Baarish 2 (ALT Balaji-ZEE5)
Starring Sharman Joshi, Asha Negi
Rating: * ½
For the flimsiest of excuses, it starts to rain in Baarish 2. Perhaps they wanted to create a sustained mood of love nostalgia and ecstasy and all the romance that’s associated with the rains. But I’ve sat stranded at home with neck-deep after the rains last monsoon. And that’s exactly how I felt as I sat again at home during this lockdown, watching yet another not so impressive series on Indian web from ZEE5 and ALTBalaji.
I really thought it couldn’t get any worse. But it just did! Baarish 2 is like a Kalpataru family drama from the 1960s, rebooted when in fact it should have just been booted. Period! What was the think tank thinking? When we first meet Anuj (Sharman Joshi) and his wife Gauravi (Asha Negi) they are heading for a divorce. Judge Sahiba tries hard not to giggle as she tells them to go for counseling. We try hard not to giggle as the marriage counsellor turns out to be veteran actor Jeetendra who, apropos nothing, is the series producer’s father.
Baarish 2 tells us children can be ungrateful, as Anuj’s siblings turn on him, like Prem Chopra in Raj Khosla’s classic film Do Raaste. That came nearly 50 years ago. And that’s where this series belongs.
Here, I must pause for a deep breath, as I often found myself doing while wading through the 11-episode slush in Baarish 2. I must tell you about the young actress who plays Anuj’s wretchedly toxic sister Shreya. The actress Priya Bannerjee (I did some serious research on her identity) seems to have so much fun being mean and vicious, and really, she is the life and breath of this semi-comatose series. Shreya loves stalking her husband Aniket (Vikram Chauhan) whom she won’t divorce because, well, she is a bitch, and another guy whom she inveigles in the swimming pool because well, where else will she flaunts her bikini body? This woman has not heard of the MenToo movement because she probably was the reason it was incepted.
Okay , I am only kidding. And I hoped the serial too was a joke on us to lighten the load of lockdown. But no. We are supposed to care about Anuj and Gauravi’s marriage falling apart as he gets busy trying to make money. She too gets busy first going to jail for reasons that are as uncertain as the duration of the lockdown. Later Gauravi joins a lawfirm, where, as sure as hell, the boss gives off the lovey-dovey vibes. Their conversation opens like this.
Boss: “I’ve just had a horrible breakup this morning.”
Gauravi: “Oh I am so sorry. It is entirely the girl’s loss.”
Boss: “How do you know it’s a girl?”
How do we know? Because our serials, even on the tech-happy platform are fiercely conventional. We are still stuck in the era when the middle-class wife makes tiffin for her husband as he rushes to work. You see, wives must stay home. Because if they go out to work, they bump into men who flirt with them. That’s how we know it’s a woman Gauravi’s boss has broken up with. It can’t be any other way. Not here. Not this time.
It’s sad to see an actor like Sharman Joshi struggling to keep his head above the (baarish) water. When he is forced to do a kissing sequence with his screen-wife Sharman looks like he has just discovered why he was one of the idiots in Raj Kumar Hirani’s film.