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Jyoti – Time to make up your mind, strong woman or weak one.

The makers of NDTV Imagine’s Jyoti ought to make up their mind and that too pretty quickly. It seems that the powers that be are undecided about the way they want to position their lead character-Jyoti. It seems they want to project her as a strong independent woman who has a mind of her own and yet for some inexplicable reason they are forever limiting her horizon. Initially when the show was in its nascent stage, Jyoti was projected as the sole bread earner of her family and as such she was fiercely independent, self reliant, practical and dutiful.

Jyoti was conscious of the burden (she never termed it that) of managing a family consisting of an invalid father, an ageing grand mother, an unemployed slightly flighty younger brother and two unmarried sisters. But this did not stop her from dreaming of her own house, her own family, her private love nest (while she was romancing Brij). While in most other serials it is sacrilege to harbour personal dreams and ambitions; Jyoti had no such hang ups or pretensions. She was not selfish just because she had her private dream goals and aspirations. Just as we were getting ready to applaud a very ‘real’ character, the makers changed their positioning of Jyoti.

Dumped by her lover Brij for her younger sister, she is heartbroken. On top of that she receives the news that the woman she has always looked up to as her mother is actually her step-mom. She is devastated. Naturally anyone would be. She has a major break down. That is also acceptable. But to make her take a decision as big as ‘marriage’ with a man she barely knows came across as highly implausible. Jyoti has always been too headstrong and level-headed to need the support of a ‘man’ to begin life afresh. This was the first sign of her weakening.

As of today, Jyoti remains a very confused character. She is strong and yet very weak. She is shown to be honest and yet decides to hide the truth about her past, something that is difficult to digest. She seems to have lost her voice, her grit, her determination. Accused of being unfaithful in her marriage she is thrown out of her marital home. She walks out without muttering a word of protest. Now her husband is set to divorce her and she will give in not because she has been wrongfully maligned and has thus lost faith in her husband; but because she is a dutiful wife and desires her husband’s happiness. Had the show makers shown Jyoti to be a more proactive (as in her earlier version) and taking the decision to divorce her unbelieving husband and moving on in life, it would have given her character far more credibility, respect and strength. As of now she seems like a shadow of her former self-undecided, unwilling to fight and a doormat.

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