Click here to watch (ZSHARE)
Set in rural Rajasthan, ‘Balika Vadhu’ traces the arduous journey of child bride Anandi from the brink of childhood to womanhood. Married at the tender age of eight, to an equally young Jagdish, she enters a new world which is at once alienating and confusing. and torn away from the merriment of childhood and her family, she has to accept and accustom herself to this new family of strangers, new relationships and accept her roles as a friend, lover, wife and a mother as she forges her way in the world. ‘Balika Vadhu’ very sensitively portrays the plight of children who are unwittingly forced into marriage, in the name of tradition, and have to bear the repercussions for the rest of their lives.
The show is set in rural Rajasthan and portrays, among other prevailing social ills, the practice of child marriage. It features Anandi (Avika Gor), married at age 10 to Jagadish (Avinash Mukherjee), the only grandson of Kalyani Devi. Kalyani Devi is a strict conservative matriarch of a traditional Rajasthani family. She has two sons, Bhairon (Anup Soni) and Basant (Satyajit Sharma). Basant, the elder son, is a widower. Gehna (Neha Marda), daughter of parents heavily in debt to Kalyani Devi, is forcibly married to him. Initially, there are many differences between the couple due to the age gap and incompatibility but love blossoms between the two and they have a son named Nandu. Bhairon, the second son, is married to Sumitra (Smita Bansal) and has two children, Jagdish and Suguna (Vibha Anand). Suguna, also a child bride, loses her husband Pratap (Jehangir Vakil) and is made to follow the hard life of a widow at the tender age of 16. She later marries Shyam (Vikrant Massey) in the face of much social opposition. Suguna’s in-laws, Radha (Asmita Sharma) and Madan Singh (Amar Sharma) initially do not accept her but later realise their mistake and become loving towards her. Anandi’s parents, Bhagwati (Bhairavi Raichura) and Khajan Singh (Chetanya Adib) earn their living by farming. However, they often face problems but are always helped by Bhairon. The show thus tries to throw light on social malice like child marriage and the ostracising of widows prevalent in rural areas through the various travails of its characters. Anandi and Jagdish got separated when Anandi turned 13. Anandi went to her village and found a small girl and named her Guli. Anandi came back to Jagdish’s house at 18.
On July 22, 2010 the show took a five-year leap. Anandi and Jagdish are shown as grown-ups and eventually replaced by new characters. The show will now follow the story of adult Jagdish & Anandi.
The show was a smash hit when it hit the television soaps bandwagon. It immediately got the needed popularity and was appreciated by viewers. The serial came in as a whiff of fresh air as Indian television was ’til then dominated by ‘saas-bahu’ sagas. It was considered as a path breaking serial and it paved the way for many more sensible shows. The Story, Characters & Setup were admired and appreciated by all. The series has received highest television ratings among most shows on other Indian television channels. The series has received the “Best Drama Series (Fiction)” award at the Apsara Guild Awards.
Balika Vadhu took centre stage in the National Politics when members of Janata Dal (United) raised serious objections to the show’s content and demanded it be taken off-air. They said the serial was glorifying child marriage and the I&B Ministry should act against it. However, the show never went off-air but started showing slogans at the beginning and at the end depicting the negative effects of child marriage.