There are over 10,00,000 domestic workers in Mumbai alone whose day starts at the crack of dawn. They set about hurriedly cooking, cleaning, washing and packing tiffins for their men and children. This is a normal day for women everywhere, one might say! Except that these particular women have to repeat the same cleaning-washing-cooking routine at other people’s homes several times in a day. Yet, the ‘Bai’ remains, perhaps, the most taken-for-granted service provider of the household. Does it ever occur to us that even our own Bai has a right to hope, dream and aspire for a better future like the rest of us?
Premiering on 26 August, Zee TV’s new show Ek Mutthi Aasman gives viewers a reality check and an insider’s look into the world of Mumbai’s unsung heroes – the domestic workers. The show is an attempt to sensitize people towards the trials and tribulations as also the hopes and aspirations of this underprivileged yet constantly struggling lot!
Actor Shilpa Shirodkar, who enjoyed immense popularity in the 90s with hit films like Mrityudand, Khuda Gawah, Hum, Aankhen and Gopi Kishan, bid adieu to stardom and walked to the altar with UK-based merchant banker in 2000. Having played wife and mom for over a decade now, Shilpa returns to her first love – acting, with Ek Mutthi Aasman where she plays the lead protagonist Kamla Bai.
Ek Mutthi Aasman is about making a new beginning. Kamla Bai’s character, through her own journey of hope, will set an example for millions of domestic workers to follow – where they will begin to believe in their own strengths, see a dream, set goals for themselves and work towards a better future. In a way, Kamla Bai’s character proudly declares, “Shuruaat Toh Mujhse Hi Hogi!”
The plot of the show centers around Kamla Bai who works as a housemaid in the affluent Kapoor household. She delivers her own child Kalpana at the same time when the Kapoor khandan bahu delivers her daughter Pooki. The show captures Kamla’s journey of putting her own maternal responsibilities towards Kalpana on the back-burner in order to double up as a mother for Pooki. What develops over the years is a tender bond of motherly affection between Kamla Bai and Pooki even as her heart longs to be with her own daughter Kalpana, for whose education, bright future and every happiness Kamla works so hard at the Kapoor household.
Also making a comeback to television after a long hiatus is actor Ashish Chowdhry who will enter the show as Vikramaditya Scindia, a 30 year old suave, shrewd, sharp-talking advertising agency head. Young Pooki and Kalpana will join him as interns. As a mentor, he will be the man to motivate Kalpana to scale her fullest potential. An interesting work dynamic will develop in the office between the trio wherein he will encourage Kalpana to stop seeing herself as subservient to Pooki just because her mother serves as a housemaid in Pooki’s house.
Child actor Mehnaz Mann who wowed the audience with her power-packed performances on Zee TV’s acting talent hunt show for kids, India’s Best Dramebaaz has bagged the role of young Kalpana, Kamla Bai’s daughter.
Ajay Bhalwankar, Head-Content, Hindi GECs, ZEEL said, “Domestic workers devote their own lives to relentless toil so that their children can grow up enjoying the fruits of education and live life with dignity in the future. Unfortunately, many of us turn a blind eye towards the hard reality surrounding the lives of our house-help and take them for granted despite their invaluable contribution to our homes. Ek Mutthi Aasman is the story of one such domestic worker and how she sets out to make a difference. It talks of the class divide that exists in Indian society and the struggle between the haves and the have-nots. It’s an attempt to present the reality of domestic workers and get more and more people to adopt the right, sensitive approach towards them.”
The show is produced by DJ’s A Creative Unit with whom Zee TV goes back a long way and has together produced successes such as Banegi Apni Baat and Choti Bahu.
In order to amplify the message of the show, Zee TV recently organized panel discussions across the country where social workers involved with the upliftment and support of domestic workers were given a platform to express their views. Domestic workers who have been successful in educating their children and single-handedly providing for large families were felicitated for their ‘never say die’ spirit!
The show will air every Monday to Friday at 7pm.