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Making it happen (From left) Sumeet Raghvan, Ali Asgar, Juhi Babbar, Anant Mahadevan and Swapnil Joshi in New Delhi

Making it happen (From left) Sumeet Raghvan, Ali Asgar, Juhi Babbar, Anant Mahadevan and Swapnil Joshi in New Delhi   | Photo Credit: Photo: Sandeep Saxena



“Ghar Ki Baat Hai” intends to bring back the sitcom culture



Like fashion, entertainment also works in cycles. A few years ago nobody was ready to touch comedy, today nothing can touch the genre at its top slot. So when Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment decides to test the soapy waters of television, it chooses to play by the mood of the moment. Shah Rukh relies on his mentor, Aziz Mirza, who has brought out Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, and poured it into the proverbial new bottle. We know the association of Mirza and Kundan Shah, who directed the Yeh Jo Hai…go back a long way and so quite obviously, the good old man called it Ghar Ki Baat Hai. The series made its debut on NDTV Imagine this past weekend.

Replacing the legendary cast of Shafi Inamdar, Swaroop Sampat, Rakesh Bedi and Satish Shah are the present masters of comedy, Sumeet Raghvan, Swapnil Joshi and Ali Asgar. Juhi Babbar makes her small screen debut with the series. If in the original Kishore Kumar rendered the title track, this time it is Sukhwinder Singh.

‘Fresh concepts’

Mirza will provide only creative inputs, the series director is Anant Mahadevan, who started as an actor with serials like Ados Pados, and is celebrating 25 years of association with the medium with Ghar Ki Baat Hai. “I wanted to celebrate by reviving a classic. Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, was among the first serials out of Doordarshan in the sponsored category. I have worked with Shah Rukh and Mirza sahib in Circus. In a sense life has come a full circle for me.” He rues the fact that comedy has become farcical and over the top on television. “It is an attempt to bring back that classic sitcom culture. We will try to find the fun element in something realistic and believable without hurting anybody’s sentiments.” He refuses to term Ghar Ki Baat Hai a remake. “The characters are the same, the concepts are fresh,” he insists.

A look at the rushes, however, reminds you of the original. Remember that sofa-cum-bed episode? This time it has become a lot more up market. That’s all. Ali defends it. “If you have seen the original and you watch it with the mindset of a critic, you will find enough points but for an ordinary housewife or a man returning home after a hard day’s work, there are enough points to bring a smile on their faces.”

Anant says Shah Rukh’s brief was to make something that the entire family can watch together. Even the makers of Comedy Circus claimed something similar, but after a few episodes of low TRPs the jokes began to shift below the belt. Pointing towards Ali and Swapnil, the actors who are largely responsible for making Comedy Circus a success, Anant says, they have exploited their quota of such jokes in Comedy Circus. Now they are left with just family jokes!” He promises to bring characters back in comedies, which of late have been reduced to caricatures.



ANUJ KUMAR

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