Mind the Malhotras review: Amazon Prime sitcom is a refreshing change as Mini Mathur, Cyrus Sahukar steal the show
After a spate of dramas across Indian OTT platforms, Mind the Malhotras is a refreshing change. This adaptation of the Israeli show La Famiglia unwraps the Malhotra family’s daily issues. Many of these are exaggerated, of course, and some are familiar.
Writers Sahil Sangha and Karan Sharma blend local flavour with the largely exact adaptation, and the show has been directed by Sangha and Ajay Bhuyan.
Cyrus Sahukar and Mini Mathur play Rishabh and Shefali Malhotra, an upwardly mobile couple with three children and a perfectly appointed house. In an attempt to bridge a communication gap, and taking pre-emptive action after hearing of several of their peers considering divorce, Rishabh and Shefali sign up for couple’s counselling. During the weekly visits to Dr. Gulfam Rastogi (Denzil Smith), as they recount details of their week to the therapist, we learn of the drama in the Malhotra household. A number of their issues are familiar to urban couples – keeping up appearances, parenting, a pesky mother-in-law (Sushmita Mukherjee, expectedly overplaying it) and the idiosyncrasies of their three children Jia, Dia and Yohan. The only other recurring character in this compact show is the domestic help, who is also Rishabh’s bestie.
The Malhotras are not winning any accolades for parenting. They are stumbling through life one minor squabble and one gossip headline at a time.
During the first session, notice that the Malhotras are sitting close to one another, holding hands. But by the end of the session, as their differences in opinion and perspectives get aired, they have shifted to opposite ends of the couch. One of the funnier gags is when the good doctor suggests that the Malhotras indulge in some role-play to spice things up in the bedroom.
For some time, the Punjabi-ness of the family misled me into believing that the show was set in Delhi. It came as a surprise to learn that the Malhotras live in the trendy neighbourhood of Bandra in Mumbai. Since the show is primarily shot on two sets – the Malhotra duplex and Dr. Rastogi’s clinic -- there are few indicators of the city environment.
Each episode of the nine part series is a complete story and allows you to pick and choose rather than follow the current trend of breathless binge watching. However, a sitcom requires energy and quickfire jokes but Mind the Malhotras feels very dated in its production values, loose in editing and the copy-paste of the original has not translated seamlessly to contemporary urban Indian family dynamics.
Sahukar and Mathur have an easy banter and chemistry that makes their comfortable-like-an-old-shoe relationship believable. And that’s critical as the lead pair is present in every scene. The two actors pull off the comedy and keep you interested in the Malhotras even when unimaginative writing and direction lets them down.
‘Mind the Malhotras’ is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Rating: 2.5 | ★★ & half
Updated Date: Jun 07, 2019 15:28:54 IST