Nand Kishore Tyagi, a teenage boy, lives in Meerut with his superstitious parents. He’s swept by the arrival of Shanu madam, the new English teacher, a married woman who has just moved to town. However, Nand, along with the rest of the town, soon discovers that there’s more to Shanu than meets the eye.
Of Meerut and men
The series is set in Meerut, a laid-back town where the only thing that makes men sit up, is female eye candy. It’s clear from the outset that the show is about frustrated men and women.
The protagonist of this show is Nand Kishore Tyagi (Ayushmaan Saxena), a mouthy young boy of 16. He lives with his superstitious mother and father, who runs a lingerie store, much to Nand’s embarrassment. Pushpa (Neelu Kohli), Nand’s mother, has her own kitty party, at which her friends gather to talk about their husbands’ waning interest in their respective wives, among other things.
Meanwhile in school, Nand goes through the hormonal churns of adolescent kids. His friends consider him to be the best-looking of their lot and Nand believes it too, which explains his cocky, self-assured attitude throughout the show. All this young man wants to do is lose his virginity, preferably to his classmate, Priyanka (Rashmi Agdekar). Enter Shanu madam (Swara Bhaskar), the new English teacher.
Bad teacher Shanu
Shanu is a feisty, young married woman who quickly attracts the attention of all the boys in her class, Nand in particular. All the men in town seem to have noticed her too and several of them try to woo her. Soon after this, word spreads that Shanu, in spite of being a married woman, is bedding the other men in Meerut. Nand, however, having witnessed the sweet romance between Shanu and her husband, refuses to believe this.
The list of men Shanu has supposedly slept with begins to grow longer, until Nand, who flirts with his teacher but fails to get anywhere, decides to rat her out to her husband. What Naveen, Shanu’s husband, reveals to Nand, leaves the latter stumped. Nand decides to help Shanu madam, who he has grown to respect and admire, as a woman and a teacher.
What follows is a sinking roller-coaster ride of incidents that are neither funny nor believable. The pace of the show begins to drop after Navin’s big reveal. The final scene, which is left open-ended, is the only clever bit of the entire show. It will leave you thinking, regardless of whether or not you liked the series.
WATCH OR NOT
Rasbhari comes across as a show that tries to say too much, but never really drives home any of the points it wants to make. It explores the awakening desires of teenagers, how women are treated in small towns and the notion that a woman must keep her husband satisfied to ensure complete fidelity on his part. However, these ideas are half-baked, robbing the show of real meaning. Swara Bhasker could have done with more screen time; sadly her talents as an actor don’t shine through.
Creators: Nikhil Nagesh Bhatt, Tanveer Bookwala, Shantanu Shrivastava
Writer: Shantanu Shrivastava
Cast: Swara Bhaskar, Ayushmaan Saxena, Neelu Kohli, Rashmi Agdekar
Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video