There has been no fight over the remote control since quite some time. My family sits in front of the television, has food and then everyone retires to their individual chores. The channel that runs in the background is often a Hindi news channel, if it’s a weekday. On weekends, dinner time is fixed with Comedy Nights with Kapil (CNWK) on Colors. The idiot box rarely does anything bright. But when it does, it does so in style.
The latest silver lining in the dark, grey chaotic clouds of glittery saas-bahu shows, is Ashutosh Gowariker’s ‘Everest’. The promos had me interested ever since the day I saw it first, which was nearly a month back. I was waiting for this with huge expectations, but then I also did that for Amitabh Bachhan’s ‘Yudh’. The latter TV series crashed all my hopes, and it went down the TRP drain too, possibly with the weight of the megastar in a complex-narrative. It was confusing and I started skipping the 10.30 pm appointment for the show.
Appointment viewing is still not a very popular trend in India. Maybe for a few popular shows people actually sit down to catch the show, otherwise the rest have mostly fleeting audience members who land up on the channel and content, just to go to the next. I prefer comedy shows on television. Apart from CNWK, I also follow Big Magic’s ‘Akbar Birbal’. It is actually very well written, and a surprise package. I miss a few episodes, catch up in the next week, and so on. But now I feel I should sit in front of the television right when the clock says 9.58 pm. Not kidding.
It’s not for a comedy show. All this excitement is for the new television drama ‘Everest’, produced by Ashutosh Gowariker. Gowariker’s movies such as Jodha Akbar, Swades and Lagaan gives us an idea of the kind of storytelling he does and the canvas he frames it all in. Debuting on the small screen with this show is also A.R.Rahman who’s composing for a TV show for the first time. Now tell me, wasn’t all this quite inviting to wait with wide eyes and ears?
After watching the first episode, I can say that my expectations were not misplaced. All the characters and storyline fall in the right place, without much explanation. It’s that simple.
The pilot episode starts with the mind-boggling visuals of Mount Everest. The show then goes back in time, three months. It then establishes the protagonist, Anjali Rawat, who’s the daughter, and also the only child of her parents. Her father is an army officer, and doesn’t think of her daughter in a high regard. He says to his wife that he wished for a boy, a son, and Anjali reminds him of his weakness and loss in life. Anjali has this constant fear of losing her stature in her father’s eyes, and wishes that someday he could be proud of her.
Then there’s a journalist boy, Akash Joshi, who’s trying to get a new job. He has a fear of heights as he lost one of his colleagues, and friend, after he fell from a high-rise building. The interview he goes for, in the pilot, sees the boss, Rajat Kapoor, assigning him a job to report and document a Mt. Everest climb. Akash gets numbd thinking about those heights, and moves out taking time to respond.
Everest takes a dual-plot strategy where it talks about the girl child issue, and the complexities in a family because the father wanted a son who could join the armed forces, like him. The short, 100-episode tele-movie is also about our inner fears and what we can do to overcome them. Both the protagonists have an inner-demon to fight and a goal to achieve. We all have been confronted by such impracticality of our dreams and the hardships in our efforts. The story looks promising.
This is my leap of faith. And with episodes also on weekends, the fight for the remote control is about to restart. That’ll be my Everest.