MUMBAI—This show can be called a New Year gift from the channel as it began airing Jan. 1. Women have had to push boundaries since the dawn of (wo)mankind. In a patriarchal society like India, religious traditions and social institutions have a deep bearing on the role and status of women. And yet, we have shining examples of women in every age who have persisted, broken the male-dominated molds and paved the path for others.
It is time for another story – of a girl who had to ‘wrestle’ to survive, to give life to her dreams and continue to ‘wrestle’ till she brought home the Olympic Gold. Aapka Colors brings “Kesari Nandan,” the story of Kesari, and her custom-bound father Hanumant Singh as weekly saga produced by Contiloe Pictures. It will Monday to Friday at 8:30 PM ET/PT.
The journey begins in Rajasthan, where Hanumant Singh trains young guns for wrestling. He is a man who believes that men and women have set roles in society and must remain confined to them. He is also a father who aspires for his son to win the country an Olympic gold medal in wrestling. But it is his daughter Kesari who secretly harbors the desire to uphold her father’s legacy. With an undeterred resolve, Kesari sets off to do something unthinkable, much against the will of her father, challenging mindsets along the way.
The launch announcement saw the winner of India’s first ever gold medal in women’s wrestling at the Commonwealth Games, Geeta Phogat, and gold medalist at Women’s World Boxing, Mary Kom, come together in support of the show and the #KhelKesari movement.
Nina Elavia Jaipuria – Head, Hindi Mass Entertainment and Kids TV Network, Viacom18, said, “This show is about an unlikely protagonist, who braves all obstacles to become a national hero in a sport associated with machismo and virility. It’s a poignant portrayal of a father-daughter equation that transcends beyond the four corners of their middle-class household into an akhada (wrestling ring) and eventually to the Olympics. We have devised an impactful on-air campaign called #KhelKesari to promote the spirit of sportsmanship and encourage women to take up sports. With support from stalwarts like Geeta Phogat and Mary Kom, we want to inspire girls to dream big and become beacons of change.”
“Kesari Nandan,” indeed, is the story of every girl who dares to dream big and chase that dream, just like Kom and Phogat did. Abhimanyu Singh, CEO, Contiloe Pictures, said, “We have put in all resources to make the show look as authentic as possible. It’s an endearing story of a super-positive girl, who despite all odds, embarks on a journey to conquer a male-dominated wrestling world.”
Phogat said, “I applaud Aapka Colors for choosing this concept. It is both unique and real and highlights the struggles that women have to face to make a name in extreme sports like wrestling. I can’t wait to watch it. I would like to tell all girls that if you believe in your dreams and work hard to achieve them, success will be yours.”
Added Mary Kom, “It is heartening to see that the hardships of women, especially in sports, are being highlighted in the mainstream media. I am looking forward to watching this show as it appears similar to my own aspirations and struggles. I wish the entire team the very best.”
Chahat Tiwani essays the role of the Kesari. Said little Chahat, “I’m excited as well as nervous to play Kesar. Kesar is a brave girl and she inspires me to dream big.” Said Manav Gohil, who plays Kesar’s father, Hanumant Singh, a former wrestling champion and the progenitor of the Guru Hanumath Singh Akhada, “I found the character of Hanumant Singh to be very challenging; both physically and emotionally. Hanumant is an accomplished wrestler, who dreams that his son will take his legacy forward and win an Olympic gold in wrestling. But fate has different things in store for him.”
As Kesari sets out on her journey, she is supported by her mother Madhavi, played by Aastha Chowdhary. The main cast is joined by actors Nivedita Saraf, Reshma Shinde and Ankit Arora.