Monday to Friday, 7.00 pm, Zee TV
Cast: Mitali Nag, Kinshuk Mahajan
Afsar Bitiya is watchable because it’s about a girl’s right to study and follow her dreams
Zee more often than not gets it right in capturing the essence of the other India. It’s a different thing that stories which start off with a great premise (remember Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo?) lose steam mid-way as they digress largely from their starting point. We guess, that’s how prime-time soaps function, characters get changed and stories get re-written to suit the ratings. And we are sure that will happen with the channel’s latest prime-time heroine, Afsar Bitiya too. Nitpicking apart, the show has started off on a promising note as the lead protagonist, Krishna Raj in her simple salwar kameez, chapped lips and dreams of becoming a sarkari afsar, is a welcome sight. She’s a beautiful departure from prime-time heroines dressed like Christmas trees. She is honest, likes to follow rules (we loved the scene where she refuses to take a lift from a boy riding a bike, saying ‘Tum helmet nahin pehente’) and is one determined girl.
She’s a simple girl who dreams of becoming a government officer, a dream that her late grandmother wanted her son (Virendra Saxena) to realise but unfortunately that didn’t happen. So now he wants his daughter to achieve that goal. However, the road to success is always paved with thorns. In this case, it’s Krishna’s mother who thinks that education is a waste as they hail from a lower-middle class family and have to take care of five children.
The story so far: Krishna has cleared her preliminary examinations and has just a week to appear for her main papers. She is unable to arrange for ` 2000 to buy a set of question papers that will help her prepare for the exams; her father can’t afford them and her fellow students won’t help her. Meanwhile, her cousin sister has cleared the exams and aims to be an afsar as well. She is the villain of the piece. Her greedy parents envy Krishna’s single mindedness. At the time of writing, Krishna’s chacha has got a rishta for her elder sister Swati and a marriage deal their mother can’t refuse. He says Swati would get to marry the boy while Krishna could marry his elder widower brother.
It’s a dilemma most educated girls go through, where they have to compromise on their dreams for matrimony. Whether the makers will domesticate Krishna or let her don the sarkari uniform remains to be seen.
The show is set in Bhagalpur, Bihar and the makers have got the dialect and flavour right. The performances add to the show. Mitali Nag as Krishna is impressive. The rest of the cast —Virendra Saxena, her mother, her sisters, especially the younger one, her professor Babloo Singh and his aawara brother, Kinshuk Mahajan as Pintu Singh — support ably.
Last but not the least, Afsar Bitiya is watchable because it’s about a girl’s right to study and follow her dreams. Give it a try.
Verdict: A must-watch.
By: Kshama Rao