True Review



by Piroj Wadia February 11 2015, 3:34 pm Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 40 secs

What?s interesting on television is the presence of authentic firang actors playing firang roles. Earlier, Tom Alter was invariably cast as the foreign hand in Hindi films; sometimes Fr Richard Lane Smith too would be spotted in an occasional role. Gary Richardson too was often caught playing such roles. Ever since Life OK launched its mythological thriller Mahakumbh, one has been struck with the gaunt menacing presence of a guy called Greyerson, who seemed to lead the troops and mission to grab the elixir which will emergeat a particular Mahakumbh moment. The Americanactor Zachary Coffin has already earned his Bollywood stripes as an ATC officer in Baby and Mary Kom where he played a German boxing coach.
The other much noticed actor is Suzanne Berner, who is playing Queen Helena, Chandragupta Maurya's wife and daughter of Seleucus Nicatorin Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat. This German-born actress has worked in various Indian languages; and has acted in films like No Problem, Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. and television serials like 7 RCR and Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna Hai. She has set a record as the first foreign actor to feature in more than 14 major television shows in starring roles in Hindi and Marathi. Also, she is the first actress to ever have portrayed Sonia Gandhi on screen in a political drama.
Both Zachary Coffin and Suzanne Berner lend that much needed authenticity to Indian shows. It?s good to have a few suitable actors from across the ocean lending authenticity to our serials.
Currently, Mahakumbh is poised for a most thrilling sequence. Showcasing high end special effects, as Shivanand opens his laboratory and switches on his devices, by playing faintly familiar strains from a bhajan, and whoosh, we have images whirling and floating around to locate the seven Garudas, who collectively will be responsible for the emergence of theelixir. Outside Greyerson, his compatriots and Udiya Baba?s goons are hunting for Rudra and Shivanand; Rudra is with Shiva?s friend and confidante.
The writing team and the makers have ensured that the pace doesn?t lag at any point. Sure a few episodes get verbose. But by and large, the action sequences too keep popping up. Slated for 60 episodes, with about 10 or so episodes remaining, the show is getting into a cliffhanger mode. Mahakumbh is a nearperfect show. With its originality, its excellent production values and pitch perfect presentation, Mahakumbh is certainly 2015?s game changer.

Stories and documentaries about the sordid side of the film industry abound. In the 1990s Jill Misquitta?s Clap Trap drew attention to the junior artistes? fraternity; while Dilip Ghosh?s Children of the Silver Screen dealt with the moppets on screen and TV. Both documentaries were heart tugging as the junior artistes and the child actors spoke about their sordid lives.Last Friday?s episode of Code Red took the morbid tale further and made one sit up. Stories about child actors being exploited by their family have done their rounds; but here an avaricious mother forces her daughter Roshnito turn into Roshan, because the demand for boys was higher, and so was the payment. With help from a doctor, she medicates her daughter such that advances of puberty and growth are halted! Deprived of chocolates and other goodies, Roshan lives his mother?s screen dreams. She pushes the child into doing double shifts, pitches for awards and in short has killed Roshan?s childhood. The show?s friendly journalist trips upon Roshan aka Roshni, whilst researching a story on child actors and follows him. He unearths a heart tugging story.

An earlier episode dealt with substance abuse in school children,where a young boy afar being detoxed and going through rehab, comes home free from the menace. But succumbs to the temptation of one last one, which proves fatal. Performancerelated anxiety among school children, to please their parents and/or live the latter?s dreams or the impact of a divorce on a child has found their way into the plot line. The solvers to these issues are representatives of an NGO. These narratives end with an announcement of a helpline parents can reach out to. Pitching it spot in the middle of prime time, the dramatic element is lacking, hence the series could be given a miss.

However, this week primetime begins with the action packed Mahakumbh and ends on a festive note of Itna Karo Na Mujhe Pyar.

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