Balika Vadhu is one of the most popular daily soap on Indian television that aired from 2008 to 2016. The show was based in rural Rajasthan and revolved around the life of a child bride, chronicling her journey from childhood to womanhood. Avika Gor played the lead role in the show.
Avika played the role of the child bride Anandi who struggles to cope with traditions. She is seen overcoming multiple personal struggles to emerge as an example for rural women in Rajasthan. Now the actress recalls the reaction of a fan, who told her that he was ashamed to watch Balika Vadhu with his family.
Talking to Indian Express, Avika Gor opened up about her association with Balika Vadhu, how the show had an impact on the audiences. Gor said, “I remember I was in Delhi in 2010, and a man, in his sixties came up to me and said, ‘Baccha humein maaf karna par hum aapka show apne parivar ke saath nahi dekh sakte. Humein sharam aati hai (Please forgive us, we cannot watch your show with our family as we feel ashamed)’. When I asked him why he said that… because his family practises the same thing. However, he promised me that it won’t happen again.”
The 23-year-old actress further said, “I was so shaken that I didn’t know how to react but his statement made me so proud. TV serials have the sole responsibility to entertain but with that, if we manage to change one life, one family, it’s just such an achievement. I also remember a journalist who told me that an eight-year-old girl in Kolkata stood in her mandap refusing to get married, saying ‘Anandi ne mana kiya hai’ (Anandi has forbidden child marriages). There is a reason the show is coming back as this evil practice is still prevalent in society and we need to make people see the ills of it.”
Now the channel has announced the reboot of the series with a new cast. Talking about Balika Vadhu 2, Avika Gor said, “The way of saying the story and reaching out is quite different. Also, the way the characters have been built, with a completely new family. This time the show is based out of Gujarat, and hence the audience will be in for a few cultural shocks. Also, it’s a completely new set of viewers. I have had people messaging me, who weren’t even born when the first season came out. And I had seen the excitement when the show had a rerun on Rishtey and even Colors, during the lockdown. There are so many reasons, and I hope the new season also manages to have the same bonding. I remember there was a track where I was shot in the head, and it was a Friday episode. People in Nashik stopped eating and were waiting till Monday to find out if Anandi survives. There were no social media back then but the buzz has always been loud around the show. I think this time it would be easier for the makers to build that attachment.”