What all has happened since my previous post on this series? Well, how Rama gets adjusted to the life in her husband's family has been shown in great detail. It is a large clan with guests dropping by and staying on for years. The generous patriarch (Madhav's father) has taken it upon himself to help his extended family. As a result, the family keeps growing and so does the financial burden on it; but he does not think twice before taking loans to get by.
Madhav earns well as a judge and he tries to lighten the load on his father as much as he can. He has utmost respect for his father and is always careful not to hurt his feelings in any way. The father loves his son too. But the only matter on which they don't see eye to eye is Madhav's progressive thinking and his reformist activities. The old man wants to stick to his orthodox ways. He might have tolerated his son's new-fangled behaviour, had it stayed outside the threshold of his house. But when he sees the winds of change blowing inside his home in the form of Madhav's insistence on educating Rama at any cost, he cannot cope with it. The emotional conflict between the father and son has been portrayed vividly.
It is against this backdrop that Rama is growing up. She is committed to fulfill her husband's wish and tries her best to comply with it. In turn, she has to face strong opposition from the ladies in the family for spending time with books instead of helping them in the kitchen. They express their disapproval in various ways, from sarcastic taunts to stern reprimands to severe threats. This has been shown many times over at the cost of being repetitive. It was at times like these that one felt the charm of the series wearing off, its grip on its audiences loosening somewhat. I think even all those who loved little Rama will agree that her childhood was stretched a bit too far by the makers.
The young woman who has bagged the coveted role of the grown-up Ramabai is trying to emulate the young Rama with faithful reproductions of her mannerisms, but it will take her some time to get under the skin of the character. She seems to be lacking the spontaneity and the effervescence of her predecessor. But with time, it is possible that she will grow on the viewers and become the face of the adult Ramabai.
Rama is an intelligent and sensitive person. She is troubled by the plight of women around her. She has been a witness to the hardships faced by widows in her family right from her early days. She is moved when she learns about the difficult and abusive in-laws of her childhood friend. She is scared when she sees a teenage mother-to-be die an untimely death as a result of complications in her pregnancy. She is saddened when her mother-in-law confides in her in a weak moment about how the older lady was supposed to obey her husband all the time, and how she was not to have any identity or opinion of her own. All these leave a deep impact on her, paving way for her commitment to work for the betterment of women. Of course, it helps to have a husband like Mahadev Govind Ranade who insists on being a friend, not pati parameshwar.
In spite of some blemishes (loud characters like Subhadrakaku, slow pace in Rama's childhood and repetitive events),this series has good potential. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds in the days to come.
You may read my previous post on this series here.