“You can take a Gujarati out of Gujarat, but you can’t take Gujarat out of a Gujarati.” This old adage perfectly sums up the world of Kalpesh and Payal Patel, the protagonists of Metro Park, Eros Now’s outrageously funny take on the peculiar human species called the Gujarati.
With money on his mind and the taste of his home state on his tongue, the Gujju (a lovable slang for the Gujarati) will make any place on earth his home but will stick to his roots, just like chewing gum sticks to hair – staunch and steadfast.
That fact notwithstanding, the Gujarati is also enterprising enough to go where no Indian has ever gone before, testing the waters of uncharted shores; and then going on to flourish in those strange climes
A recent report claims that Gujaratis comprise around 33% of the Indian diaspora worldwide and can be found in 129 of the 190 UN-recognized countries of the world, taking their quirks with them wherever they go.
Metro Park is a hilarious and heart-warming nod to the eccentricities and idiosyncrasies of the ubiquitous, globe-trotting Gujju Bhai. Produced by Indian-American film-maker, Giju John, and co-produced by Vikram Rai and Bhuvanesh Shrivastava, this 9-episode sitcom is funny AF.
Kalpesh (Ranvir Shorey) and Payal Patel (Purbi Joshi), are a Gujarati couple, settled in the US of A, New Jersey to be precise. New Jersey, as everyone knows, is over-ridden with Indians of every shape, size and ethnicity. It’s not for nothing that it has been bestowed with the moniker of Little India. Metro Park is the locality in New Jersey where the Patels have set up home. Kalpesh runs a convenience store (duh, what else!) in Metro Park, while Payal has her own beauty salon in partnership with her friend, Sheila (Maya Indraneil Joshi). Sheila is the wife of Kalpesh’s friend, Dinkar Bhai (Indraneil Joshi).
The first episode is dedicated to the arrival in Metro Park, of Payal’s sister Kinjal (Vega Tamotia) and her husband, Kannan (Omi Vaidya). Kinjal is preggers and so the couple has to shift from their pigeon-hole-sized New York City apartment to a larger home. Metro Park is their best bet. Only hitch is that Kannan is a stereotypical South Indian – stand-offish and suspecting.
Kalpesh and Payal have two grown kids, Pankaj (Arnav Joshi) and Munni (Aashmi Joshi), typical ABCDs (that’s American Born Confused Desis for the ignoramuses). Only thing is that the kids are less confused about their roots (where the term actually sprang from) and more confused with the outrageous shenanigans of their parents.
The Bihari Bittu (Pitobash Tripathy), Kalpesh’s employee at his convenience store, completes the motley bunch of characters that populates this breezy series.
Metro Park is light-hearted, gently refreshing and a pleasant change from the usual cuss-and-copulation-laden online fare. It is a series that you can watch with the entire family, kids and elders included, without the need to cringe or look away in embarrassment even once in the entire 9 episodes. Yes, that’s how clean it is. And that is what works in its favour. And that’s not all. Being heavy on Gujarati sensibilities, fafda, gathiya, even Himesh Reshammiya, all get honourable mentions, not once, but several times.
The series gets one into a great mood even when one is screaming blue murder! It is like a gust of pleasant wind that blows over the worst of storms. Get the gist? Well, we hope you do, coz our quota of analogies runneth over. The premise of the series is exceptionally relatable to viewers and strikes a familiar chord- because, after all, we are Indians, and we are like this only!
Each 18-19 minute episode leaves you in splits and is so engrossing that time literally flies; the episode is over before you even realize it. The script brims with subtle, intelligent humour, sparkling witticisms and hilarious one-liners. Ranvir Shorey has got the best lines of the lot. His Kalpesh is witty, satirical and the king of sardonic humour. Several of his dialogues are laugh-out-loud funny. Dialogues apart, Ranvir Shorey is spectacular in his role of Kalpesh Bhai. His body language, accent, tone and mannerisms are just perfect. The actor has definitely transformed into a mature player, able to get, chameleon-like, into the skin of every character handed to him.
All the other actors have put in terrific performances too. But the writing is truly the star of the show, with funny dialogues and funnier situations. Writers of the show, Abi Varghese and Ajayan Venugopalan deserve accolades for this sparkling gem amidst the glut of web series.
The only grouse we have is the gross wastage of Omi Vaidya in a minuscule, he’s-there-but-mostly-he’s-not role. The talents of this multi-faceted, versatile actor should have been leveraged more, in our honest opinion.
That said, Metro Park is like a breath of fresh air- effervescent, yet natural; outstanding, yet garnished with a sprinkling of everydayness. Do watch it folks. You won’t be disappointed!
We, at IWMBuzz, will go with 3/5 for Metro Park.
(Written By Rashmi Paharia)