The pursuit of happiness is a strange thing. Instead of imparting happiness to the pursuer, more often than not, it leads him to be utterly, desperately unhappy and miserable. That’s the lot of the larger majority today. Henry Thoreau once said, “Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”
Time and again, self-help experts will exhort us that true happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions. It is governed by our mental attitude. And therein lies the essence of SAB TV’s new weekend show, Namune.
SAB TV is on a quest to improve the spectrum of its weekend programming. All week long, in keeping with its brand philosophy and slogan- ‘haste raho India’, SAB TV beams hilarious shows, which keep its audiences in splits. Its weekend programming, however, seemed threadbare in comparison, to say the least. To make good the anomaly, SAB has launched a couple of spanking new shows for weekend viewing, one of which is Namune.
Namune also marks actor Manish Raisinghan’s foray into the creative side of production. Having won accolades for his acting chops in various successful TV shows, Manish has now ventured into production. He, along with Swapna Joshi Waghmare, is the creative producer and the brains behind this promising show.
At the heart of the show is an impressively alluring premise. Namune leverages the myriad interesting characters that populate the works of iconic Marathi humourist and playwright, Purshottam Lakshman Deshpande, affectionately called Pu La, by his legion of fans. Each pair of weekend episodes features one character out of Pu La’s works. The show, with the help of these iconic characters, seeks to convey to us, the viewers, that true happiness is to be found in the little things of life.
Pu La, conferred with the title- ‘Maharashtra’s beloved personality’, was a consummate writer, who won many a hearts, with his gentle humour, subtle satire and lovable characters. He is a household name in Maharashtra, owing to his much-loved literary exploits. Iconic characters from his plays come alive in the show. Pu La too makes an appearance, a la Gandhiji in Lage Raho Munnabhai, to guide Niranjan Agnihotri, the sour-humoured protagonist of the show, towards finding real happiness in life and to steer him in the direction of finding joy in the seemingly mundane and everyday moments of life.
Niranjan (Kunal Kumar) works in an insurance company, selling insurance policies for a living. He lives in Mumbai with his wife (Toral Rasputra), mother (Farida Dadi), daughter (Saloni Daini, all grown-up, but cute as a button, still) and son.
One fine day, as Niranjan is particularly frustrated with the vagaries and stress of day-to-day living, he comes across a statue of Pu La in a public garden, with an epitaph below it, expounding the virtues of laughter. He transfers all his frustration onto the statue, rueing the fact that it was easy to laugh and be merry in the olden days, but not in the present, stressful times. That is when the dead writer appears before him and accepts his challenge to spread the joys of laughter and happiness even in present times.
Pu La (Sanjay Mone, looking astonishingly similar to the late doyen) orchestrates the appearance of various characters into Niranjan’s life, all of whom leave a deep impression and profound message in their wake. The interesting thing about these characters is that all of them have been gleaned from P.L. Deshpande’s written works. These characters are the titular namune– the outliers, the divergents; one among us, yet different. These namunes troop in and out of Niranjan’s life, teaching him a thing or two about…well…life.
The first two episodes feature Good Samaritan, Chandu (Paresh Ganatra) – aka Gambu from one of Pu La’s plays. Chandu is a selfless do-gooder, always smiling, always cheerful, lending a helping hand to whoever needs it. Niranjan’s family finds Chandu’s selfless nature too good to be true. They try to find the chink in his armour, to no avail. Chandu teaches Niranjan that goodness resides amongst us, but our cynical outlook fails to recognise it. Bravo! What a heart-warming message to convey!
The next two episodes feature a soft-hearted don, Joginder Singh (Sushant Singh), another character straight out of Pu La’s works. Joginder Singh holds Niranjan’s family hostage, in a bid to escape from the police. But, as it turns out, Jogi Don is Niranjan’s long-lost childhood friend Dabbu. Gradually, we learn that the don is a modern-day Robin Hood, looting the corrupt to help the poor. Jogi Don teaches Niranjan that there’s always an underlying reason for people turning rogue. Such people are actually good at heart and entirely worthy of redemption. This, again, was a touching segment, with a powerful message at its end.
The show is inspiring and uplifting, while the storyline is distinctly innovative. All the actors perform superbly, staying true to character and eliciting laughter with their antics. The sparkling humour and implausible happenings in the show keep us firmly glued to our seats. The coming episodes are set to feature stalwarts of the TV and theatre industry– Dilip Prabhawalkar, Deven Bhojvani, Subosh Bhave– are a few, slated to make an appearance as eminent Pu La characters. The show is bound to get even more interesting, as it gathers steam in the coming weeks.
Overall, Namune is an honest-to-goodness attempt from SAB TV to present content with a different flavour, style and essence. There’s everything to like, in this nouveau offering of the channel. The show beams at 9 pm, every Saturday and Sunday, on Sony SAB TV.
We, at IWMBuzz, rate Namune, 3/5.
(Written by Rashmi Paharia)