and Tiwari is a natural. Every time she appears on the screen, she lights it up with a great command over her craft. This is a class of acting that Hindi TV deserves but doesn’t get too often. When we talk about Tartari, she isn’t quite a debutant per se having done a couple of acting projects before but is a debutant on Hindi TV. Matching up to Badola and Tiwari can be an uphill task but Tartari does it as well as one can imagine. In every scene, be it emotional, happy or tensed, she exhibits good performance and her scenes with Badola are absolutely fantastic.
Knowing the curse that Indian TV shows usually follow of how a great show in the first few episodes goes on to become a run-of-the-mill drama to cater to the ratings, I sincerely hope Mere Dad Ki Dulhan doesn’t become one of them. The show is probably the finest ones I have seen on the small screen in a long time and if (only if), it manages to hold the viewers with the same writing and performances, the show can be genuinely loved and remembered – not just keep running for years and years at the cost of quality
Rating - **** (4.5/5)