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Monday, January 18, 2010

Bad times for both Maa-sa and Ammaji on Colors

Thursday (7th January, 2010) night happened to be a very “happening” night for Colors. Two of their major protagonists, namely Maa-sa (Surekha Sikri, Ballika Vadhu) and Amma-ji (Meghna Mathur, Na Aana Is Des Laado) were made to feel the meaning of the word “powerless”. Ironic, given that these two ladies are the centres of power in their respective universe. Maa-sa was rendered speechless and defenceless by her arch enemy Mahaveer Singh who claimed that she had run off with his infant son and thus denied him the one chance at redemption. Amma-ji on the other hand finally succumbed to all the planning and plotting that had been going on under her very nose as a single bullet brought her to her knees.

These two strong female characters are perhaps the best example one can think of the popular adage, ‘Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Maa-sa is the undisputed queen of her fiefdom-her family. She derives her power from emotions and sentiments. Her two sons, two daughters-in-law, their children and the rest of the extended family unit are mere pawns who have to do her bidding unquestioned or else face dire consequences. Her word is the law and she is brutally practical and self-centred in all her emotional dealings. Her past is held accountable for her present hard-heartedness. She is almost male-like in her delineation of the head and the heart and chooses to make all her decisions listening to the voice of reason. The irony of the situation is that all her relations willingly or unwillingly bow down to her diktats giving in to their emotions for her and all that she represents.

Amma-ji on the other hand draws her authority from two essentially ‘male’ concepts-money and fear. As the most powerful landlord in her region she owns not just land but also human fate. Her subjects are not only bound to her by their actual monetary indebtedness but also because of her iron fist which she uses mercilessly. She is all male in not only her posture but in the ways she ruthlessly puts out any threat to her notions of right and wrong. She too is queen of her fiefdom and even her close relations are her subjects.

In both cases it was this sense of an-all powerful female lording over and challenging the male ego that brought about the downfalls, and that too at the hands of male characters. While Maa-saa has been able to restore a sense of balance in her relationships, Ammaji has succumbed (for the time at least). However it would have been more interesting if their fall from grace had been orchestrated by female characters. For indeed their (Maa-saa’s and Ammaji’s) sense of justice has inflicted more pain and anguish to the female characters of the serials-Cases in point- Anandi and Sia. However the lesson to be learnt from these two episodes is that power is free of gender bias and corrupts equally.

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