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Parvarrish - Kuchh Khatti Kuchh Meethi

Such a delight!

It seems eons since such a whiff of fresh air has wafted over our Television. Away from the heavy-duty melodramas that have been weighing down – actually, crushing our sensibilities with their sickening stereotypes and corny cliches, ‘Parvarrish’ wings us softly into a totally unexplored territory – ‘Parenting’!

So we have two typical middle class families the Ahluwalia’s and the Ahuja’s – the former a bit better-placed than the latter. The connecting link between the two is Sweety (Ahluwalia) and Pinky (Ahuja), who are sisters.

Played by Shweta Tiwari and Rupali Ganguly respectively, Sweety and Pinky come across as fully fleshed out characters. In fact, the two are a study in contrast. Sweety borders on the autocratic as far her children, Rocky (Tapasvi Mehta – superb) and Ginny (Aashika Bhatia – up-to-scratch) are concerned. On the contrary, Pinky wants more to be friends with her children, Raavee (Aanchal Mehta – fair-to-middling), Raashee (Sparsh Khanchandani – brilliant) and little Sunny (Rakshit Wahi – adorable) rather than being a despotic, disciplinarian matriarch.

The families are headed by Lucky Singh Ahluwalia (Vivek Mushran – impressive) and Jeet Ahuja (Vishal Singh – serviceable, even if a bit stuck-up at times).

There is also Papaji, the father of Sweety & Pinky (Rajesh Puri – steadfast) besides others.

The main thrust of the serial are the children and in that, it is as exhaustive as your textbooks in Children Psychology could ever be – the Fun, the Frolic, the Sibling rivalry, the Tenderness, the Brawls, the Devil-may-care, the I-me-myself, the Self-important, the Self-effacing, the Aversions to do’s & don’ts dictated by elders, the Rebel-without-a-cause syndrome, the Puberty, the Testosterone, the First-crushes… one could go on and on and on – it’s all here, and how!

But perish the thought if you are concluding it all to be as something of a pedantic harangue or discourse. It is not! And that’s the beauty and the wonder of it!

Actually, the battle has been won at the table, itself. Each of the aforementioned elements has been woven so seamlessly and spontaneously into the teleplay that each issue becomes a rollercoaster of fun, but without even once losing its conceptual focus. So behind each guffaw, there lurks a tender emotion.

This Chaplinesque touch (minus the slapsticks) to the goings-on in the various tracks through which the scenario treads in one delectable episode to another, makes Parvarrish come alive, throbbing and pulsating with vim & vigour.

As helmed by the maverick, Imtiyaz Punjabi, an ITA Award winner (Maryada, Kashmir), directorially, there is a fluidity here, whereby technique helps accentuate the content, rather than weighing it down with its own vulgar extravagance or making it fizzle out with its incompetence, which sadly is happening in most of the shows, today.

To cap it, the humour is not created here by contorting faces, circus antics or anything even remotely uncouth. There are not even the ubiquitous Takia Kalaams, resorted to by the characters (you know, the likes of the bizarre ‘Hambai’ by the Saas in ‘Kairi’). And all this is entirely thanks to the writing that makes a determined effort to shun the hackneyed and the weather-beaten ploys to evoke humour. Instead, it relies totally on using day-to-day, conversational and absolutely natural and spontaneous speech & talk, full of repartee and wit to create truly bubbly and bouncy hilarity.

So far, there have been ‘n’ numbers of incidents and instances in the serial that have caught viewers’ imagination like never before. Just to mention a couple, there was this cutest sequence when the little Sunny (all of 6 years at the most) falls in L o v e. Smitten head-over-heels, he makes cards for his gal with his own hands, trails after her with a besotted gaze and when her parents restrain her from seeing him, carries a forlorn face that would put Devdas to shame.

Nothing as cutesy as that has ever been seen on our small screen and little Rakshit shows such sparkling spontaneity in portraying the puppy love as would be the envy of the veterans.

Then, there was the punchy sequence of that rich brat stalking Raavee. Once, Raavee, quivering in the bones at the prospect of the boy accosting her once again, sits in the empty school bus. We see her from outside, as she peeps out of the window in utmost terror searching for the errant boy. And while she is doing it, camera trucks to a head-on view of the window. In the process, we discover the same boy, with a diabolical grin, sitting stealthily beside her. As the camera slowly discovers him with that cold leer in his gaze, it elevates the scene to almost Hitchcockian level, besides bringing out the brutality of eve-teasing in the optimum.

Later, the scene turns out to be a nightmare Raavee was having, but it has already made its chilling impact on the viewers.

Even though the serial is a perfect case of ensemble acting, it would be only fitting and ‘just’ to mention a few of them specially. One would be Shweta Tiwari, who has totally shed the dead skin of melodramatic histrionics evidenced in ‘Kasauti zindagi Kay’ and other such. And the outcome is absolutely amazing! In ‘Parvarrish’, Shweta has really raised the bar for realistic acting on TV. She is tone-perfect, picture-perfect and natural to a fault. In lesser hands, the role could have easily gone haywire and over-the-board. But Shweta brings it a cool, collected dignity and be it in her fun or her frown, she comes across as a total natural. Besides, to think of she being a Tiwari and yet speaking with just the correct Punjabi accent is something well & truly laudable.

Vivek Mushran, the ‘ILU-ILU’ boy of the yore, handles his role with an engaging tongue-in-cheek flair. His chemistry with Shweta is a treat to watch.

If would be injustice not to mention Tapasavi here. As Rocky (Singh), he presents a perfect picture of today’s teens and is a casting marvel in that.

Roopa Ganguly also has her moments, but then, in this roster of excellence, who hasn’t?

In sum, Parvarrish is a drop of dew in the parched dust-bowl that our TV is these days. How we wish to have more of its tribe.

Thumbs up, guys – keep it up!

- Vierendra Bhargav