Channel: Star Plus
Timings: Mon-Sat 10 pm
In 1984, Bachendri Pal became the first Indian woman mountaineer to reach the summit of the Mount Everest. Another woman, Santosh Yadav became the first woman to scale the summit twice, in 1992 and ’93. A national volleyball player Arunima Sinha, is the first female amputee to make it to the world’s tallest peak in 2013. Star Plus’s latest offering is an ambitious show from acclaimed filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker that attempts to reach for the skies.
And this is the troubling part — it seems that more than the content, the channel is stuckon the ‘girl child, woman empowerment’ loop. There is nothing overtly wrong with it, but at some level, it messes with the entire storytelling. That Anjali Singh Rawat (Shamata Anchan) is considered a ‘liability, a blunder, a stumbling block, an unlucky event’ in her father Brigadier Jagat Singh Rawat’s (Manish Choudhary) life, comes across as cliched. And it turns into this rash when you realise it’s a man in uniform using uncomfortably harsh dialogues for his only child.
In all this, Anjali is even more determined to prove her father wrong and decides to scale the one thing her father couldn’t, Everest. Which brings us back to Bachendri Pal and Inc. It’s 2014, and one needs an educated, army father to acknowledge these mountaineers and give the go ahead to his little girl. But no, he puckers up and Anjali packs her bags for the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM).
On a parallel track, other characters are introduced with their own baggage. There is the jobless documentary maker Aakash Joshi who is carrying the guilt of a friend’s death; the celebrated mountaineer Arjun Sabharwal who has a mysterious past and the shrewd businessman Ramesh Roongta (Rajat Kapoor), the only one who can act in the entire serial, so far and the guy who sponsors Sabharwal’s Everest expedition. Then there is Colonel Abhyankar (an older Milind Gunaji), the NIM head.
Clearly, this is no Vertical Limit, and going by the first snow covered scene showing Anjali trekking on the mountain, the production quality is not spectacular.
Directed by Glenn Baretto and Ankush Mohla, this ‘telenovela’, has been written by Mitali Mahajan and Gowariker and Bhavani Iyer (episodic screenplay). With so many people on board, one expected miracles, but sadly, the show falls in the trappings of lethargic treatment. Even AR Rahman’s music sounds flat. Just let go Mr Gowariker, it’s time to scale up — give us something to boost our adrenaline, and sink our pick-axe into.