Picking up from the word 'motherhood', the Mentalhood series is special for one major reason — Karisma Kapoor.
Time and again, tales have been told about how mothers play a super-women role when it comes to raising children, making homes and taking care of their spouse.
Majority of these on-screen stories have been highly dramatic, soppy or have been sob tales. It is rare to find something which is light-hearted and entertaining. This is where Mentalhood scores.
Picking up from the word 'motherhood', Mentalhood is special for one major reason — Karisma Kapoor.
‘Endearing’ could well be the word to describe her, both as a performer and the character that she plays. The tone is set right in the first itself in this 10-part series, where even with all the loud drama happening around, Kapoor brings in certain innocence to the character she is playing. Wide-eyed ex-Miss Kanpur who belongs to an upper class family (with Sanjay Suri playing her husband), her character is believable while trying to adjust to the life at Mumbai.
There are numerous points in the series when one would expect an outburst from her. However, as a cool, calm, patient, adjusting and believable woman, who is also a mother of three kids, Kapoor ensures that as a hiding-behind-the-veils blogger, she brings in a different perspective to motherhood, a.k.a mentalhood, each time around.
Of course, different flavours of motherhood are thrown in around her through numerous other mommies. Sanshya Mridul is the controlling one who is in a screaming mood throughout. Tillotama Shome plays an adjusting Punjabi mom bringing in the light moments. Shilpa Shukla plays an upper class CEO mom (who has adopted a baby girl) —a smart mom who is juggling well between work and home. Shruti Seth is a divorcee who has her own unique ideas around parenting. Then of course, Dino Morea is the only male mom-n-pop of the group and he works from home.
It is not quite tough to actually work from home and still manage personal as well as professional life quite effectively — something that Morea's character explains beautifully.
Of course, the series was conceptualised and released before the novel coronavirus pandemic, which means ‘working from home’ was not being talked about as much as it is being discussed today. But one look at how Morea manages it (and so does Kapoor in her own little way) and you get the gist that it is as difficult after all if you can work on it, something that even Shilpa Shukla realises.
That said, it takes some time to adjust to the kind of narrative that director Karishma Kohli adopts for Mentalhood. First three to four episodes do go into stage setting of the series as different characters are introduced, their various traits are exposed, dynamics between the mothers are fleshed out and their family situation is explained. At times, Sandhya's actions do seem intolerable; Shruti's theories seem too farfetched and Tillotama's Punjabi act comes across as somewhat stretched. However, what keeps it all together is Kapoor’s character which is lovable.
However, as the series proceeds, you start warming up to everyone as their back stories are revealed and the reason behind the way they behave is also fleshed further.
Moreover, the story starts taking shape and a bit of a drama element starts coming into the picture as well. This is also the time when one episode starts connecting with the next and you want to really know what happens next. Of course, different themes are also explored well and you start catching the 'sur' of it all.
The best is reserved for the end and this is where the last two episodes score the most. An incident of molestation leads to quite a few feathers getting ruffled, something that adds on to the dramatic quotient.
That said, at the core of it all, this ALT Balaji and ZEE5 series establishes how for a woman, it is indeed a 'mental' task out there to bring it all together and that too without much ado. No wonder, it is just the right dose, especially for women at the helm of affairs, and even for men and their children for them to realise what they need to acknowledge and appreciate when it comes to the lady of the house.(Joginder Tuteja is a trade expert and film critic. Views are personal)
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