What do you get when you have a gently bubbling mix of comedy and wit, in the simmering cauldron of wistful nostalgia, garnished with the perfect blend of brilliant comic timing and unforgettable cult characters, and topped with generous dollops of the most razor-sharp lines one can imagine? A delicious, mushy, enjoyable, comfort food for the soul, aka Khichdi- that’s what.
Yes people, Khichdi is back! And God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world!
Oh, ok, may be that last line was a bit much. But hey, that’s how overjoyed we are on our favourite comic show finally making a much-awaited comeback. After a long, long hiatus of a decade, Khichdi returns for a third season, on the back of overwhelming public demand. And going by audience response to the first two episodes, the head honchos at Star Plus must be grinning from ear to ear, coz amigos, they’ve found the Holy Grail of entertainment here. Even a cursory glance at social media will tell you how enthused viewers are with the return of the cult classic.
So, as we delve into the weird, crazy world, inhabited by the Parekhs, stay with us to find out how good the show actually is; or bad, for that matter- we’re critiquing the show, for heaven’s sake! It’s our moral responsibility to report the bad too. We just hope fans of Khichdi (the swarming multitudes) won’t beat down our door if we criticize anything about it. so, let’s see what’s brilliant and what’s baloney-
This season has the Parekh family as quirky and eccentric as it always was. Ten years of time out have not taken away even an iota of the characteristic idiosyncrasies that our beloved Parekh clan members are known for. Hansa and Praful are as cutely dim-witted as ever, Jayshree is as caustic as she can possibly be, and Babuji, the lynchpin, is oh-so-lovable, that you want to pull his cheeks in adoration! And, oh yes, there’s Himanshu too– Hansa’s younger brother– whom Babuji refers to as female Hansa in one scene; hilarious, we tell you!
Shows that come back after such a long hiatus mostly fail to make a splash, Sarabhai vs Sarabhai Season 2 being a case in point. But after watching the inaugural episodes of Khichdi, one realizes that this is one show that effortlessly picks up from where it left off. The intervening ten years seem to have melted away into nowhere, like a momentary lapse in time. The show seems fresh as a rose, and it feels just like yesterday when the line ‘Jayshree, chai laa rahi ho ya bahar se mangwaoon?’ used to ring in our ears every night. Hearing this dialogue again, after all those years, was like manna, for a soul parched for true blue comedy shows.
One of the reasons for this may be that all the main actors of the original show have returned to play their original roles in the latest season. Not only that, they’ve slipped into character easily and fit in smoothly like a glove. Astonishingly, they all look and act exactly the same way that they did ten years back. Even Father Time seems to have stopped in his tracks, to accommodate the overwhelming clamour for the show’s reprise.
Anang Desai, as Babuji, holds the show together with panache. Supriya Pathak, as Hansa, and Rajeev Mehta, as Praful, are as silly as ever. His trademark line, ‘Main hoon na, main samjhata hoon’ sounds cute even in today’s age, when mansplaining is a bad word, and guys indulging in it are houded into backing off. Well, Praful’s mansplaining is cute, rather than infuriating. Vandana Pathak, as Jayshree, plays her part with élan. JD Majethia, the producer of the show, steps in to play Himanshu, and he does it with measured goofiness.
For first-time watchers too, the millenials so to say, the show has enough ammo to hold them enthralled. Fed on a steady diet of mediocre shows and ho-hum humour, Khichdi is bound to be like a breath of fresh air for gen-next TV viewers too. The plot is refreshing and singularly unique– at the end of second season, the Parekh clan had sold off their ancestral home to a builder, to be redeveloped into the Parekh Apartments. In this season, we come to know that the builder has conned them and made off with their millions, leaving them with a shell of a building and scores of people, who had bought flats in their building, hounding for their blood. The family lives in the incomplete building, with no walls or roof over their head.
Matters come to a head when a don, Bavaskar Madam– yes, it’s a lady don, ha ha– kidnaps Hansa to recover her dues from Babuji. Renuka Shahane makes an entry as the amusingly benign don; we like! Unaware that she’s been kidnapped, the remaining four go looking for her, in a sequence that is hilariously uproarious. Once in the know, the family sets out to rob a bank to pay off Bavaskar Madam. Their shenanigans and buffoonery, while plotting the thug life, are outrageously funny. Aatish Kapadia, co-producer and writer of the show, has excelled at writing the one-liners and PJs– side-splitting, we tell you.
Well, that was the good. And now for the bad-
While everything about the show is pretty great, we wonder why the makers had to resort to the cheesy tactic of presenting the sundry members of the family in colour-coded outfits. All blue, all red, all orange– heck, it gets irritatingly blinding to our eyes after some time. Parekh family- yayyy, colour-coded Parekh family- nahhh! So there!
Another thing we observed was that, while the entire bunch looks exactly the same even now, their voices have matured quite noticeably. Babuji’s voice has lost its booming quality, just that wee bit, if we may say so. Same goes for Hansa, Praful and Jayshree too. For this reason alone, their trademark punch lines have lost their distinct flavour- again, a very teeny weeny bit, but yes, it is there and it cannot be missed.
That said, the show is great fun to watch and keeps us glued to our seats. Let’s hope it remains that way, and doesn’t lose steam mid-way into the season. We will be the most disappointed ones if that happens. Coz, they just don’t make them like that anymore!
IWMBuzz would rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
(Written by Rashmi Paharia)