“Connected Hum Tum” on Zee TV is a “real” show and not a reality show, says the show’s producer

For many years saas-bahu serials have dominated our television screens. Although most serials have women in important roles, they have often been quite regressive in their depiction of female characters. In such a scenario comes a new show that claims to be “feminist” and “real”. At least that is what Ajay Bhalwankar, the producer of “Connected Hum Tum” on Zee TV, claims. The show is anchored by Abhay Deol, but Bhalwankar insists the star of the show are the real-life courageous women who have been bold enough to not only show their lives but also talk of their aspirations and problems on camera. Says Bhalwankar, “I do not like to call it a reality show; it is a real show. The selection process went on for almost a year, and the show is not for fame; it is for honesty. Zee TV gives the audiences a chance to understand the psyche of today’s Indian woman. The core idea is to get families to communicate more and understand relationships better.”

Paromita Vohra, director of the show, says, “These women were chosen because they are intelligent, honest, spirited, have a story to tell and, above all, they had the courage to tell it candidly.”

There are six women. There’s Preeti Kochar (33), dentist and a belly-dance instructor. Madhavi Mauskar (53), foreign languages expert, and corporate trainer, has lived a life of unconventional choices and has gone through two divorces; Malishka Mendonca (34) is radio jockey and successful self-made woman; and Sonal Giani (26) is an activist, and theatre producer. They are real-life women, not actors. “It is a fact that men do not understand women properly. We are not trying to pose men as villains. We try to bring out solutions by sharing our stories. My family was never against the idea of shooting our lives. My mother-in-law was very supportive and told me that everyone has a story in their life and to tell our stories is not a bad idea,” says Preeti Kochar.

According to Madhavi Mauskar, “We wanted to set an example through our experiences in life and (show one) how to deal with difficult situations. There are people who definitely might be facing problems bigger than ours. Our show will give them the courage to fight and deal with the situations. Shooting day in and day out was really challenging.”

“Privacy is a very closely guarded thing,” says Malishka Mendonca. “This show is about conquering fears. The concept of the show is very interesting. It also has the danger of hurting your close ones when you are honest. Still, shooting our daily regimen, like eating, brushing our teeth, combing our hair, cleaning our houses, was real fun. My mom has been very supportive. I hope that instead of judging us people absorb and connect to our stories.”