Sarabhai vs Sarabhai
|Sarabhai vs Sarabhai|
Sarabhai vs Sarabhai title card.
|Created by||Hats Off Productions|
|Written by||Aatish Kapadia|
|Directed by||Deven Bhojani|
|Country of origin||India|
|No. of episodes||70 (List of episodes)|
|Producer(s)||Jamnadas Majethia & Aatish Kapadia|
|Original channel||STAR One/TV Asia (sydication)|
|Original run||November 8, 2004– March 10, 2006|
Sarabhai vs Sarabhai is a 2005 sitcom featuring a quintessential upper-class family in Mumbai. The show received a positive response from the critics and public alike and enjoyed one of the best TRPs for an Indian comedy show. In the final episode, the principal characters are seen stating that there would be another season of the series. However, in 2012, Deven Bhojani denied that the series would return.
The family consists of Indravadan Sarabhai (Satish Shah) and his wife Maya (Ratna Pathak), who live in an apartment with their younger son Rosesh (Rajesh Kumar). Their older son Sahil (Sumeet Raghavan) and his wife Monisha Sarabhai (Rupali Ganguly) née Manisha Singh live in the apartment across the hallway. Maya considers the name Manisha middle class and renames her Monisha before their marriage. Monisha's middle-class habits irk Maya. Monisha, on the other hand, does not appreciate Maya's snooty and snobbish behaviour. Indravadan constantly derides Roshesh for being tied to his mother's apron strings and for writing bad poetry. Maya and Roshesh consider Indravadan's attitude towards Rosesh and his gregarious nature boorish. The ensuing conflict and comedy becomes Sarabhai vs Sarabhai. Much of the humour is derived from the fake, artificial and shallow interactions among the city's elite and their perceived notions of the shortcomings and failings of middle-class society.
- Indravadhan Sarabhai aka Indu (played by Satish Shah): A rich businessman who constantly amuses himself by making fun of his wife Maya and picking on his younger son, Rosesh by calling him a 'Momma's Boy' or 'Maya Part II' and always belittling his poetry. He always sides with his daughter-in-law Monisha in disagreements between her and his wife, which always turn out to be one of the sources of humor. He dotes on Sahil and Monisha. He often drags Dushyant into the arguments. He does not listen to his wife, which often includes not following the health and diet regimen she draws up for him. He is gregarious by nature. He is mischievous and still a child at heart. He likes playing pranks at Rosesh's expense that annoy Maya to no end. He can't keep a secret and usually instigates or pits two people against each other. These traits of his earn him the moniker Nārad Muni.
- Maya Sarabhai née Maya Majumdar (played by Ratna Pathak Shah): She is part of the crème de la crème of upper-class society. She likes only the best in every aspect of her life and for her family. Her bone of contention with her daughter-in-law, Monisha is the latter's behaviour which goes against the grain of high-class society. Her confrontations with Monisha are always very suave and sugar-coated. Maya and Monisha are at loggerheads, but they never get into direct and heated confrontations. She is very talented; she is good at Scrabble. She wants to ensure that her other son, Rosesh, doesn't do as Sahil and marry a lower-class woman. As a result, Roshesh has trouble finding a girl his "Momma" would like. She tries to "save" Sahil from the "middle-class" acts of his wife, Monisha.
Comic side: Teasing and correcting someone when he/she behaves in an unsophisticated or less sophisticated manner. Her constant refrain is "It's so middle class!" Her victim is mostly Monisha. She says snide, rude or patronising things to Monisha but covers up by saying, "Don't mind huh beta, I am just joking" or "Don't mind huh beta, I'm just using you as an example", in the end.
- Sahil Sarabhai (played by Sumeet Raghavan): He is a cosmetic surgeon and Maya and Indravardhan's eldest child. He is soft, noble, wise and very attached to his mother and wife. He dislikes hurting anyone. He is the archetypal Indian male sandwiched between his wife and family. He is perhaps wiser than his father Indravadan when it comes to contentious matters between his wife and mother. He always tries to make them get along with each other. In the case of his younger brother, Rosesh, he has a funny bone and, like his father, likes to tease him. Owing to the constant tiffs between the members of his family, he runs away from home twice.
Comic side: He is always sandwiched between his mother and wife resulting in disturbance in his family life. He is a model husband and son.
