Applause Entertainment has made it its mission to ply our senses with digital content that is as different from each other as the Tundra is from the Savannah. After bringing us a crime and suspense thriller, and an intriguing political power struggle, and then a kidnap-and-hostage drama, all of which kept viewers on the edge of their seats in thrall and anticipation, Applause’s next has them ROFL; that is, rolling on the floor with laughter.
Mind The Malhotras, Applause’s latest, is a zany, rollickingly funny take on the travails of an about- to-hit-forty couple that is going through a mid-life crisis. Adapted from the Israeli series, ‘La Familigia’, the 9-episode series has been written by Sahil Sangha and Karan Sharma, while it has been directed by Sangha and Ajay Bhuyan. Sahil Sangha and wife, Dia Mirza’s production company,
Born Free Entertainment has produced it in conjuction with Applause Entertainment, and the series streams on Amazon Prime.
Shefali and Rishabh Malhotra (Mini Mathur and Cyrus Sahukar, respectively) are a relatively rich Bandra couple, bickering, bantering and winging their way through life. The parents of two teenaged girls and a precocious little son are more or less happy with their stock in life, but exasperated with the increasingly crumbling marriages around them.
Four out of five couples among their friends have opted for divorce and they fear they could be next. They decide to go in for marriage counselling. Whether they actually need it or not is beside the point. In the crazy, comic world they inhabit, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Shef, (Rishabh lovingly addresses her thus, and she calls him Rish) especially, has a penchant for taking matters into her
own hands before they snowball into situations beyond her control. She devises hair-brained and hilarious plans to take charge of problems, problems that exist only in that vividly imaginative brain of hers.
Just like that, Shef decides that they need to see the therapist asap, in order to save their marriage. Enter marriage counsellor-cum-shrink, Dr Gulfam Rastogi, and his droll therapy sessions. Dr Gulfam delves deeper into their seemingly perfect married life, and that’s when the issues come tumbling out in stupefying succession.
Intruding mother-in-law worries, snooty neighbours, lack of steamy action between the sheets (the couple prefers binge-watching previous seasons of MasterChef in bed over making out), kid capers, all contribute to the growing pile of issues that the couple has conveniently brushed under the carpet until now. Another bone in Shef’s throat is their domestic help, Zoru (Rahul Verma), for, much to her annoyance, Zoru takes centre-stage in Rishabh’s life – over her, over the kids and over everything else. Their relationship verges on the edge of certified bromance, adding to Shef’s wad of woes.
The series is replete with rib-tickling incidents that make one laugh out loud. A particularly funny one is when Dr Gulfam advises them to try role-playing to bring the spark back into their sex life. The Basanti and Thakur sequence is hilarious, to say the least, as is the Catwoman and Batman one.
The episodes involving the couple’s three kids are rip-roaringly funny and highly entertaining, especially when the duo meets with their daughters’, Dia (Nikki Sharma) and Jia’s (Anandita Pagnis) respective boyfriends. The sequences have one laughing out loud at the hilarity of the couple and their brazen glee at manipulating their kids’ lives to steer it in the direction they deem fit; which is often misguided and mistaken, if one may add. The two really are alike as peas in a pod in their flawed thinking and Machiavellian mindset; and one wonders at the need of therapy for this thick-as-thieves couple.
While the series deals with the usual perils of married life, what makes this series so uproariously funny is that the husband-wife duo goes about it with witty repartee and sharp one-liners as their armour. Light-hearted, breezy and gently refreshing, the series gets one into a great mood even when one is screaming blue murder.
Shefali could so easily have turned into a character that is screechy and shrewish, but Mini Mathur’s understated and measured performance lends subtleness and style to her role. She mouths her lines so matter-of-factly, that the viewer is drawn into the episode. It is a commendable web and acting debut from Mathur, who’s been a consummate VJ and host until now.
Cyrus Sahukar, of course, is outstanding. His acting, sloshed with hidden nuances and chutzpah, and his screen presence, amazing and attention-grabbing, help getting us invested into his harried, henpecked husband act. And we all are familiar with his impeccable comic timing, the cherry on the proverbial cake.
The actors that play the kids’ roles are equally good and hold their own in the presence of the powerhouse of talent in their midst. Sushmita Mukherjee as the meddling mother-in-law adds heft to the cast, perfect as it already is.
The dialogues brim with sparkling humour and are intelligent AF. The ones where Rishabh sneaks in insinuations at the Doc for his expensive consultations had us laughing out loud. We admit that the first few episodes veered toward monotony, but the series gathers steam in the next several episodes, and becomes decidedly funnier and crazier as it moves forward – makes us glad that we persisted watching till the very end.
And we recommend you do the same. Watch it asap, folks!
In the meanwhile, 3.5/5 is our rating for Mind The Malhotras.