MUMBAI: With Ramanand Sagar's popular eighties mythological serial "Ramayan" back on Doordarshan, the Indian audience has got an opportunity to revisit the epic story all over again. The show has sparked up social media discussion, too.
The discussion over the past 24 hours roughly has taken a gender-based turn with some viewers calling queen Kaikeyi a b**ch and hurling abuses at her maid Manthara. Since badmouthing continued, these two characters incidentally kept trending on Twitter.
There has been a debate centred on the feminism quotient in the show, too. While some users felt "Ramayan" didn't dispense fair treatment to its female characters, others felt the storyline champions women's empowerment.
Hailing the storyline as an instance of women's empowerment, a viewer tweeted: "We were so progressive even 7000 yrs back, it's amazing. Sita was very intelligent & warrior woman. Kaikeyi wasn't only a warrior, she was Saarthi of King Dashrath in Devasur Sangram, which wasn't at all a simple task. True women empowerment. #Ramayan"
Another viewer shared: "Seeing Ramayan today, I'm reminded of first female drivers were from India. Kaikeyi and Satyabhama."
Still, others reminded that Kaikeyi was no pushover as a character. "Ramayana and equality. Guys, remember that Kaikeyi was the first woman in combat," a user tweeted.
However, not everyone feels that the story upholds "women's empowerment", and not everyone shared kind words for the antagonist Kaikeyi.
A viewer opined: "Kaikeyi was a category A b**ch, wasn't she? posing for her son to be crowned king was alright, but sending Ram to exile was evil at an entirely new level. Don't bash me, I won't take it back!"
Another viewer expressed: "Kaikeyi was the foremost unfortunate character in the entire epic. Poor lady loved Ram more than her own son, went to battle for her King, was also probably the foremost intelligent of the Queens & yet, in 1 moment of clouded thinking, she ruined it for everyone. What an exquisite lesson!"
Still, another said: "A woman can make or destroy a home. Perfect example - kaikeyi"
While one viewer declared that Kaikeyi was a pseudo-feminist, several others protested.
"Kaikeyi was the primary pseudo-feminist. #Ramayan," opined the viewer.
"Kaikeyi is an exemplar that a lady can ruin a man's life even without Pseudo feminism. #Ramayana #Ayodhyakaand," said the viewer.
A social media user made a remarkable observation saying "Ramayan" would have had a special perspective altogether if it had been penned from the point of view of any of the feminine characters.
The tweet reads: "Have you ever not wondered how the story would have unfolded in its own different indifferent manner if the pen was given to Kaikeyi or Manthara, to Urmila or Kaushalya, to Surpnakha or Mandodari?"
It has just been a couple of days since Doordarshan started airing "Ramayan", and one thing is clear: quite three decades later, the show has lost none of its power to stay a point, any which way.