ZEE5 Original series Mentalhood talks about the real struggles a mother goes through while raising her kids. The series is directed by Karishma Kohli and created by Ekta Kapoor. Raja Hindustani actress Karisma Kapoor made her comeback after 9 years with this series. Mentalhood features Karishma Kapoor, Sanjay Suri, Tillotama Shome, Shruti Seth, Sandhya Mridul, Shilpa Shukla and Dino Morea in key roles. The series talks about five supermoms and one stay-at-home dad. Mentalhood premiered on ZEE5 on 11 March 2020 and is produced by Rupali Guha under the FilmFarm India banner.
In the series, Karisma plays the role of Meira Sharma who is a small town mom and has three kids. Actress Sandhya Mridul essays the role of Anuja Joshi aka AJo who is a city mom and is ‘up to date’ about everything. On one side there is Meira who wants her kids to treat her like a friend and share secrets with her, while, on the other side, AJo is extremely particular about everything and needs perfection from her kids, no matter what.
In the series, on the first day of school, Meira makes Chhole Bhature for the entire class, which her own kids love to eat. But AJo loses her calm that someone has sent oily food to school. AJo is also the PTA head who wants kids to be disciplined and have a healthy lifestyle. She tells Meira thatChhole Bhature is unhealthy and it is not cool to send unhealthy food to school, especially in the city. Meira tells her that in her hometown, she used to make Chhole Bhature every day and send it to school. But AJo interrupts and says that this will not work in the city. She calls an immediate meeting of the PTA and tells everyone that kids have to eat healthy and follow a strict diet, which is better for their overall well-being.
The second factor of being a small town mom is that Meira makes her kids learn simplicity. But as a city mom, AJo needs her kids to participate in the rat race and keeps pushing their limits. She pressurises her children to score excellent marks in school and be on top of the game. In Mentalhood, AJo always pressures her kids to perform well in academics. She scolds her daughter to study, but the latter screams at her mom to not push her. AJo screams back saying, “It is my duty to push you!” On the other hand, Meira does not push her kids but tells them to be in their comfort zone. Due to peer pressure from society or parents, children tend to lie. AJo’s daughter goes to a youth party without informing her mother and the latter catches her red-handed, while Meira is the one who tells her daughter to attend the party and socialize with other people, but also to be careful there.
A city mom is sometimes more liberal in her thoughts. In Mentalhood, Diksha’s son wanted to wear a frock and she allowed him to do so happily. But Meira was worried seeing Diksha’s son wearing feminine clothes. She told Diksha that she should make her son understand his gender and that he cannot wear feminine clothes. But Diksha said that a child has the right to chose his/her gender, and as parents, they should encourage them rather than stopping them.
In Mentalhood, the makers have shown how to tackle issues like bullying, domestic violence, gender identity, molestation, etc., which are handled differently in cities rather than in small towns. In the series, when Aakash’s daughter gets molested, Meira tells him to not make a big issue out of it as she is just a toddler. Aakash scolds her saying, “Keep your small-town mentality to yourself.” Meira understands that one has to speak up and take a stand for their child even if it concerns socially-awkward issues like child abuse.
Be it a city mom or a small town mom, they fulfil their responsibilities to the fullest. Whether a Mumbai Momzilla or a simple mom from small town, a mom always knows what’s best for her kid.