- Monisha Sarabhai née Manisha Singh (played by Rupali Ganguly): She belongs to a middle-class Punjabi family. She once visits Mumbai for her engagement. The engagement is called off and, after a dramatic turn of events, she marries Sahil. She is committed to her husband. Her middle-class ways are a constant source of humour in contrast to Maya's polished personality. Though she respects her mother-in-law Maya, she hates the fact that Maya constantly belittles her. She is often very emotional, and sometimes quite naive. She does not enjoy cooking and sometimes serves her husband food that is stale or has gone bad. She never cleans or tidies her house which is always messy. Maya changes her name from Manisha to Monisha insisting that the earlier was too middle class. She gels well with her father-in-law. Often she and Indravardhan team up against Maya.
Comic side: She behaves like a typical middle-class woman, always trying to save as much money as possible running after sales offers, tries to make efficient use of everything but failing miserably.
- Rosesh (Rajesh Kumar): He is the second son of Maya and Indravardhan. He is a wannabe actor and a poet. He is dearest of his mom Maya. He disapproves of his father and is very loyal to Maya. His poetry is awful and yet another source of humour. Despite being a "Momma's boy", at times he shows middle class behaviors such as knowing the name of a TV serial contest that Monisha won.
Comic side: Acts/speaks like a kid. Truthful by nature, but Indravadhan hates him for behaving like a "Momma's boy". Maya is the only one who admires his poetry, and hence she forces everyone to listen to it.
Most episodes involve the five members of the immediate family. Members of the extended family and friends make regular appearances and plots of some episodes are centred around these characters as well.
- Sonya Sarabhai (played by Kshitee Jog / Shital Thakkar): Sonya is the second child and only daughter of Indravadan and Maya. She is married to Dushyant. She does exhibit some of the hypocritical socialite attitude of Maya but to a lesser degree. She is heavily into the occult and specializes in reading the Tarot, which often puts the Sarabhai family into heavy paranoia.
- Dushyant Painter (played by the director Deven Bhojani): Dushyant is Maya and Indravardhan's son-in-law, married to their daughter Sonya. He makes more appearances than his wife and is despised by the rest of the family, even by the normally affable Monisha. He has a morbid fascination for electronic appliances from toasters to tube lights and from refrigerators to elevators. When the rest of the family is busy contemplating a serious matter, he creates much chaos by quoting facts about electronic brands and their technical details. He seems to be an in-house mechanic and electrical expert, going to great extents to explain the working of electrical goods and often using Rosesh as a guinea pig to explain the working of appliances. He often uses the catchphrase "I'll explain..." Another regular comic gimmick from his side is him calling up the Sarabhais, mostly at midnight, and advising them not to buy the goods of a certain company because they are faulty (mostly peculiar things like tractors or dish antennas).
- Ilaben (played by Rita Bhaduri): Indravadan's sister. She often visits Indravadan & Maya's house and helps them in some issues. She is married to Madhusudhan and is extremely affable. She is the only one able to communicate with her deaf husband, Madhusudan through hand gestures.
- Madhusudan (played by Arvind Vaidya): Madhubhai is Indravadan's brother-in-law, married to his sister Ilaben. He is hard of hearing and refuses to use a hearing aid. He never acknowledges the fact that he cannot hear and blames others for speaking too softly. He is particularly bothersome to Indu; he interjects almost always with a "hein?" A lot of humour is derived from his misinterpretations and the difficulty that people have explaining things to him. His wife Ilaben is the only one able to communicate properly with him though hand gestures.
- Ba (Pankorben Sarabhai) (played by Tarla Joshi): Mother of Indravadan and Ilaben. She has been dead for five years. She appears in flashback scenes. She ridicules Maya for being snooty and always reminds Indravadhan of his marital mistake by saying that, "Bakuda, meine tujhse kaha tha kisi chotte ghar ki ladki se shaadi kar...".
Other characters include the maid Radhabai, the manservant Vitthal (played by Ghanashyam Nayak), Maya's socialite friends Baldev and his wife Sarupa, Sarita and her husband Dinesh, and Maya's distant cousins Videesha (played by Usha Bachani) and Nayesha (played by Sumeet Raghavan in a double role).
Although each episode in the show had an independent storyline, like most sitcoms, several running gags contributed to much of the humour.
