Film director Mahesh Bhatt is back but this time on the small screen with his latest offeringNaamkarann. The show premiered last night (September 12) on Star Plus and caught our attention for the way the narrative is told. It is laid bare simply and effectively, without any fancy props.
Naamkarann unfolds the tale of a 10-year old-girl Avni (Arsheen Namdar), who is upset with her father for the lack of his presence in the most important events of her life. Her mother, Asha, played byBarkha Bisht, adorns the garb of a married woman to evade society, even though she hasn't really taken the wedding vows with her lover Ashish Mehta (Viraf A. Patel). Expecting her second child now, Asha begins to face questions from her daughter about her identity. In the show, Ashish is shown to be a film director who is loyal to the three women in his life: his mother, his wife and Avni. Since he hides the truth of his family from his mother (Reema Lagoo), he continues to struggle in keeping up with the two worlds.
What we loved in the first episode: The fact that the story is progressive and a welcome break from the present content on television (which is mostly about naagins, daayans etc). It talks about an illegitimate child who seeks to know her identity. Just like a child would, she wonders why a woman's name needs to be attached to her husband or father. It also explores the complexities of a relationship without playing the victim, villain game. For a change, the lead actors don't overact. And the camera doesn't stop for too long on a single expression. Barkha and Viraf are simply brilliant. They look completely at ease with each other, which definitely makes the show look believable. Arsheen is convincing, though it remains to be seen if she'd be able to pull off her character without making it look artificial or fake. Reema Lagoo also returns to television after a long hiatus.
What we didn't like as much:
The show looks retro. And that is its biggest block. Avni calling her father from landline doesn't make sense, especially when even the 'not-so-privileged' class also carries a cellphone these days. Asha playing a song on a cassette player is outdated. Even though Reema Lagoo is back after a long break, her role is quite a repetition of what we have seen her in.
Naamkarann does look like a promising show, and going by the first episode, it seems that it might strike a chord with the audience in the long run. The show has replaced Diya Aur Baati Hum and will air, henceforth, on Star Plus every Monday to Friday at 9 PM.