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Review: Gullak 4: Pleasant Watch

June 07, 2024 10:09 IST
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The new season coasts along on the simple anecdotes that make up the piggy bank of family lore; the performances are as wonderful as before, but the sharpness of humour is starting to dull a bit, observes Deepa Gahlot.

When Gullak came out in 2019, a part of its success could be attributed to a growing number of TV audiences having had their fill of the excesses of the saas-bahu serials. Some of the older viewers would remember the high drama of Hum Log and the hilarious antics of the nutty family in Dekh Bhai Dekh.

Gullak, created by Shreyansh Pandey (and produced by the prolific TVF), fell into a zone of realism that had not been seen on the small screen for a long time.

The charm of the five-episode show lay in the fact that the Mishra family looked and acted like any north Indian family in any nondescript small town. Nothing earth-shattering happened to them, but the troubles they did face were totally relatable -- which ordinary family does not worry about jobs, health, exam results of the children, and their future? Everybody either has, or remembers having, a nosy neighbour like Bittu ki Mummy.

Gullak won appreciation, awards, and more importantly a fan following. TV and web shows come and go, just a few remain in the memory. Which led to more seasons and finally a Season 4 (written by Shreyansh Pandey and Vidit Tripathi), without any deviation from the formula.

Santosh Mishra (Jameel Khan), his wife Shanti (Geetanjali Kulkarni), their two sons, Anand (Vaibhav Raj Gupta and Aman (Harsh Mayar) live in an old-style mohalla, with joint terraces, so that Bittu Ki Mummy (Sunita Rajwar), can walk in -- always at the wrong time, and leave without realising how her entry has stirred the simmering pot of a crisis in the making.


Each episode has a different story -- with the cheerful gullak (clay piggy bank voiced by Shivankit Singh Parihar) -- acting as observer and narrator of the day to day lives of the middle class Mishra family.

In a home, Santosh observes casually to Shanti, a man is like the wall and the woman is like the furnishings. He should have known that he was asking to be cut down by his wife's 'maukhik prahar' (verbal attack), and she wryly comments that the walls are built just once, the furnishing need constant replacement, so he got off cheaply, just painting the walls of the house his father built.

Santosh boasts that if there is ever a problem, his third eye will open (the subtitles simply cannot manage to capture the wit of the Hindi dialogue).

Sure enough there is a knock on the door and a municipal officer with a show case notice -- apparently the Mishra residence was not built according to the plan submitted. There is a fear of the house being demolished, but, of course, nobody believes that's actually going to happen.

The episode is about the 'tunakmizaji' (delightful word, arrogance doesn't quite get the meaning) of dealing with the greedy municipal notice-server.

The episode about Shanti's chain being snatched has all the feeling of helplessness and rage that accompanies such an occurrence, which most viewers must have gone through some time in their lives.

But the episode of trying to get rid of the bhangar (junk) in the house, is laugh-out-loud funny, because Mary Kondo-ing is not for the Indian middle class lucky to have a terrace and a loft.

Every broken piece of metal or plastic has some value, Aman even squirrels away an erotic novel that gets him in trouble in a later episode. The raddiwala with a look of undisguised exasperation on his face, puts up with Santosh haggling over the price of old newspapers!

Meanwhile, over five episodes, Anand, a medical representative, has to deal with a nasty boss, while school-going Aman is in the throes of puppy love, and worried about his scant facial hair.

Bickering seems to be the Mishra family's way of expressing affection. In so many homes like theirs, there is not much touchy-feely communication, but making tea for a distraught mother, or cooking a son's favourite vegetable is what love is all about.

Gullak 4 is mostly as pleasant a watch as the earlier three seasons, but this time it does look like the slog over the writing was less, because the audience already loves the Mishra universe.

The new season too, coasts along on the simple anecdotes that make up the piggy bank of family lore; the performances are as wonderful as before, but the sharpness of humour is starting to dull a bit.

If there is to be a Season 5, the walls may not need rebuilding, but the curtains do need to be replaced.

Gullak 4 streams on SonyLiv.

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