Sarabhai vs Sarabhai – Can we Take 2?

“Praful… Whaat isss?”, “Sahil, main ghar chhod ke ja rahi hu!”, “Kuch sikhaya nahi maa baap ne; bas bhej diya!” are few of the dialogues tattooed in our minds. I remember a friend of mine use to think of her as “Jayshree” from Khichdi! She would enjoy if other kids from the class will tease her by calling her “Jayshreeee…!” when she goofs up. That was the impact of HatsOff Production, which gave us series like Khichdi, Sarabhai vs Sarabhai and Baa Bahu aur Baby, in days back then.

In the age when television rules the masses, JD Majethia and his team were ruling television in their own ways. Their formulae was based on a very simple template:

  • Don’t come out too strong: When every other show was going for prime time 5 days a week (sometimes even Saturdays weren’t spared), they relied on airing their shows weekly. You need some time to miss the show as well, otherwise it becomes mundane. It’s like being in a relationship. Imagine if you start working with your spouse in the same office… I once asked this question to my ex-colleague. “We need some time to miss each other”, was her reply.
  • Keep it simple: Comedy was their genre! But instead of curating comedy for family audience, they created shows on “aam janta” whose lives are already full of comedy. All you need is a good team to justice.
  • Team is valuable: They build a team which can wear multiple hats. The director is acting in the show as well: Devan Bhojani, who played the character of Dushyant, won many awards as director for Sarabhai vs Sarabhai. When your creative team dons the acting armor, they understand the content to the fullest. Beloved “Sarabhai vs Sarabhai” is the classical example.

Sarabhai vs Sarabhai – The Cult Show!

Although, their first show “Khichdi” was a decent hit, the show that brought them the limelight has been Sarabhai! Not many will know that the show was a disaster and garnered low viewership before it was closed. It got appreciated by some during its run as they were able to connect with the portrayal of an upscale family. For the masses, though, it seemed too aspirational back then and the show couldn’t do justice to the audience.

Content is of great importance, but we must not underestimate the value of style

– Maya Angelou

Indu doing for “Yamraj” just to pull a joke on Maya, remember??

You understand the true value of something when it’s no longer with you. People took their own time to understand the style of the show. It was only after reruns, the series started gaining the cult following! The chemistry of the character was always spot on, the quirks of Maya-Monisha were always amusing, the comic timing of Satish Shah and Sumeet Raghavan doesn’t need any introduction and not to forget the irritatingly cute poet in Rosesh was a treat to watch. As soon as people started relating to characters in their own way, “Take 2” was catapulted to the most awaited sequel of generation.

Sequels – Do we really need them?

Short span-serials with sequels are common in west. Series like Friends, Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory (to name a few) have been tickling audience’s funny bone from long. In India, on the other hand, sequels have been used as a means of generating money! There are only handful of shows or movies which have been able to do justice to its predecessor. More often than not, audience felt cheated. Cheated of time!

HatsOff Production was one of the early users to adopt the Western model of airing their shows (Khichdi) in seasons. So, the demand of audience was fair when they wanted their now favorite show, Sarabhai vs Sarabhai, to come back too. And they wanted it to live up to their expectations. No cheatings with our beloved show!

The Wait…

Makers were aware of the expectations. Recently, in an interview with Bollywood Life, JD Majethia admitted that they made season one with no expectations but for “Take 2”, the expectations were huge as the fans have been waiting for more than a decade. A Decade, Really? That’s a long time!

Even a school kid will be able to say that season 2 would have been a super hit based on a simple “Demand-Supply Law”. Not to forget the never ending sequel trails in the entertainment industry. Producers have been churning one sequel after another (with or without demand). Sarabhai had written 1000 episodes all over it, when it comes out to public. But, the makers waited… audience waited… even the cast waited… We all wanted to hear no matter how or whyyyyy, Sarabhai vs Sarabhaiiii…

Sarabhai vs Sarabhai Take 2 – Fake Too!

And so there it was! A reason for all the fans to be delighted, the show made the comeback after 12 years, introduced as “clean bhi” “crraazzy bhi!”. Also the crew coming in together for name suggestions generated more buzz! And “Take 2” was born!

Personally, I am a big fan of the series and was really happy when I heard the show is returning and will be available on Hotstar every Tuesday. Like everyone else I had my share of expectations from the show.

Honestly, the show fell flat for me. Yes the chemistry was intact, the setup was escalated while preserving the soul, the actors still do wonders, but it all seemed a fake attempt to serve a regular wine in a 12 year old bottle. It didn’t felt like the wine has got better with age! Seriously, the only character who created some good old magic is Jasmine (coincidently, the newcomer). It may be done on purpose, but, Jasmine’s character resembles to fake wife of Rosesh from episode 48 in season 1: “Rita”. The others, on the other hand, seemed lackluster.

Rosesh and Rita from Episode 48

Sarabhai vs Sarabhai Take 2 –  Cake Too!

A cake is a cake. Even if you are dieting, you tend to have one cheat day! Tuesdays were mine. Maya-Monisha, Sahil, Indu-Rosesh and newly added Rita Jasmine and cute little Arnab are characters worth meeting every week.

More importantly, though, my respect for the team have gone up 10 folds even when the show was not as per the high standards set by its prequel.

Unlike, other production houses or businessmen, this team did not try to lure us into something based on just the name. As I said, the sequel was so highly anticipated that it had “1000 episodes” written all over it, but the makers decided  to only do a mini-series of 10 episodes so as to test the waters.

Excerpts from JD Majethia’s interview:

Can we expect to see it on television in future?

If it comes back on television the people, who couldn’t watch Take two because of it being on a digital platform, might watch it. That will increase the total viewership of Sarabhai brand (Season one and Season two combined), which will further help us create a fan base for season 3. We will take that decision after six months.

Now that is awesome! He is willing to wait and see if the content is being really appreciated and accepted. Only then, they will continue with it. Instead of knowing that the show was a super hit even when it didn’t exist.

Sarabhai vs Sarabhai Take 2 was like Mango! It came for a short season. Not all mangoes are going to be good in a given season, but you should enjoy it while they last!

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