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Keeping it real

Keeping it real

The series is apt for young adults and needs no parental supervision.

Film: Big Girls Don’t Cry

Director: Nitya Mehra, Sudhanshu Saria, Karan Kapadia, Kopal Naithani

Cast: Pooja Bhatt, Zoya Hussain, Tanya Abrol, Avantika Vandanapu, Aneet Padda, Akshita Sood, Vidushi, Lhakyila, Afrah Sayed, Dalai


When a new scholarship-winning teenager enters a prestigious boarding school and rolls down her socks to give off the cool kid vibe, you know you have arrived at a teen drama. The pressure to stay relevant and popular feels real and is infused in such a manner that it keeps on building episode after episode.

The opening scenes explain what all is not tolerated in Vandana Valley Girls Boarding School, and the following episodes show how high school girls break it. From boyfriend problems to family-infused trauma, rebellious streaks, inferiority complex to curiosity about sex, LGBTQIA+… ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ covers all. What’s good is that the series does not preach. It humanises the subject, connecting it to the school’s motto of Aatmanam Vridhi (Know Thyself).

Like ‘Class’, a similar teen drama, ‘BGDC’ is apt for young adults and needs no parental supervision. But then, with four directors directing an episode or two each, the series appears a bit scattered at times and takes some time to evoke interest. And with no cliff-hanger as such after each episode, not everybody would push that next episode bar.

Light-hearted and emotional at times, it has laid the foundation to hold for two more seasons. The fact that it doesn’t make one girl the main character and others ‘sideies’ (in ‘BGDC’ lingo), makes it more authentic. Everyone is right and wrong at some point or the other. There’s no ideal woman, a point well made by the writers and directors.

Pooja Bhatt manages to keep the adolescent actors in line and shows why an experienced actor doesn’t need more scenes to make one’s presence felt. Bhatt plays a strict principal, Anita Verma, whom the students refer to as AV with love or no love. Seeing Tanya Abrol as a PT teacher hits you with nostalgia. It feels as if her Punjabi-speaking hockey player character from ‘Chak De! India’ (2007) has grown up and settled for a job at a girl’s boarding school in a hill station.

Talking of young actors, the whole gang of girls has acted well and makes you cry, laugh and cheer. Zoya Hussain plays Aliya Lamba, a young teacher who bridges the gap between the strict principal and the most rebellious student on campus, Dia Malik (Akshita Sood). And as said in the climax of ‘The Perfect Woman’, a play performed on Founder’s Day, ‘These girls stick it to the men.’ It’s true of the series too.