In a swamp of forced marriages triggering love stories, ideal bahus and ‘mangalsutra and sindoor ki taaqat‘ it was refreshing to see someone break free from these shackles, and that is what we saw in Jana Na Dil Se Door’s Vividha.
A young woman who knew her choice, who felt chained and suffocated in a marriage she had no choice but to accept to save Atharv’s life, and took every opportunity to leave. Yet the mainstream Indian audience isn’t ready to face what she is, and even the makers have tried to sacrifice her fearless essence to appease them.
Atharv and Vividha’s love is divine in nature, the depth is appreciated by viewers of the show from the start because Atharv opened up a world of freedom for her. He showed her she has immense inner strength, she can make her own decisions and does not have to trust anyone blindly because she knows herself and what she wants.
Arguably one of the boldest females on Indian TV, Vividha didn’t shy away from her desires and when she found her voice there was no stopping her. One such notable scene was when she performed her father’s last rites upon discovering Atharv was alive and in a poor mental condition following Kailash’s attack, reaffirming the fact that the father she once worshipped meant nothing to her now.
Vividha had tried telling Ravish the truth multiple times, only to be cut off and ignored. She was told her mind was playing tricks with her when she said she’d seen Atharv in the house. When she finally was assured that the child Atharv in front of her was real, she told Ravish everything. She was prepared to leave with Atharv at that moment yet Ravish ordered her to stay.
Despite knowing she would never return his love he decided he and his mother’s happiness meant more to him than Vividha’s life. And again because the ‘sanctity of marriage’ should be respected Vividha was shown to play the dutiful wife and was forced once again to stay in the home of the man she would never accept as her husband.
She knows her mind, she knew she didn’t love Ravish, she knew her future was with Atharv regardless of his mental state; when everyone told her to stick with Ravish she didn’t leave Atharv’s side because THAT is their love. Even when he wasn’t in his senses he didn’t forget her. As she said herself Ravish is a nice guy but ‘woh mera Atharv nahi hai‘.
The mainstream audience didn’t think of Vividha’s predicament, instead they applauded Ravish for being such a ‘great’ husband. The fact that they sympathise with the man who knew the full truth and willingly kept her in the marriage rather than the woman who went through everything she did, as well as the uncertainty of whether Atharv would recover, says a lot about what the Indian audience have been conditioned to accept in the history of TV serials.
When Ravish ‘freed’ her of their marriage in the most melodramatic way possible (who in 2017 makes a spectacle of a woman who wants to leave a marriage by wiping her sindoor and breaking her bangles in front of the entire family?) AGAIN the mainstream audience sympathised with him and called him great for his sacrifice.