We were late. Brushing past the security, we rushed -almost galloped- to the screen in the cinema hall which was beaming the first two episodes of Meri Awaaz Hi Pehchaan Hai.
When we entered, we saw a sea of people (some sitting on the stairs), mostly stars and fraternity figures, anxiously waiting for the 70mm to light up. Light up with what one could say, not a television show, but an experience which tinkles your emotions.
The makers of the show invited us for a special screening and once we settled in with a bucket of popcorn, we were gripped. Light chatter and cursory glances & greetings gave way to absolute silence, with an undercurrent of revere and respect, once scenes started rolling on the screen.
The strongest and most powerful of relationship in Meri Awaaz is not that of any romantic entanglements: it’s about sister revelry and rivalry, brimming from their common passion towards music: the art form.
We must admit that the casting for this small screen extravaganza is of Aonian proportions. The finite series will map the journey of sisters Kalyani and Ketki over three generations, played by Jannat Zubair & Mehnaz Maan (young), Amrita Rao & Aditi Vasudev (grown up), Deepti Naval & Zarina Wahab (mature) respectively.
The towering list also includes Pallavi Joshi as the sisters’ mother, Bhanu Uday as father and Suhita Thatte as aaji (grandmother). The young kid Ayan Jain (Kanishk- brother) is awwdorable.
Rajaram (Bhanu) runs a rang sangeet (traditional Marathi classical musical) group, which has less takers given changing times. He is adarshwadi and ambitious, much to aaji’s chagrin as financial stringency impacts family prospects.
The first two episodes act good as exposition depicting the challenges of a family which is connected by the rhythmic notes of music.
Each character is well defined. The differences in personalities of the sisters are palpable. Kalyani is malleable while Ketki is ebullient and a free spirit. Both Jannat and Mehnaz beautifully blend into the scenes and exude confidence as performers. Both hold their own in front of veterans like Bhanu and Pallavi Joshi, much to their credit and dexterity.
Bhanu Uday enters into the skin of Rajaram effortlessly and plays his part with great gusto. He manages to convey the apt emotions of an artist, replete with contrasting sentiments.
Pallavi Joshi is a breath of fresh air. She looks in absolute control and emotes with poignancy. Indeed, great to have her back on screen. She is a powerful soul. Confident, strong in principles, yet has a calming effect which makes her look gullible.
But Suhita stands out in her performance. Her energy and acting finesse adds necessary gravity to the already profound plot.
Meri Awaaz plays the card of emotions with great effect. As an audience you connect immediately with a well-knitted family dealing with day to day challenges.
Dramatic insertions like Ayan having a hole in the heart while the family struggles to make ends meet, is a tried & tested tear jerker formula. However, the freshness of the treatment lends new appeal.
Scenes are well-written, some packed with drama. Your heart goes out to Rajaram when he gets slapped by a local goon for non payment of dues. One moment he is dancing, the very other he is distraught with shock & self disgust. Such is life, we say!!!
The setting is beautiful. You feel you are watching a real Marathi family. From costumes to transport buses, deep research is evident in terms of creating the right ambience and mood for the actors and the audience at large. Cinematography by Rajiv Singh is crisp and innovative.
The show’s DNA is music. Hence, a special mention for the original numbers by Shailesh Rao and Shivi Kashyap.
Director (and co producer) Kushal Zaveri shows maturity in handling the plot. The show is a clear aberration from the usual mode of filming and editing in television programming. It’s a pragmatic stand out from the naagins and chudails of the world.
The first two episodes caress our senses, a pertinent insinuation of forthcoming power packed performances.
The beginning is impressive, we can only hope that the flow, treatment and soul get maintained in the coming episodes, and a daayan is not introduced giving way to pressures of numbers (fingers crossed).
While moving out of the theatre, we saw a beaming Nivedita Basu (House of Originals) ushering in all the good wishes. We must say, she deserves all the adulation.
Thanks &TV for the wonderful gift of a show and to the makers (House of Originals and Trinity Motion Pictures)...keep up the good work!!!