In one of my plays, RIKAMA RANGMANCH (An empty stage) yet to be staged, I created a character of grandmother who does not like to play with her grand children. She is one of those who do not look beyond themselves. She wants more milk with more sugar and more cream. She does not hate anyone or scheme against her daughter-in-law. She is just self-obsessed. She has never learnt to give in life…
I would never love such a grand mother, but I love her as a character…
A similar character in my life is NANI of UTTARAN. I have been struggling to give her some shape and make her as real as possible. More often it did not happen. But when I was recently writing a crucial scene, yet to be aired, I started thinking about her.
I went back to the scenes which we had created in the past 3 / 4 months. It was like a puzzle to put things together and I could see her more clearly.. Four of us were giving her attributes and attitudes...
Sharing with you Nani, ably portrayed by a veteran actor, Pratima Kazmi.
We have seen her son Pushkar scheming, lying and cheating. He is dishonest to the chore. Where does it come from?
And why is Pushkar like that?
To me, Pushkar is just an extension of Nani. Nani has never tried to find the reasons of failures of Pushkar but on the other hand she always tried to cover up things. She tries to do the same for Tapasya, but Jogi being a better parent does not allow her to do it. Truth, values, honesty has no place in Nani’s life.
One question that haunts me is: Does she love anybody?
And my answer is “No.” Remember I am talking about a character we have seen on TV. Had there been a little bit of love in her, she would have helped the person she loved. She did not take responsibility of her son. She never tried to change his behavior. She never gives Tapasya what a loving grandmother gives. It’s not toys but something much bigger and better. She is such a person that if she loves someone, the person will be destroyed completely. He/ she will also shut the windows towards the world and live in an imaginary world full of enemies. (Divya was influenced by her for a long time and was on the same path. Luckily she has a support of a husband like Jogi Thakur.)
Did she share the lottery thing with either son or daughter-in-law?
No. She did not tell Divya also. That means she is lalchi to the core.
The transaction analysis says that we are scripted in childhood and continue to behave in the same manner even when grow up. It’s very difficult to wipe out parental impressions.
Let’s look at Pushkar’s relationship with his wife. If honesty, integrity, trust and caring are the criteria Pushkar gets 0/10. Rohini on the other hand is far better a person. Though on surface she looks stupid. For her Pushkar is her world. For Pushkar neither his mother nor his wife… !! He lives for himself. Where does it come from? His mother!! A selfish, self-centered person. She might not be negative. But her actions lead to only negative results.
Let’s compare her with Jogi as a parent. Since Jogi is the provider, and he has ample to provide, he is never scared of loosing things. He can be cheated but that will not stop him from being good to others. Because he believes in goodness of human being and knows how to punish if someone tries to exploit him/ his feelings. He has never allowed Divya or Tapasya to emotionally exploit him. He reasons out the things.
Now the last question:
Why does nani hate Damini so much?
Why is so angry with Ichchha?
I assume that Nani belonged to a poor family. All her life she has not seen prosperity but has not accepted this fact. She has been dreaming of living in haveli and ruling people. She might have been humiliated, insulted by her in-laws. And she might have learnt a lesson to survive. Attack is better than defence. Revenge is better than forgivingness. So when she sees Damini and Ichchha getting a better life, all her pain comes back to her. And she wants to take revenge. She wants to destroy. She cannot believe that others are trustworthy because she herself is not.
When we see so many flaws in her personality, we also should understand, deep down there is pain and suffering. And Nani has never dealt with it. A day will come when she will cry like a 5 year old girl, who could do nothing when all her toys were broken by unruly brothers. On the contrary she was the one who was beaten by her parents for no fault of hers. She will be another Ichchha in some other haveli.
If this child comes out someday, Nani’s character will be complete.
AND WE WILL LIKE NANI AS MUCH AS WE LIKE ICHCHHA OR DAMINI.
Aaj itna hi!!