**Saloni ka Safar-ing**
Does it worry you how many prejudices are present in the world today? Has it ever occurred to you how many are forced to suffer from taunts, simply owing to the fact that they don’t live up to the norm and are slightly different? Isn’t our world growing shallower by the minute, because everybody stops to judge others on the colour of their skin, their way of talking and where they come from?
Why should there be such a huge divide between diverse races, religions and cultures?
But wait, does the division end there? Sadly, no. Even within communities, stereotypes are valued and the “different” ones are often mocked or disowned. People are scorned because they can’t afford a decent car; people are laughed at because their accents are strange; people are excluded if they attempt to act in a unique way. Although society today is slightly more tolerant than our ancestors, it can’t be escaped that even if in the minority, these prejudices are still intact. No matter how up to date our knowledge and possessions are, in the end, the same narrow-minded views are still there.
This programme forced me to reflect back on the views of society. Although set a whole generation ago, where society was slightly “stricter”, it amazed me how the superficial attitudes of the characters in the program are still a problem today.
Saloni (Rajshree Thakur) is a girl who is pure of heart, always thinks about others before herself, and is well immersed in our culture. The problem? She has a dark complexion. And as if to spite her, her younger sister Shubra is very fair, and supposed to be beautiful. (But she has yellow eyes) Instead of accepting Saloni the way she is, everybody from her mother to her friends condemns her and tries to force her to change. That is everybody except for her best friend Neal and her father. She looks up to her father as if he was God and idolises him in every way; and in return he adores her as she is. With Nealshe shares a childhood relationship that cannot be broken, and slowly begins to develop into love.
But again, she faces a problem. Neal is of a lower caste and her family refuse to marry her to somebody of a lower caste to her. Therefore, Saloni discards her love for the wishes of her family, who want her to marry somebody who is wealthy, regardless of whether she cares for him or not.
No offence to the directors of Saat Phere, but I found so many flaws in this story, which was mainly a lot of waffle. I love the costumes though, they are really well designed, and the background settings are very pretty too. The characters acted pretty well, with the exception of Shubhra , who has cat eyes. (I kid you not) But in between this mindless dribble, were hidden some very important messages which deal with the conflicts faced by both yesterdays and today’s societies.
Rich and Poor:
This has been the most clichéd topic dealt with by both Indian and Western cinema, but I personally don’t think that money makes a difference to anything. Individuals often judge others by how large their wallets are, but how does that show how big their hearts are?
This has been going for generations with the so-called ‘noble’ Lords and Dukes being prioritised over the middle and lower classes. What I don’t understand is how money holds any part in defining what kind of a person you really are. So many people have the fallacy that money is everything but as is rightly shown by Saloni ka Safarring, some of the richest people could end up being the cruellest.
Fair and Dark:
One of the prejudices that I am still at a loss to comprehend is the differentiation between a fair and a dark individual, particularly with women. Just because somebody does not have as fair a complexion as her neighbour doesn’t mean that she is any less beautiful. There have been hundreds of fabulous reviews written on the irony that those who are darker skinned use cosmetics such as facial powder and foundation to lighten their skin tones, whilst the naturally fair skinned (i.e. Westerners) use these very products to give them the fashionable “tanned” look (that causes cancer).
This phenomenon is turning into somewhat of an obsession with the famous example of a very obvious “role model” (cough cough) Michael Jackson, who wasn’t satisfied with his black origins. In this program, Saloni is one of the prettiest girls around, with a heart of gold, but people don’t observe anything past her darker complexion. When will everyone stop being so shallow?
This is one of the most controversial, yet most talked about issues of our culture. According to the original Hindu scriptures, the caste system was introduced when the world was under a kalyug (curse), but correct me if I’m wrong! Since then, there has always been this division between the “higher-castes” and the “lower castes”, with the former looking down on the latter. Even though this hype about inter-caste mingling has calmed down a bit in recent times, there is still definite differentiation in some areas.
If “everybody is the same in God’s eyes”, why shouldn't this rule apply to human beings? We don’t have the right to make a judgement on others just because they’re of a supposedly “lower-caste” to us. As shown by this program, Saloni’s family are completely against her even talking to Neal, let alone falling in love with him.
Even though the program itself could be classed as a disaster, I think the concept of it is very interesting and I really like the way the directors and scriptwriters attempted to deal with the taboos of today. Our world is full of so many prejudices, and it isn’t right to broaden them to conflicts of culture because it goes beyond that.
I just hope one day we can look beyond these at the person inside.
Don’t forget to RRC…:-)
R.P.S (review post-script): Apologies for the “serious” and completely non-informative review…you couldn’t laugh at me! :-) Topics like these force me to think critically, and well, i'm boring when i'm critical! (don't argue...just nod and smile :)) And this review is dedicated to the first commenter (does that mean I wont get any comments? :P)