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07-10-2013, 03:15 AM #1
Review: Channel V's Gumrah (Season 3)
Programmes for the youth air on mainstream Hindi GECs too. The youth channels, however, cater more directly to youngsters as these channels unlike the regular ones do not hesitate to show something which may be accepted by the younger generation but may offend traditional elders. This is precisely why a socially relevant crime series like Gumrah which focuses on the crimes committed by teenagers and their consequences from the psychological point of view can run into the third season on a youth channel like Channel V.
The third season of Gumrah (A Lost Boy Productions and Balaji Telefilms) has launched with a bang on Channel V. Its impressive debut episode dealt with a rape crime which had been motivated by love instead of lust. Instead of showing the conventional gang of strangers comprising of gigantic, ugly and sinister male rapists laughing wickedly and crowding around a hapless girl who screams ‘bachao bachao’; it is a story in which some boys who look innocent and have no prior criminal record psyche one of their friends to outrage the modesty of the girl he is madly in love with. This is no revenge crime either. The naïve boys after listening to their Panchayat’s unfair, illogical and outdated decree that a rapist should marry his victim; advises their friend that the only way to marry the woman he is obsessed with is by raping her.
Often rape scenes are very raunchy on Indian television. Gumrah portrayed the same with great sensitivity with the clear message that rape for whatever reason is a serious crime which should be meted out with the strictest punishment.
General Hindi GECs are by and large pro-arranged marriage even to the extent that they show that a couple who hate one another may be married off with the assumption that love will definitely crop up after marriage to make it a happily ever after fairytale ending. To the contrary, it’s a progressive trend that at least on the youth channels it can be shown in episodes –like last Sunday’s of Gumrah (7 July 2013)– that parents are often wrong in compelling their child to marry someone they approve of but their offspring dislikes vehemently. Additionally this episode spread the message that barriers like caste, creed and religion should not come in between true love.
Host Karan Kundra like the erstwhile seasons communicates to the youth in a matter of fact albeit empathetic manner. The beautiful Chitrangada Singh also seems to try to do the same and had even mouthed the message that society at large was responsible for this heinous crime. However, her tone of voice and mode of delivery seemed to indicate that she was more outraged and judgmental than Karan. Taking into account that rape is the worst kind of atrocity against women, it is quite expected that any woman will abhor a crime like this though.
It has been very sensitively portrayed that the rape crime stemmed from ignorance, wrong judgment and harmful peer pressure. The youth were also alerted that a girl being friendly or agreeing to dance with a guy is no indication whatsoever that she has a romantic inkling for him. Unrequited love if not handled with the lover giving up may lead to a dreadful end.
The creatives have very artistically shown a young boy falling in a one-sided love with a teenage girl and his friends even calling her ‘bhabi’ when it is nothing but a dead end relationship. Initially, the girl was flattered when being wooed by the suitor. Later she ultimately snubbed him to the extent of shunning him as he was the harbinger of death- all of was portrayed very beautifully and realistically.
All the actors, especially the unrequited lover, have acted very well. The boys who planned the rape and the victim were however too good looking and well dressed to be simpleton village folks. We must remember though, that Channel V’s primary target audience, the modern urban youth, may not favour an episode with characters who are not good looking and are shabbily dressed which is why they may have had to take this cinematic liberty.
As far as the art direction is considered, the outdoor shots rendered the basic look of a village albeit on a very rudimentary level. The interiors of the college classroom were also minimally furnished which was realistic. A flaw we noticed was that cup cakes were available at the college canteen. It is highly unrealistic that this will be on the menu card of a college in an area where the Panchayat exists.
The cinematography blends in with the mood of a crime series. In the beginning of the debut episode there were a series of very impressive and symbolic shots of pretty artifacts displaying positive emotions which were demolished by negative emotions.
The episode concludes with young people from the aam janta chipping in their views on the social evils which gave rise to this crime which is professionally rounded off by a mental health professional speaking on this issue. Suggestions on how this crime could have been avoided were also narrated.
We hope that Gumrah runs into many successful seasons. After all, many parents are preachy and didactic while explaining codes of conduct to their kids. This crime series succeeds where many mothers and fathers fail as Gumrah communicates to the teenagers through a heart to heart chat…visually.