|Sarabhai vs Sarabhai|
|Written by||Aatish Kapadia|
|Directed by||Deven Bhojani|
|Country of origin||India|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||80 (list of episodes)|
|Production company||Hats Off Productions|
|Original release||8 November 2004 –|
17 July 2017
Sarabhai vs Sarabhai is an Indian sitcom ran on STAR One from 8 November 2004 to 11 September 2006 and on Hotstar from 15 May 2017 to 17 July 2017 for two seasons. The show was created by Jamnadas Majethia and Aatish Kapadia, directed by Deven Bhojani. Starring an ensemble cast including; Satish Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah, Sumeet Raghavan, Rupali Ganguly, and Rajesh Kumar, it revolves around a quintessential upper-class family living in South Mumbai. The series was produced by Hats Off Productions. Regarded as being ahead of its generation in terms of its concept and writing and having average viewership ratings at the time of its initial release, over the years it has become a cult classic and is widely regarded as being one of the greatest Indian comedy shows of all time.
The show revolves around the life of an upper class Gujarati family, the Sarabhai's, who live in a luxury apartment building, and later in penthouses, in the upmarket Cuffe Parade area of South Mumbai.
The family consists of Maya and Indravadan Sarabhai, who have three children.
Sahil, the eldest, lives in the apartment opposite them with his middle-class wife Monisha. Sahil is a cosmetology doctor and is very composed as compared to the other characters. Monisha's middle-class habits irk Maya, a snooty and snobbish socialite. She constantly insults her with "light-hearted jokes" and attempts to correct her ways but in vain.
Maya and Indravadan's second child, Sonia, is a psychic, married to a technician Dushyant, who irritates the family by explaining everything about machines. His catchphrase is "I'll explain."
The youngest child, Rosesh, is a poet and actor, whose poems are a constant source of comedy for the show. Indravadan loves to torture Rosesh and taunts his poetry, and him, for being his "Momma"'s a puppet. He is unmarried and lives with his parents.
The other characters in the family include Indravadan's sister Ila, and her tone-deaf husband Madhusudan, whose catchphrase is "Hain?"
Comedy and conflict ensue in the daily events happening in the Sarabhai's lives.
Much of the humor in the show is derived from the shallow interactions among the city's elite and their perceived notions of the shortcomings and failings of middle-class society. It has a cult-like status among all the Indian sitcoms.
The series featured five principal characters throughout its run:
This section needs expansion of characters as characters of Indravadhan's mom, Kaccha Kela, etc. are not written and the recurring cast section also needs expansion for the description of the cast.
- Indravadan Sarabhai: Satish Shah portrays Indravadan Sarabhai a.k.a. Indu, who is an ex-director of a multinational company. He retired early to take care of the children and help Maya work as a social worker. He constantly picks on Maya and Rosesh, always siding with Monisha in case of a tiff between her and Maya, and constantly tries to create conflicts by ratting Sahil out to them, or them out to each other. He is irritated by his brother-in-law Madhusudan Bhai and his "hain?"s the most, as well as Dushyant, his son-in-law. He is the jester in the family and has attained the title of "Narad Muni", the court jester in Hindu mythology.
- Maya Sarabhai: Ratna Pathak Shah. She is the female head of the Sarabhai family and runs the family like a pro. Being a snotty upper-class socialite, her daughter-in-law Monisha's middle-class money-saving techniques and unkempt behavior are constant pet peeves for Maya. Her catchphrase is "It's so middle class!", and she continually uses sarcasm to taunt Monisha and make her see the error of her ways. She is constantly after Indravadan to fix his dietary and cleanliness habits, not much unlike Monisha and pampers her younger son Rosesh, also making sure he doesn't take a middle-class wife like Sahil. Her son-in-law Dushyant also irritates her by dropping in every time an appliance is damaged.
- Sahil Sarabhai: Sumeet Raghavan portrays Sahil Sarabhai, a cosmetic surgeon. He is the eldest child, and arguably the most normal one in his otherwise eccentric family. He is soft, calm, wise and noble, and is constantly trying to resolve conflicts in his family, between Maya and Monisha, Maya and Indravadan and Indravadan and Rosesh. He often gets sandwiched between his mother and his wife, and tries not to hurt anyone. He avoids conflicts but loves making fun of his younger brother Rosesh, similar to Indravadan.
