“Chhoriyan badal rahi hain, par chhore nahi”
“It’s my honour. And I don’t need any man to protect it”
“I deserve to die for this country, as much as any man.”
“Tum bachche sambhaalo na, guns hum sambhaal lenge”
These are just a few of the dialogues from the 10 episode web series “The Test Case”, available on online platform AltBalaji. A series revolving around a woman entering the Indian army in a combat role for the first time, the series talks about gender, women empowerment, equality of sexes, and our inherent patriarchy, in an extremely powerful manner.
The defence forces have traditionally been an all male bastion, and while women have entered them in various non-combative roles, the idea of women in combat is not an easy one to implement. Nimrat Kaur stars in the leading role of Captain Shikha Sharma, who is undergoing training for Special Task Force of the Indian Army, on the recommendation of the Indian Defence Minister, as a test case, for women to enter Army in combat role. The ten episode series revolves around the various challenges she faces, both within herself, and from every aspect of her personal and professional life, to be where she is. “The Test Case” alternates between light moments – like when Shikha enters the male dorm with her luggage, ditching the guest house room- as well as serious issues like sexual assault, and the inherent habit of men to patronize and ‘protect’ women. While the show has the Indian Army as it’s backdrop, in the real sense, it talks about issues which are relevant in Indian society as a whole.
In September 2017, the Army had announced that it is working on a proposal to induct women into the military police. While we don’t know when women in combat would be a reality, “The Test Case” provides a realistic take of the kind of situations which could arise.
The show deserves thunderous applause for breaking new grounds, and for breaking new ground in terms of messaging. We hope to see Alt Balaji coming up with more such relevant content, and hope other production houses follow suit.