‘What the Hell, Navya!’: Podcast series by Navya Naveli Nanda

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Three generations of women share conflicting and complementing opinions

Trailer of Navya Naveli Nanda’s new podcast based on conversations among three generations of the Bachchan family women. Photo videograb from YouTube @What the Hell Navya

In the interviews, Navya Naveli Nanda says that she is hoping that girls her age would also get inspired to talk to their mothers and grandmothers and get an insight into some of the many issues impacting their lives, but the podcast ‘What The Hell, Navya!” has the promise of teaching the mothers and the grandmothers a lot about their young daughters and granddaughters.

At a time when disowning parents and rejecting them is becoming a fashion among the young, it is refreshing to see Navya Naveli Nanda sit across her mother Shweta Bachchan-Nanda and grandmother Jaya Bhaduri-Bachchan and discuss issues important to a young girl, issues which perhaps a young girl cannot handle herself. The podcast series that she launched as part of her growing up project of becoming independent, has turned into an interesting and fascinating story of women of three generations trying to communicate. And Navya Nanda (Nanda hereafter) wins our hearts for gracefully disagreeing without any trace of malice or anger to any criticisms from the two women of older generations.

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Nanda has perhaps lived in a protected environment, as most young girls do. The podcast does not pretend to create any earthshaking presence and awareness but can prove to become a middle-class young girl’s guide to learning from other women’s experiences instead of killing herself trying to get those experiences herself. All in the interest of life-preservation.

All the three women are related to the world of glamour, but they are also the quintessential mother-daughter-grandmother. Jaya Bhaduri-Bachchan has been a spontaneous and insightful actor, and has seen the world, the world of glamour. Shweta Nanda, the daughter of the famous and much loved actor couple Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan, has seen the world, and the world of glamour. Navya Nanda, the granddaughter of the famous actors and the daughter of an enterprising mother has been trying to get her foothold into the world of independence. It is only natural that she is watched over and efforts are made to protect her. And this comes across in the few podcasts which have broadcast till now since its launch on September 24, 2022.

In one of her interviews, 25-year old Nanda, who holds a Bachelor’s degree from Fordham University in New York, has said that she got to spend a lot of time with her mother and grandmother during the pandemic lockdown. And their talks gave her the idea of putting them out on the internet for anyone who, she hoped, would also get into such talks with their family members, or rather family women. Working on her plans, she created the podcasts on her own. In one of the podcasts, Nanda has discussed with the other two women the need for independence, financial independence and responsibility. And however gently it comes across, it is heartening to see her bring that up in the podcast as well as by example. Nanda is the co-founder of Aara Health, a health-tech company ‘focused on building, creating, and providing scientifically backed affordable healthcare products and services to women in India’. Project Naveli, the non-profit organization she has co-founded aims to provide women with access to resources and opportunities for economic and social development.

The podcast on the nature of love becomes an eye-opener for some of the listeners who would realize with shock that the younger generation does not have any concept of romantic love. Technology has come late to India and, like everything else, it has been overused resulting in exaggerated time and energy spent on social media which seems to have replaced real intimacy. And thus, we learn that love or what is called love in the world of the young, is limited to surfacial involvement of texting and reacting. It is almost scary to hear Nanda say, “But we have grown up on this (texting and talking),” and that her generation does not miss romance as the others call it. The podcast is like a signal to acquaint the young of deeper feelings and softness of relationships. Especially at times when people are losing faith in the continued future of the world. Perhaps a follow up podcast would do that work.

Whatever topic the podcasts discuss, and some are on crucial topics including pre-marital relationships and living together and deciding to have a child, are in the line of real parenting and fill the gap between some parents and children. Some listeners may wonder why to discuss such topics but they would soon learn that in the interest of their children who are growing up, it may be a good idea to inform and be informed.

Softness or a softer approach to describing life’s realities by the mother and the grandmother would perhaps do good to the podcasts. In spite of the affection that cannot be hidden, Nanda’s voice sometimes drowns in their over realistic announcements. It is said that children don’t listen to their parents but would listen to the same advice from others. That can be seen from the special bond Nanda shares with her grandmother. What is interesting is to see that the three women of three generations have different opinions, but also learn from each other, and come to some agreement at times. Their emotional bonding sustains their differences and their similarities.

It would be good to see Nanda explore some topics a little away from personal life, may be a podcast on environmental issues like people cutting off trees in front of their houses, or using too much plastic which is also a health hazard. It would also be good to see the podcasts have a special extra guest from time to time, perhaps the grandfather!

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