- Middle-class Monisha: Monisha exhibits several traits that Maya brands as being 'middle class'. These traits include a love for bargaining, speaking in an excessively loud voice, watching soap operas that make little sense, keeping vegetables in random places around the house and lack of refined language. One particularly refined gag is Monisha's cooking as she always manages to mix something completely irrelevant into the food, for example switching the detergent for 'Garam Masala' in her biryani thus turning it inky black. Maya breaks into a list of Monisha's shortcomings which continue till other characters, usually Indravadan or Saahil, intervene. Humour often arises from the fact that despite pointing out her errors, Monisha usually continues to defend her actions.
- Rosesh's poetry: Rosesh takes pride in his skills at composing poetry; however, his poetry is ridiculed by much of the family, especially by Indravadan and Sahil. The topics he chooses for his poetry are bizarre like a toilet tank and the broken engine of a scooter. With additions of illogically rhyming words and his irritatingly shrill voice, his poetry is dreadful to everyone but Maya.
- Maya's sophistication: Maya is portrayed as a typically snobbish socialite, who often goes for charity auctions, exhibitions, art performances and tea parties with her socialite friends. She often thinks of herself as a social activist, who works to uplift the downtrodden, when really she just throws elite parties. The irony of her criticism of the less fortunate and her self-acclaimed social activism for their betterment bring about much humor. One such instance is when she raises funds for helping street children who are victims of alcohol abuse by hosting a cocktail party where she sells alcoholic beverages to her socialite friends. She dejects Monisha's middle-class attitude and most often ends up listing her shortcomings despite the fact that the problem was something else in the first place.
- Indu's hatred for Rosesh: Indravadan despises Rosesh on almost all counts, especially his poetry. He often harasses Rosesh, who is a momma's boy and exhibits much immaturity. Indu criticises Rosesh's poetry and plays and never exhibits any sign of acceptance of Rosesh as his own child. Ironically, in one of the episodes, it is shown that Rosesh may have inherited his poor skills of poetry from Indu himself.
- Indu's childish antics and behavior: Indravadan is usually at his childish best be it hiding chocolate chip cookies or selling his sports shoes on the street to have pani puri. His defiance towards Maya when he refuses milk and constantly enjoys a street snack, vada pav, is extremely entertaining.
- Sonya's tarot reading: Sonya often makes predictions that puts the Sarabhai family in paranoia.
- Dushyant's technicality: Dushyant is shown as a person who is obsessed with tools. Everyone in the family despises him for his technicality. He often uses Rosesh as a guinea pig to explain himself. He also makes wrong comments at the wrong time.
- Mandira Bedi as Cookie Sharma in Episode 14
- Mallika Sherawat as Sunehri to promote her movie Bachke Rehna Re Baba in Episode 28
- Vaishali Thakkar as Neelima Verma in Episode 30
- Makrand Deshpande as Siddharth in Episodes 39 & 40
- Aamir Ali as Patang in Episode 52
- Parvin Dabas as Sudhanshu in Episodes 32 & 33
- Roop Kumar Rathod & Sunali Rathod as themselves in Episode 41
- Manini Mishra as Dinky Chakravarthy in Episode 22
- Parmeet Sethi as Detective Omkar Nath to promote the Star One show D.O.N. in Episode 67
- Kishwar Merchant as Kshama or Dr. Kiran in Episode 4
- Usha Bachani as Videesha in Episode 11
- The Khichdi (TV series) Family from the Khichdi Crossover Episode (Episode 25 of Sarabhai vs Sarabhai and Episode 25 of Instant Khichdi).
- 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
- Indian Telly Awards 2005
- 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
Though last episode of first season gives hint of second season with an addition of a kid and the show being in popular demand, Sarabhai vs Sarabhai completed only one season and did not return with a second season. Director Deven Bhojani explained that, ""The entire cast is busy with something or the other and I don't want to replace the characters because that will take away the charm of the show'".
- The Sarabhai family occasionally appears as Sumeet Raghavan's "family" on his stand-up comedy show, Jay Hind.
The rights of the show have been acquired by a Marathi channel (Star Pravah) and the show in itself has been adapted into Marathi, and remade into Madhuri Middle Class.
- "'Sarabhai vs Sarabhai' won't come back: Deven Bhojani". Times of India. 2012-05-15. Retrieved 17 October 2012..
- "The Hero Honda Indian Television Academy Awards 2005". IndianTelevisionAcademy.com. Retrieved 12 Jan 2012.
- "Star One sweeps Telly awards". Rediff.com. 7 Nov 2005. Retrieved 12 Jan 2012.