Zee had seen tremendous success with ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’, especially when the little Manu refused to grow up even as she continued to enthrall viewers with her dare-devilry, her sword fight sequences and her impressive turn as the little Rani Laxmibai who fought the British with charm and chutzpah.
We guess, the channel can’t have enough of ‘little protagonists’ taking centre-stage as their recently launched show, ‘Shobha Somnath Ki’ is also about a valiant girl, Shobha who fought enemies within Bharuch, her father’s kingdom and those (read Mahmood Ghazni who had his greedy eyes set on conquering the Somnath temple and thereby Bharuch) that invaded her motherland.
It’s like any other primetime serial with all the ingredients of drama, revenge and the age-old battle of the good versus evil, the only difference being little Shobha who aspires to rule her kingdom one day and banish all the enemies is dressed in all her ‘Rajkumari’ finery, finding her way amidst the politics (similar to the kitchen politics our primetime heroines are subjected to) of the people around her.
Shobha is a motherless child but has the childless queen (Gayatri Devi) looking after her as her own, a father who blames his daughter for the untimely death of his wife, a stepmother, Indumati who is ambitious and decidedly the vamp in the picture and her brother, Bhanuman who provides fodder to her evil plans and there is little prince Bheemdev, Shobha’s friend and someone she looks up to. There is also an evil tantrik with his eyes on the hapless, nubile girls of Bharuch who he wants to take under his wing as devdasis.
The show is based on the legend around the trials and travails of Shobha, an unsung heroine who defeated Ghazni with her shrewd bent of mind.
Since this historical has replaced ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’, we are sure the viewers are not missing much. Only the protagonists and the sets seem to have changed. It then mainly relies on the little Shobha (Ashnoor Kaur who had a role in Jhansi too) who cutely lisped lines like ‘Mai Bharuch ki raksha karoongi’, ‘Main dushmanon se mere desh ko bachaoongi’ etc.
We are sure, the channel will cash in on her cuteness for a little while before they let her grow up and take on the battle. In the meanwhile, just enjoy her interactions with her little pet, a rabbit called Tuk Tuk and her arguments with Dadda Chalukya, the king of Bharuch and Gayatri Devi’s husband.
On the plus side is the huge palace set (designed by Jayant Deshmukh). As for the performances, no one really impresses you, not even the ungainly Sadashiv Amrapurkar as the evil tantrik. He seems to be replaying his character of Maharani from the film Sadak, as he lustily looks at a woman’s bosom. Aargh…so much for primetime entertainment!
Also, something seems to be missing, despite all her poor little rich brave girl act, little Shobha fails to tug at your heart-strings.
If a piece of history is what interests you then this is for you, though don’t go in expecting much from it.
By: Kshama Rao