Show Title: Devanshi
Timings: Monday to Friday 7 pm
Devanshi is yet another show on Colors that deals with superstition and blind faith. However, this particular show attempts at breaking myths than using it to sell it like hot cakes. In the first episode, I got a glimpse of a controversial self-proclaimed God-woman who was in news last year for a lot of reasons. I guess the show is taking cues from real-life scamsters who thrive on innocent people’s faith and beliefs. The show is about a girl named Devanshi who has taken birth to fight against the fake Devis, Matas, and Babas that plague our society. The concept of good versus evil always works with viewers. Devanshi’s plot is something to be reckoned with because it is likely to delve into some hidden secrets of fake Godmen.
Let’s have a look at the written update of its first episode and try to determine if it manages to generate curiosity.
The story is setup in Jwalapuri, Haryana. The show starts with the sound of conch shells and temple bells with hordes of devotees standing outside a temple chanting ‘Ghungaroowaali maiyya ki jai’ followed by ‘Kusumsundari mata ki jai’. A young couple in the crowd has come to the temple with their new-born baby. The husband (Mazher Sayed) asks his wife Gayatri (Preeti Chaudhary) to have some water since she has been walking in the sun for too long. Gayatri refuses saying that Ghungaroowaali maa has blessed them with a baby and that she will not have anything until she takes the darshan (catch a glimpse) of Maa Kusumsundari who has been instrumental in blessing her with a daughter.
Just then a palanquin arrives and the crowd gets excited. A group of women scornfully look at a girl who seemingly has leprosy and is covering her face and body to avoid people’s attention. The women deride her for coming there and putting other people at risk of contracting the disease. The girl dejectedly covers her face with dupatta but continues standing there with her family.
A man opens the curtains of the palanquin only to find it empty. Maa Kusumsundari is not sitting in the palanquin. Instead, she is rolling on the carpet laid before the steps to the temple. People are shocked to see Maa Kusumsundari (Karuna Pandey) roll in dust and are convinced that she is undergoing such hardship only for the sake of her devotees and that she is bound to show some miracle today. Women notice that her closest aide Mohini, a woman who always covers her face with a ghoonghat (veil), is always one-step behind Maa Kusumsundari.
Maa Kusumsundari stands up and beckons the girl suffering from leprosy to come closer to her. People are worried that the girl’s proximity might pass on the disease to Maa Kusumsundari. Maa Kusumsundari unflinchingly holds the girl in an embrace, covering her with her shawl. As soon as she takes the shawl off the girl, she astonishingly is ridden of her skin sores, erasing any trace of the disease. Devotees are overwhelmed with the miracle and start chanting Maa Kusumsundari’s name with greater vigour. Maa Kusumsundari then sits in her palanquin and is taken inside the temple.
In the temple, people are pushing and shoving each other to make an offering to Ghungaroowali maiyya. Devotees are throwing ornaments, jewels, and cash in the holy hundi as offerings, when a man accidently drops his gold watch in the hundi. He tries to retrieve it but the volunteer Omi (Pankaj Vatia) stops him from doing so, He tells the man that anything once dropped into the hundi can never be taken back.
Somewhere in the temple, Maa Kusumsundari is relaxing in a bath tub, full of rose petals, with women massaging her head. The women at Maa Kusumsundari’s service leave as soon as Mohini enters the room. Mohini then enters the bathtub and takes off her ghoonghat and we see that Mohini is actually a man dressed up as a woman. Maa Kusumsundari sprawls across Mohini’s (Aamir Dalvi) chest and complains that the leprosy girl act today was dangerous considering her over-the-top fake skin sores. Mohini tells her to be rest assured and that as long as she keeps her God-woman facade on and performs fake miracles her devotees will have no reason to suspect her.
Cut to, Gayatri and her husband are near a holy tree where they had tied a ghungaroo as a vow for a child. She unties the ghungroo from the tree and ties it around her daughter’s neck. The couple then names their daughter Devanshi who they consider a blessing of Ghungroowaali maiyya.
