Sarabhai vs. Sarabhai is by far one of the wittiest situational comedies that I have come across on Indian television.
It showcases the hypocrisy prevalent in the upper crust of society, the clear difference of opinions and thought between the upper and middle classes, the distinct individuality of every character and the hilarious situations that emerge from the oddities of each individual and his/her way of thinking.
The character of the mother depicts a two-faced upper-class woman, who enjoys being revered by her dim-witted younger son. The show also portrays the clash between the upper and middle class through the relationship between the mother and daughter-in-law. The father always creates situations and enjoys watching what unfolds and the poor elder son always ends up sandwiched between his upper-class mother and middle-class wife. The brilliance of the shows lies in the consistency of this theme through the 69 episodes that have been aired in its first season. There are other pertinent and very carefully chosen characters as well, that have seamlessly become part of the show. These characters, too, have oddities that one could identify them by.
I thought it would be interesting to dissect the show in terms of the key elements that have contributed to its huge success.
Sarabhai seems to be aimed at the upper class of society and the broad-minded middle class. The reason I say broad-minded is because the sitcom, through its characters, does make fun of the Indian middle class mentality. Having said that, the Indian middle class is expected to more than treble in the next decade, so Sarabhai’s target consumer base is increasing by the day.
The other plus point about Sarabhai is the quality of its actors. All the main characters have been stretched, in terms of acting skills, in multiple episodes. Not only is their acting convincing but also fun to watch. The physical appearance of the individuals has also been given considerable thought, be it the overweight father who hates milk and loves junk food or the socialite mother who is always well-dressed and well-groomed or the daughter-in-law who is loud, lacks social graces and haggles with anyone she deals with.
Great acting coupled with an interesting plot always makes a TV program fun to watch, irrespective of the jibes taken at sections of society. There would thus be an additional consumer base that simply watches the sitcom for its quality (one could expect an overlap with the target consumer base mentioned above).
Another element of the sitcom that always cracks me up is the sound effects in the background. Every character has a certain sound that one can identify him/her with. These sound effects have been aligned very well with each individual’s role and are timed according to the situation.
I find the title song quite brilliant as well. It has a catchy tune and carefully selected lyrics that cleverly give away the premise of the program. The title song would also signify its target audience – English-speaking.
The brilliance of any good TV program is its consistency and this is where Sarabhai scores big points. It has maintained its comic quality and used the characters extremely well.
The program has been uploaded by several users on Youtube and the comments clearly indicate its popularity and how eagerly people are waiting for Season 2, and that includes me.