Big Girls Don’t Cry

Big Girls Don't Cry
Big Girls Don’t Cry
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Big Girls Don’t Cry: A group of students at Vandana Valley Girls School in a hill town are grappling with the strict routine, the never-ending need to fit in and legacy. They try to free themselves from their ambitions, inhibitions and obsessions while the prying eyes of the authorities at Valleys Valley School always try to catch them.

The title of this seven-episode Amazon Prime Video show about a bunch of girls is BGDC (Big Girls Don’t Cry). The story is quite superficial as girls grow up to become seniors in high school. It does not matter much because some parts of the plot seem deep and the main characters get used into their role play quickly and convincingly.

However, that may not be true for all episodes. Big Girls Don’t Cry created by Nitya Mehra and directed by him alongside Karan Kapadia, Sudhanshu Saria or Kopal Naithani takes a while longer to start working well. Like on the third episode, you’d begin to see individuals emerge from amongthe crowd.

Afterwards however Big Girls Don’t Cry produced by Ashi Dua Sara and Karan Kapadia becomes an enthralling young adult drama that can say something or other about conformity versus rebellion without actually getting too deep about it. So long as one does not expect profound insights into collegiate existence and how difficult it is at times, it remains gripping enough.

Kavya Yadav (Vidushi) joins Vandana Valley Girl’s School on scholarship. She is a gifted girl trying hard to integrate herself into a sisterhood comprised of people who belong to comparatively privileged families. Though she moves forward steadily she still has hiccups as she finds herself surrounded by those whose temperaments are poles apart from hers.

Roohi Ahuja (Aneet Padda)and Jayshree Chettri (Tenzin Lhakyila), two best friends have no such problems but are faced with love which may end their friendship. The first is a royalty; a Nepalese princess, who’s being trained by her grandmother to become the maharani, instead of her sick mother. The latter is the daughter of perpetual squabbling parents, Vipin (Mukul Chadda) and Uma (Raima Sen), who are more than vocal in how the 75-year-old school is run.

Noor Hassan (Afrah Sayed), Leah “Ludo” Joseph (Avantika Vandanapu) and Anandita “Pluggy” Rawat (Dalai) complete the sextet that the storyline revolves around. Noor, vying for school captaincy in her final year wants to ditch her last name so as to hide who she really is. Ludo on the other hand is an excellent basketball player and has set her aims on becoming sports captain. All Dalai seems to want is just sex all over.

Besides these students, there are three others around whom much of this show revolves: Dia Malik a stubborn student who doesn’t follow rules as she should; Monjoree Haldar was once known for being one of those geeky debaters; Vidushi Mendiratta a sporty one. Each one has had her own day in the sun.

Many of them are busy with kids nowadays, who have to put up with plenty of issues that arise from having boys around the school fringes who hail from Wood Oak High School for instance, Asad (Bodhisattva Sharma) and Veer (Aditya Raj). Indubitably, the school has a zero-tolerance stance towards happiness and pleasure seeking. The girls wage a relentless war on their right to be free.

There is however very little shown in the series about teachers teaching at this institution but all these ladies fit perfectly into what the school wants them to be; inflexible faces with no smiles ever present especially the dean of academics Jeanette D’Souza(Loveleen Mishra). Aliya Lamba(Zoya Hussain)is an exception she is just more of a friend than an instructor.

A number of themes are woven into the storyline- class dynamics, identity, sexual orientation, feminist assertion; rebellion; love; friendship; heartbreaks ;peeves and rivalries- which often become too much to bite on considering how narrow Big Girls Don’t Cry’s scope would seem to be. But that gap does not take away from the harmless joy through which girls fight and shout out loud so that they can live according to their school’s motto “know thyself”.

The numerous hurdles that they face as they pass through their penultimate year in high schools are never life-threatening or even life changing but it does give them sense after all those run-ins, snafus, and dead-ends.

Big Girls Don’t Cry might not be your ultimate campus drama but it has enough meat in its heart for it to hit serious notes every now and then. It is a visually lush series. There are vistas atop hillsides which make this setting physically captivating. There are places where breathing takes place – hostels rooms ,school corridors,basketball arena ,play ground, woods,waters points etc.

Even when most of the time it is all just a bunch of talk, the performances still manage to keep the show alive. Pooja Bhatt brings gravitas to Big Girls Don’t Cry. Zoya Hussain is perfect as the teacher who unintentionally starts an anti-patriarchy revolt. Mukul Chadda and Raima Sen, who play a rich couple trapped in loveless marriage are among others that stand out.

These young cast members bear their weight without sagging at any particular point. The meatiest part belongs to Afrah Sayed who plays a girl caught between her ambitious dreams and ordinary concerns for common good. She does full justice to it.

Avantika Vandanapu, as the basketball star whose burning desires threaten to overshadow her, comes close behind. This however does not mean there are any less impressive names on this list – Tenzin Lhakyila, Aneet Padda and Dalai.Big Girls Don’t Cry does get right with its casting; but that isn’t all about the show’s substance.The major asset of this series is that it has a clear understanding of itself and rarely tries too hard at anything extra beyond that.

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