By Pooja Moitra:Â
“Indravadhan! That is just so middle class!!”
If you remember these lines said by Maya, then ten years back, you were watching one of the best sitcoms ever, to come on the Indian television, Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai. The show was launched back in 2005 (almost 9 years!) but was amazingly ahead of its times in terms of concept, dialogues, characters and what not. Before there was Comedy Nights with Kapil, or Tarak Mehta, we can proudly say, that this sitcom was the baap of them all. So here is a trip down the memory lane. 6 reasons, why you and I, love Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai.
1. The Amazing Maya factor:Â You switch on the television, and you see the whole menu of saas-bahu saga being served to you. You would say now, how was Maya Sarabhai any different? Well, for starters, she had class. Her whole character, that of the high class sophisticated woman, did not only provide a fresh breath of air in place of monotonous scheming in-laws, but also made us believe that there are actors who can carry such a different role without a glitch and become everyone’s favourite. She shined through the whole series. Be it having an argument with her husband and daughter-in-law or becoming a doting mother to her sons, she carried the whole character in such a way that very few people can.
2. A Poet’s Dilemma: Rosesh Sarabhai. You name this person and I get an image of a white faced, slick boy who used to be tied to his mother’s apron strings and recite awful poetry much to the dismay of people, which of course, he didn’t understand. Adding to that his shrill nasal voice, and womanly way of talking did not only make him unbearable to his family members except his Moma, but also made him earn a special place in the hearts of his audience. His poetry did half the work for his character which was as amazing and new as his whole personality. Nobody could have carried of this character in a way that Rajesh Kumar did. Hats off to you!
3. A Suitable boy and his “Unsuitable” wife: Sahil and Monisha were a couple made in heaven, but a middle class heaven or so Maya thought. The mismatched couple created a storm not only in Maya’s heart, but also in the hearts of their viewers. The most remarkable thing was how the whole middle class v/s upper class conflict was depicted. The little sarcasms from Maya and equally illogical answers by Monisha created the first saas- bahu tug of war which we actually loved to watch and wanted more of it every day. The Suitable boy, on the other hand, remained sandwiched between the mother and wife and I don’t think anyone has found an answer to that sort of conflict ever.
4. The coolest father-in-law: Unarguably, if someone had the guts to oppose the marshal rule put by Maya, it was Indravadhan Sarabhai. The only father-in-law in the history of Indian television to support his daughter-in-law, piss off his wife, irritate Rosesh and put pearls of wisdom in Sahil’s mind, that too, all at the same time. Satish Shah’s perfect comic timing coupled with excellent dialogues written for him did all the wonder and made him the coolest father-in-law ever!
5. The not so sidey characters: Apart from the main characters, the show specialized in having extremely funny and unconventional recurring characters. The most amazing ones that come to my mind are first Madhusudhan Fufa who pulled of the art of being deaf so subtly that it looked almost natural. The second person is undoubtedly Dushyant, Sarabhai senior’s son-in-law, who had a real knack for all things technical and used to explain everything by doing proper practicals, on Rosesh. His “I explain” meant a long winding description about how things work especially useless things like a motor knife. But the best part about their characters was how easily they used to fit in the situation and do their parts in a manner that never looked as something that have to be put in to stretch the tale.
6. The technical talks: A story is never complete without having proper dialogues and an Indian television sitcom needs a bit of background score to go with it too. One thing that people actually loved about the show was that it brought about the idiosyncrasies prevalent in the society and since we all know that a pen is mightier than a sword, the writers of the show really did a mind blowing job. The sarcasms, the middle class and high class accents and mannerisms and especially the awful poetry created magic on the small screen which has stayed with people even after the show was finished. In addition to this, the background score of the show also made a powerful impact on each character, which the viewers enjoyed immensely.
Nine years have passed since the show was conceptualised, but nine years after that, we still long for shows like this. I am sure Gutthi and Palak keep you entertained, but this was one show that left a smile on everyone’s face. A smile which is as heart warming as it was nine years back.