Flawed, yet fascinating: Imperfectly perfect women rule OTT stories
Vartika Chaturvedi, Masaba, Kavya.. What do all of these women have in common? These are strong powerful characters who are unafraid of living their truth and being themselves. They are all very different from each other, yet portray emotions that every woman at some point has related to. Kasturi Dogra, a strong female cop in Aranyak is one such character that viewers will find reflections of their lives in, as a multifaceted, yet relatable Indian woman. With the growth of streaming services, diverse stories about women, on issues that relate to women, or with women in central characters are at the forefront of the entertainment world.
This is the best time to be in the entertainment industry, with creators and new voices making content that is original, local, relatable, and groundbreaking. Indian stories are resonating with audiences in other countries and we have the opportunity to make a real impact through our content. It’s exciting to see that streaming services like Netflix present a huge opportunity for diverse voices to share their stories with the world and make it an even more inclusive space.
When creators are able to tell lesser known stories that may be about us, or someone we know or someone we want to know more about, that’s when the magic happens. It’s really about bringing the story to life in the most authentic way possible and it is this authenticity that the audience loves. For example, the character of Kasturi, a small town cop determined to balance her responsibilities as a mother, protecting her hometown against crimes and taking care of her household, beautifully explores the struggles of women. While Kasturi is an ideal prototype of mid-career, working women in middle India, she is also a unique protagonist, with her own desires and needs. From being tough to trusting to nurturing, Kasturi Dogra’s character highlights a range of emotions that resonate with women, on issues that relate to them, that inspires them, especially those from smaller towns. In Aranyak, Kasturi is shown to have her moments of anxiety, self-doubt, and denial of dysfunctionality in relationships. However, she grows into a strong, determined police officer, mother and woman, who decides to not be apologetic about her flaws and look at life and it’s challenges squarely in the eye. And most importantly, she manages to identify and slay her inner demons that inhibit her and limit her. In Kasturi’s own words, “ Dushman…bheetar hain”
It is very heartening to see that with the mass acceptance of streaming services, creators have been given the perfect opportunity and canvas to reflect layered emotions and showcase complex situations and develop them without constraints of format or duration. Audiences are also embracing complex, strong, layered female characters. As a result, there are opportunities for storytellers to tell more women-centric stories and also for women storytellers to come forward and tell stories from their own distinct
perspectives. Behind the screen, inclusivity is critical not only in giving a platform to voices that are not always heard, but also because it creates opportunities for stories that might not otherwise have been told. Women are revolutionizing entertainment in India, both on and off the screens and we encourage our audiences to embrace the inner Kasturi’s within each one of us; celebrating the many facets of the Indian woman.