Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai Take 2 review: Clean comedy show torn between classes and masses
Mountains of expectations rode on Sarabhai vs Sarabhai Take 2 as the popular urban sitcom from 2000s returned to the screen, though digitally, after an 11-year itch. It would have been easy to succumb to the weight of those expectations but the Sarabhai family bounced back despite not putting their best foot forward.
While there were many who could not gain access to the show because of digital illiteracy, there were others who gave up watching the show after the first few episodes as they found the content 'dumbed down'. But to its credit, it is the cleanest show on the Indian streaming services.
Then what was the point of reintroducing it on the digital platform of Hotstar? Was it doubts regarding acceptance of such a clean show by the internet audience who have been introduced to superlative content worldwide on the same streaming services? But had the show been reintroduced on television, it would have been accountable for TRPs to the channel which is dominated by shows in the Naagin and Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai prototype.
Thus, Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai found itself torn between two platforms that had merits and demerits of their own. While the makers knew what they were getting into, they were also confident that the merits will trump the demerits. Unfortunately, it did not work out that way as a large section of the audience received the second season as if it is discounting their intelligence, which was evident through its talking-to-the-camera narrative in parts.
But personally, I found the comic timings of the star cast as impeccable as they were in the past decade. The tension between Maya Sarabhai (Rathna Pathak Shah) and Rosesh (Rajesh Kumar) was a great path to tread further on. Sahil and Indravardhan also brought out their respective peacemaker and conspirator personas effortlessly.
While Jasmine was a great addition to the crazy cart of characters, Monisha (played by Rupa Ganguly) served to be the weakest link, owing to her over the top performance and losing out a major chunk of footage to Jasmine.
The writing, by Aatish Kapadia, was not as layered as the first one. In the first season, dialogues were crisp which lent more burns. But this time felt like there was a sarcasm check imposed on the entire series. Even Indravardhan did not insult Rosesh as much as he did in the past seasons.
While Maya served sumptuous doses of sarcasm to Monisha and Jasmine, her 'Monisha Murdabad' list was no where in comparison to the endless list of a middle class woman's diary that she had 'by-hearted' in the first season.
Besides the writing, the biggest drawback of Take 2 was its production design. The sets of their not-so-humble abodes appeared so synthetic and staged that they never allowed the audience to take the comedy seriously, an oxymoron that Sarabhai vs Sarabhai had always been known for.
Having spelled out its shortcomings, I am of the view that there should be a Take 3. Though I hope it is not called 'Take 3', I completely support the makers' decision to revive the series with another season. While the writing may not be up to the mark, the characters are pretty much still as fleshed out and memorable.
For all the loyalists who stuck to the show till the end are surely going to face Tuesday blues. I am sure they will find some other show to keep them entertained but will certainly rejoice at the thought of Sarabhai vs Sarabhai returning to their screens for another season.
Amen to that! If the makers are reading, we do hope you do not take another eleven years to do the obvious.
All images by Devansh Sharma.