Horror sure is the flavour of the season. No wonder, after dayans and chudails ruling the TV roost in heavy drama, now we even have spooky comedy. Say hello to the new SAB TV show, Band Baja Bandh Darwaza.
Indian TV sadly can’t get beyond the me-too syndrome. No one wants to push the envelope in terms of tracks and genres.
The plot line of this weekender bi-weekly is interesting. Bachelor Sanjeev Sharma (Mukesh Tiwari), who had been dumped at the altar years back, dies and becomes a ghost, and decides to get back by scuttling the marriage plans of his ex, Sarita Sharma’s (Neelu Kohli) singer son, Rocky Khurana’s (Amitosh Nagpal) wedding.
The opening scene was quite cathartic. Sanjeev’s funeral processions intersect a baraat where Rooky is crooning Munni Badnam Hui. He can sing as both a guy and girl. Life meets death quite quirkily, and the boy loses his voice.
The following scene, where Rocky’s father Chandan Khurana (Rajendra Sethi) asks the son to relieve himself in the bushes was also a sad comment on the lack of civic sense among Indians. The setting is Ambala, Punjab.
Apart from Mukesh, among the actors who stood out in the first 2 episodes telecast were Neelu and Rajendra, who brought out the Punjabiyat with elan, with their mannerisms, languages and costumes. The nok-jhok between Sarita’s mother (Amardeep Jha) and husband is best, who still laments that her daughter blew up a good match by eloping with her wedding trumpeter. The family is complete with Sarita’s younger school-going daughter, who pokes fun at her shy brother’s matchmaking efforts.
Sanjeev first wreaks havoc by scaring away the painters who had been appointed to spruce up one room in the house, which now become his den; hence the title. Fearing possession, the family calls on a tantric who, after many jokes, says that the ghost appears to be newly minted. So they start trawling through obituary columns to find out that it might be the same guy whom Sarita had jilted years back.
In the meantime, one girl’s family comes to see Rocky for marriage. But dead Sanjeev misbehaves with the girl, which obviously makes her and her family walk out in a huff. By then the news has spread that the house is indeed haunted.
Chandan then turns to the matchmaker, lead girl Sneha (Aashita), who agrees to find his son a match. But he never tells her the real truth about the ghost and neither does she care to find out more. This is another dig at matchmakers, who are more interested in their commission than in finding out the real truth.
Subsequent episodes will see how Sanjeev attempts to scare away all the interested suitors. Obviously, eventually sparks will fly between Sneha and Rocky.
Mukesh (Golmaal fame) is an actor par excellence and yet again shows his wares. The best part is that here he is not overacting; rather, he underplays the ghost angle which makes it more fun. His ‘what is the connection’ dialogue is quite well played out.
Neelu is spot on as a loving mother/wife. It would be fun to see how she deals with the ghost who obviously still holds a torch for her. Mukesh’s expressions are perfect when he approaches her.
If someone has taken the cake with the bakery, it has to be the long-haired Rajendra. This veteran deftly handles a typical loud-mouthed character without making him look bad.
Interestingly, so far the emphasis seems to be on the older characters; lead character Rocky seems to be in the background. Let’s see how much his character opens up in the near term. Interestingly, Amitosh himself is one of the producers and is the writer too (Tuk Tuk Picture Company). We are sure there will be several scenes between Rocky and Sneha as the episodes go by.
Aashita’s character is a typical boisterous Punjabi kudi. She looks apt for the role. Hope she adds some nuances, else it will look like been there done that.
Given the comic genre, the spooks are funnier and don’t scare. Here, rather than hating the ghost, you feel sorry for him and want him to win.
The show seems to have started off at a good canter, without wasting time to get to the crux. Also, since it is only a 26-episode series, the plot won’t drag, which is the bane of desi stuff.
One more positive is that along with the linear track, each weekend will see cameo appearances by various female characters as Rocky’s prospective wife, and their families, adding freshness to the narrative. Given the limited option of comic horror, the makers have smartly kept it limited.
Must say, intelligent writing by the new Producers on the block – Maqbool Khan, Amitosh Nagpal and Pramod Dwivedi. They have been in business in the creative field for quite sometime and we expect them to be at their best!!
IWMBuzz.com gives the show 3.5 out of 5 stars.