- Monisha/Manisha Singh Sarabhai: Rupali Ganguly is a middle class, Punjabi girl from Noida and now the daughter-in-law of the Sarabhais. She rarely cleans the house and is always lazing around watching daily soaps on the television. She develops a dramatic nature from these shows and always ends up saying "Main Ghar chhorke ja rahi hu!" to Sahil after every argument with Maya. Her passion is to save money, come what may. She is always at loggerheads with Maya for her thrifty ways. Her father-in-law always supports her, while Sahil is torn between the two. Despite being careless, Monisha is an honest, innocent and loving woman. Manisha was named Monisha by Maya as she found the name Manisha 'too middle-class.'
- Rosesh Sarabhai: Rajesh Kumar portrays Rosesh Sarabhai, the youngest child of Maya and Indravadan. He is a theatre artist, an aspiring actor and a poet. He is Maya's favorite and she pampers him a lot. He wants to become an actor and his mother Maya supports him the most. Maya is the only member of the Sarabhai family who approves of and appreciates his absurd poetry and acting skills. He has a love-hate relationship with Indravadan as he is always the target of his jokes and pranks. He always seconds his "Momma," even if he doesn't feel like it. He has a peculiar and amusing voice, and his poems are always bad but funny.
Other recurring characters include:
1. Ila ben, Indravadan's sister, portrayed by Rita Bhaduri
2. Madhusudhanbhai, the hearing-impaired brother-in-law of Indravadan Sarabhai, portrayed by Arvind Vaidya
3. Dushyant Painter, the tech-freak son-in-law of the Sarabhai's, portrayed by Deven Bhojani
5. Radha bai, maid to the Sarabhai's
6. Vithal, Ghanashyam Nayak plays the character of a servant working in the Sarabhai residence
Season 2 introduced some new characters: Arnab Sarabhai a.k.a. Guddu, the 7-year-old son of Monisha and Sahil, as well as Jasmine Mavani, an actor and singer from Jamnagar, Rosesh's love interest portrayed by Vaibhavi Upadhyay.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||70||8 November 2004||16 April 2006|
|2||10||15 May 2017||17 July 2017|
Being the season that gained this show its immense popularity among South Asian viewers, Season 1 aired in 2004. It revolves around the lives of the 5 main characters portraying conflicts in different contexts, revolving around the themes of family life and the upper-class of Mumbai. The season features a variety of supporting characters that intertwine with the lives of the main 5, for drama and comedic purposes. An overlaying plot (especially towards the end) is Rosesh's quest for a girl. Throughout the season we meet different potential suitors, with extreme traits that clash with different members of the house. Other common plots are: Monisha v/s Maya conflicts in terms of her 'Middle Class' behavior, and Saahil often finding himself stuck in the middle of this conflict. Indhravadhan, Maya's husband is often found sparking these conflicts for his own enjoyment. Throughout the season, the characters experience different social and emotional 'adventures' delving into their relationships, conflicts, interactions, and history. In the final episode, the principal characters are seen stating that there would be another season of the series. On the Hotstar streaming app, the episode where Rosesh published his poetry book is not available.
Season 2 (Sarabhai vs Sarabhai: Take 2)
After eleven years, the life of the Sarabhai family has not changed much. Now Monisha and Sahil have a seven years old son Aurnob a.k.a. Guddu and finally, Rosesh has found his love interest Jasmine Mavani also gaining the main role in a TV serial which he eventually loses. The family has moved to new penthouses. The season ended with Monisha and Sahil divorcing each other:indicating for a new season to come.
