How Abhay Deol is CONNECTED to these women
Abhay Deol's debut television show Hum Tum Connected on Zee TV will feature six ordinary women, sharing their lives and baring their souls on national television.
The participants take hand-held HD cameras and record themselves in their own homes, capturing all that they say and do in their most personal space.
They will shoot themselves as they go to work, step out to shop or attend a class. The women, of different ages, will put their innermost hopes, fears, insecurities, mistakes, triumphs, joys and sorrow out there for the world to see.
The show is set to premiere on June 3, at 10 pm on Zee TV.
But who are these women? And what has inspired each of them to live their life in the public glare? We take a look:
Pallavi Burman, 30, fashionable shopaholic, brand manager
Pallavi studied hard, got a career in place and married a boy her parents chose.
She barely knew him and things didn't work out. Though her family could imagine no worse fate, she wanted a divorce. Her parents were deeply embarrassed and she ended up blaming herself for 'not trying hard enough.'
Well settled professionally, she's getting married again to a guy she met at a friend's party. And this time around, she's determined to do everything right. But she asks: Why should it only be up to the woman to make a marriage work?
So, what made her do this show? "I felt this is something different, very challenging because you have to be very honest about yourself. It was fun, but sometimes it was strange because you are on the streets shooting yourself, talking to the camera, people think that you are mad."
Image: Pallavi Burman
Mahima Chaudhary, 25, struggling actress
The starry-eyed small-town girl hails from a large Jat joint family in Meerut. Having lived forever in the shadows of her super-achieving sister, Mahima wants to make her own mark.
She has been living in Mumbai for the past year, trying to make a career in the glitzy world of films with no support from her typical, traditional family.
"I want to show my struggle and how this film industry works. Plus, to tell people about Mumbai, people like me who have lot of dreams and come here from small towns," says an excited Mahima.
She has a boyfriend in Delhi who does not belong to the same caste. Since things aren't quite working out for her in Mumbai, her boyfriend, just like her family, has been coaxing her to return and get married.
Yet she resists, as she must continue to strive for her dream... and perhaps something else. Will she be able to overcome the gap between her family and boyfriend, and redefine her future?
Image: Mahima Chaudhary
Preeti Kocchar, 33, dentist
Preeti is the mother of a two-year-old, who juggles her home, clinic and her passion for bellydancing.
She wants to tick all the boxes -- the conventional ones of 'wife', 'mom', 'dentist' and 'daughter-in-law' -- as well as the unconventional ones of 'independent', 'bold' and 'dancer'. As a result, she grapples when it comes to prioritising.
Preeti says, "I agreed to do this show because I felt this show was beyond reality, with no script, no make-up and I can just be myself. In many ways, it was like looking into a mirror -- sometimes when you watch yourself behaving badly you decide not to do it again."
She quite liked the experience of shooting herself on camera.
"For me, it was a good process of discovering myself making changes and I really enjoyed it. My mom was not okay, but my in-laws were very supportive. A lot of times it happened that when I was with the camera, my husband said, 'what is this? I have just come tired from work and you are shoving a camera in my face.' But slowly all of them got used to the camera," says Preeti.
She craves the love she was denied in childhood, so she fears rocking her marriage too much. Yet her marriage prevents her from being as free as she'd like to be.
She asks herself, "Women marry for love and care -- do I really get that in my marriage?"
Image: Preeti Kocchar
Madhavi Mauskar, 53, foreign language expert, a corporate trainer
With two divorces behind her, she's hit rock bottom and bounced back.
Her daughter is pregnant and Madhavi is about to be a grandmother for the second time. And like a bolt out of the blue, her first ex-husband wants to get back with her.
Madhavi finds the concept of shooting herself on camera "terrific".
"It has never happened on television. Plus the idea of shooting yourself was not easy because we generally don't do it -- only on vacations. Being true to your feelings and sharing them on camera, and then coming on national TV is challenging."
Does her ex really want a life with her? Or does he just want closure? She tries to figure out the solution of this long and complicated relationship -- and makes a choice she will be happy with.
"There are people who go through similar conditions or even more drastic ones. It's just about how we (or I) dealt with it, which would make the difference to other women's lives. I think that is the message I want to get across," says Madhavi.
Image: Madhavi Mauskar
Sonal Giani, 26, activist, theatre producer
Sonal is producer-in-charge with a theatre company and is about to act in a small movie for the first time.
Sonal is in a serious relationship and wonders if the parents of her lover will accept their unusual, unconventional bond and give their love story a happy ending.
"I guess like everybody else, even I want to tell my story," Sonal says. "It's been a lot of reflection, made me aware of myself."
Was it difficult being with a camera for six months? "When you are honest, it can hurt the people whom you love the most, but being true to yourself and life, you need to be honest. There were moments that were difficult but that made me stronger," says Sonal.
Image: Sonal Giani
Malishka Mendonca, 34, radio jockey
"I have often asked myself what next after radio? I have lot of dreams but my mother has other plans for me," smiles Malishka.
"One of the main reasons that I wanted to shoot myself on camera is because for the last eight or nine years, I have talked daily to so many people on radio. People are vulnerable with me.
"For a change, I thought to put my vulnerable side to the world so that I can grow. People who relate to or connect with me on a daily basis will know the real side of me and connect better."
Was it tough to shoot herself on camera? "It was difficult for me to talk about myself on camera. I thought, people know me in a certain way; will it shatter the image that I have built? Will it be for the better or worse?" she wonders.
Image: Malishka Mendonca