By Meghna D (twitter@kaagazkatukda)
Just about three-quarters of a year ago, I was blissfully distant from Indian TV. It didn’t mean anything to me except a bundle of unwatchable content. And then, Pandya store happened.
I happened to stumble upon a random Instagram clip of the show. A specific scene from a kidnapping sequence involving a couple who exuded a certain enigma, jazbaat, tashan, and a scintillating spark: the eternal enemies Shiva and Raavi, also famously known as ShiVi!
A lot is going on in that show, some noteworthy, some not so much, but for me, Shiva and Raavi Pandya, are the only draw. Kanwar Dhillon and Alice Kaushik who have brought these characters alive in such a captivating way, have my immense love and respect for making everything so dreamy for me and thousands of others. Although I had watched some promotional videos earlier, what did me in was the cliché enemies-to-lovers trope, and I state without hesitation that I fell for it headfirst.
Pandya Store is the story of 4 Pandya brothers, who run their family store for a living. The marriage of the elder most brother brings a lot of changes in their lives, unfolding all the drama and family problems that the show ( like all other desi TV shows) revolves around. Although as a #ShiVI fan, I try to like all the aspects and characters in the show there’s only so much you can pretend when it comes to poorly written characters that leave a bad taste in your mouth. For starters, the show was created to mainly revolve around the eldest sister-in-law, Dhara. Then the show took a ten-year leap within 35-37 episodes, only to lead to the next two brothers getting married, one to the love of his life, and the other to his enemy.
Now that there are so many characters in the picture, you would expect the show to cover all their stories. But what irks me is how it is still all about Dhara and her love life. Her sacrifices, not the best word to use here in my opinion, since there’s an enormous difference between making a sacrifice and making a choice, remain the focal point of the show. The choice that is being touted as a “sacrifice” is MUTUALLY choosing not to have a child till the other three brothers grow up to be adults. However, even when the three brothers have grown up, this “sacrifice” continues for reasons unexplained.
I would also like to call out the regressive writing that pops up from time to time; from a mother in law who leaves no chance in insulting the women of the house. Predictably her favourite target is the smartest of the lot: a sensible woman, who stands up for herself. Still, the writing does not support her, instead focuses on writing jibes to favour the mother in law. Men are portrayed as utterly incapable of carrying out household chores, even something as simple as serving food for themselves. It’s 2022, when will we get rid of this mentality?
But having said that the cherry on the top, the ice cream in a warm summer afternoon, the sweet victory after going through hell and back, is the chemistry between the popular couple Raavi and Shiva. They both have received nothing less than heartfelt love and complete admiration from viewers.
Again the actors, Kanwar Dhillon and Alice Kaushik need a special mention for the brilliant performances. They carry the whole show on their shoulders. #KDice, as they are popularly known in the world of their fans, own their individual performances as well and bring intensity and layers to their own characters, even when they are not together on screen.
With performances so nuanced to the minute details they have made me so attached to Shiva and Raavi. I’ve never related to a character this much before, even when watching global shows. Talent, hard work and appreciation speak louder than the numbers on social media. No amount of random, rigged awards or likes on Instagram can define pure talent. The thing about talent is that you are recognised for what you are, as an actor and as a human, and that speaks volumes when it comes to ITV.
Of late, Pandya Store has become quite inconsistent with its writing, the flaws so easily pointed out even by neutral viewers, let alone the loyal ShiVi fans. The bhabhi jaap in particular, the brothers keeping Dhara on a pedestal, at the cost of their own wives, is particularly illogical and irksome. The strongest appeal of the show, #ShiVi gets so little screentime, in the name of an ensemble cast, while Dhara gets to tell her story over and over again with no one eating up her screentime. Some events are medically and physically impossible, and definitely do not make sense in the slightest. Sensitive topics are not handled with care, and tracks are abruptly pushed under the carpet instead of being weaved intricately into the story.
All said and done, this show has garnered audience love and attraction due to its family bonding and the tension and chemistry between Shiva and Raavi. For me, it’s the only story worth watching. Watch them for their progression from childhood enemies to each others’ support system, only to finally find love and peace in each other after marriage.
I would request the show makers to not ruin the USP of the show for tracks that are unnecessary, illogical and don’t even garner the TRPs they expect.
To summarise, you should watch the show for the power couple aka #ShiVi and #KDice because of :
Childhood backstory ✔️Cute nicknames ✔️Having a world of their own ✔️Deep character layers ✔️ Mutual protective love ✔️Parallels ✔️Proximity ✔️Tension✔️ Off thee charts chemistry ✔️Hotness ✔️
Do not stress your mind with the other clown-foolery that happens in the show!