- Season 1
The show was produced by Jamnadas Majethia under the banner of Hatsoff Productions. The show was directed by Deven Bhojani and the story and screenplay were written by Atish Kapadia. Sahil and Monisha are married and are living across Sahil's parents, Indravadan and Maya Sarabhai, with Rosesh, their son, and Sahil's younger brother. Maya constantly taunts Monisha because of her behavior and language tone and constantly refers to her as "middle class." Sahil in the entire series is kind of stuck between whether to take his wife's side or his mother's. Meanwhile, Indravadan supports his daughter-in-law all the time. Rosesh, on the other side, is an actor who writes poetry that Sahil and Indravadan dislike. Rosesh is a momma's boy and Maya's favorite son. Maya is a classy and sophisticated woman. The series goes through various events involving their lives.
- Season 2 (Sarabhai vs Sarabhai: Take 2)
During the finale of season 1 the cast of the series confirmed returning with a new season. However in 2012, Deven Bhojani denied that the series would return. The cast reunited in June 2016 over the belated 65th birthday party of Satish Shah, when the future of the show was discussed. The producer Jamnadas Majethia promised some good news for the fans. Later, the actors of the show confirmed the return of the new season as a web series entitled Sarabhai vs Sarabhai: Take 2. The series was picked up by Hotstar with the same cast, and the story is set after seven years of the last season's conclusion.
The first season was shot on sets located at Kanjur Marg in suburban Mumbai. The cast were provided with their own rooms backstage with nameplates with each character's name for rehearsals and preparations.
Many of the characters in the Marathi series produced by Hats Off production as Madhuri Middle Class in 2014 on Star Pravah were inspired from Sarabhai, despite being a different story and character backgrounds. The show was unofficially adapted in Pakistan as Chana Jor Garam.
Season 1 was broadcast from 2004 to 2006 on STAR One. Reruns of the series also aired on sister channel Star Utsav. Season 2 was released on digital platform Hotstar from 15 May 2017 to 17 July 2017. The second season of this show was highly requested as the show had gained huge popularity over the years through reruns.
Critics and ratings
Season 1 was a weekly television show and was closed after two years due to low TRPs. The newly introduced stand-up comedy shows on the same network garnered TRPs as high as 9 while the Sarabhai received TRPs of as low as 0.63 during its inception. The highest rating it garnered during its original run time was 2 TVR. Only after the series started re-running episodes as a daily show multiple times, it became popular with a good viewership and response.
Hindustan Times appreciated the series, "Besides the concept that intrigued audiences of all age groups, the childlike accent of Rosesh Sarabhai (played by Rajesh Kumar) struck the right chord and became the ultimate trendsetter. Sarabhai vs Sarabhai turned the tables and gave each and every character equal screen space and importance.
Season 2 was one among the most anticipated sitcom sequels. It opened with positive response as well as negative being compared with season 1. Later the show was heavily criticized for poor writing and sets, but the performances were praised.
While Arushi Jain from The Indian Express appreciated the initial episode of the series stating, "After watching the entire episode of the Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai Take 2 and the same madness that prevailed in the Sarabhai family seven years ago, we felt as if the characters have not changed a bit. Though some jokes were repeated still we are not complaining. The nostalgia of watching the funny banter between Indravardhan and Rosesh, and Maya Sarabhai on an anti-Monisha mission left us rolling on the floor laughing. It seems, some things just get better with age and Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai definitely belongs to that category" while Sampada Sharma from the same criticised the series on comparison with season 1 as, "The show was updated, the sets were glamorous, but sadly, it did not even come close to creating the charm that the original show had. While the original was known for its quick wit, sharp dialogues and sassy performances, the new one did nothing but remind us of the good old days."
The show was unofficially adapted in Pakistan as Chana Jor Garam for which in December 2020 the makers and cast of Sarabhai condemned for violating the copyrights of the series and also criticised the series for spoiling the essence of Sarabhai.
- Season 1
- Best Serial, Comedy (Jury)
- Best Director, Comedy (Jury) - Deven Bhojani
- Best Actor, Comedy (Jury) - Satish Shah
- Best Actress, Comedy (Jury) - Ratna Pathak Shah
- Best Dialogues (Jury) - Aatish Kapadia
- Best Serial (Comedy)
- Best Director (Comedy) - Deven Bhojani
- Best Actor (Comedy) - Satish Shah
- Best Actress (Comedy) - Ratna Pathak Shah
- Art Direction (Fiction) - Omung Kumar Bhandula
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