Sarla (Ankita Sharma) is cleaning lamps and cursing Maa Kusumsundari for having her ousted from the temple dismissing her for being an infertile woman. Talking to herself she says that Maa Kusumsundari was a common worker in the temple 2 years ago before suddenly becoming a God-woman. She chides her husband Omi for sucking up to the fake God-woman. She says that had she been a real God-woman she would have blessed them with a child and cured her own husband who has been ill for the past two years.
We then see a paralysed old man on a bed summoning a helper with a bell attached to his feet. The helper tends to his needs when Maa Kusumsundari walks in and asks the helper to leave the room as she wants to take care of her husband. As soon as the helper leaves she mocks her husband for his lack of ambition and how he failed to capitalise on his new found fame after unearthing a moorti from his own land. She says that she cashed in on the opportunity by building a temple on the same land and that today she has gone from being a bhikaaran (pauper) to a crorepati (billionaire). She takes her leave as she has to attend a prayer meeting where her brother-in-law will be singing songs of praise for her.
Maa Kusumsundari, along with Mohini, makes a grand entry at the temple. As she climbs each step, the oil lamps across the steps light up as Maa Kusumsundari makes some hand gestures, providing a show of miracle to the amazed devotes. However, we see that it is actually Mohini doing the trick with a remote from under her ghoonghat. After the arati (devotional prayer), people once again flock the temple to make their offerings. Gayatri raises her child in front of Ghungroowaali maiyya thanking her for her blessings when the crowd pushes her and her baby slips into the hundi. She tries to pull her daughter back from the hundi but Omi stops her saying that it is Maa Kusumsundari’s instruction that anything once fallen in the hundi can never be taken back. He tells her that it is up to Maa Kususmsundari to decide the fate of the baby.
In front of all the devotees present at the temple, Omi puts forth the couple’s dilemma before Maa Kusumsundari explaining that the child had accidently fallen into the divine hundi and now she has to decide if the baby is to be returned to her parents or be taken by the temple authority. Gayatri begs Maa Kusumsundari to return her child to which she says that only Ghungaroowaali maiyya can decide what is to be done with her. She takes the baby inside the temple and pretends to be in trance like as if communicating with God. She thinks to herself that if she goes against her own rules and allows the child to be returned to her parents then every devotee will make the same plea and ask for their offerings to be returned to themhundi. She turns to the crowd and announces that Maa Ghungaroowali maiyya has asked her to keep the child and her parents must now part with her considering the child’s good fortune to be selected by Ghungaroowali maiyya to be raised in the blessed temple.
First Episode First Impression
What’s good about the show?
The cast of the show looks good. Maa Kusumsundari i.e. Karuna Pandey gave a power packed performance in the first episode and looks like the perfect fake God-woman. She seems to have done her research to get into the character as it clearly reflects in her demeanour and way of talking. Aamir Dalvi is the surprise element on the show and I am sure will be a good match to Karuna. The show’s lead Kashvi Kothari, who will be playing Devanshi, is yet to make an entry so let’s wait and watch how she performs. I liked the background score of the show. Believe it or not, I had goose bumps while watching a few scenes which was only because of the strong background music.
What’s bad about the show?
I hope I am wrong but the show bears a lot of similarity with the story of Lord Krishna where He is separated from his birth mother and raised by another woman. Here, Devanshi is separated from her biological mother Gayatri and is handed over to Sarla to be raised in the temple (Devanshi being handed over to Sarla was shown in the precap). Like Lord Krishna she too is faced with several attacks by her enemies but manages to beat them all with a smile on her face. I hope the show isn’t a mixture of Indian mythological shows with certain elements being lifted from different stories of Indian Gods. If that is the case then it’s sad that the writers are offering viewers recycled and repackaged content. We already have mythological shows dealing with stories of Indian Gods and Goddess. What we need now is a novel script where people are made aware of the evils of blind faith.
The first episode of Devanshi was OK as it offered decent character build. If you have enjoyed mythological shows in the past and do not mind trying a completely fictitious show dealing with people’s faith in God, then Devanshi is a good choice. If not, then please change the channel, there is nothing much for you.