AS 2015 marks the 100th birth anniversary of the prolific writer Rajinder Singh Bedi, best known for his screenplays for Bimal Roy’s classic Madhumati and many of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s films, Zee Tv is all set to bring alive one of his short stories, Lajwanti. Set in the time of Partition, this is one of his most popular stories, and his granddaughter, television writer-producer Ila Bedi Datta, has adapted it for television show by the same title.
“It’s a homage to him,” says Bedi, who has been hailed as one of the most prominent 20th century progressive writers of Urdu fiction and is most noted for his chronicles of the great Indian Partition movement, penned a timeless love story in Lajwanti.
Starting September 28, Lajwanti is a story of separation and a twist of circumstances that question the sanctity of Lajwanti’s love and loyalty. It’s also one of shows that assures its makers will not run into thousands of episodes for three-four years.
“It’s a proper story with a finite end,” says its male lead Sid Kakkar, who essays the role of Sunderlal, a dry, humourless, arrogant man with quick temper, but a tender heart.
“He is a man of the 1940s era, who takes pride in the ownership of a woman till Lajwanti walks in and shakes him up, makes him question things and even makes him fall in love,” says Makkar, who was seen in films like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Straight, Turning 30, Luck By Chance, etc.
Almost like a Mills&Boons love affair, this one has him as the alpha male and Lajwanti, essayed by city-based Ankita Sharma as a wild-spirited girl. Her debut role, Sharma feels Lajwanti is close to her own personality. “She is a strong, fearless, multi-layered character who is not educated but is a wise person,” says a quiet Sharma, who walked in for the auditions and was finalised after a look test. Trained in semi-classical dance and Kathak, Sharma has been appearing in music videos and short Punjabi films such as Udeek and Sanjha Ghar and reality show Ticket to Bollywood on NDTV Prime.
On the other hand, Makkar, who has been active on the film and theatre circuit, signed up for the show only after Ila convinced him of the story, its well-fleshed out characters.
“I wasn’t serious initially and was rejected in the first audition till I was called back and convinced,” says Makkar, who had to work on his looks, and go back to the ‘middle parting of his hair’ like he did when he was a kid.
The show will be aired from Monday-Friday at 10.30 pm.