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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

Sarabhai vs Sarabhai: How the popular TV sitcom influenced comedy shows

Television sitcom Sarabhai vs Sarabhai, which paved the way for Baa Bahoo Aur Baby (2005), Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah (2008), is returning as a web series after 11 years.

tv Updated: Mar 15, 2017 15:16 IST
Monika Rawal
Monika Rawal
Hindustan Times
The star cast of Sarabhai vs Sarabhai went down memory lane at this reunion party.
The star cast of Sarabhai vs Sarabhai went down memory lane at this reunion party.(Instagram/sumeet2271)

With popular sitcom series, Sarabhai vs Sarabhai (2004) making a comeback online after a decade, in the form of a web series, audiences definitely have a reason to rejoice. Based on a quintessential upper-class family in Mumbai, the show featuring Satish Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah, Sumeet Raghavan, Rupali Ganguly and Rajesh Kumar, succeeded in setting a new benchmark for the subsequent comedies that came on Indian television and picked inspiration from it. Whether it was a direct influence or some parts picked from here and there, Sarabhai vs Sarabhai did manage to impact other shows that followed.

Not that sitcoms didn’t exist on Indian television but Sarabhai vs Sarabhai made way for more family-oriented comedy shows. Sitcoms such as Baa Bahoo Aur Baby (2005), Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah (2008), Sumit Sambhal Lega (2009), Chidiya Ghar (2011), Badi Dooooor Se Aaye Hai (2014) and Sumit Sambhal Lega (2015) followed the path and went on to become successful on Indian television.

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. Remember the line — Momma ka purse, momma ka purse, jaise hospital ki pyaari koi nurse? It became so popular that many shows later picked it up and made use of peculiar accents as an integral part of their scripts. Continuing the trend, yet another prime time comedy show, Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain, introduced a rather funny accent that saw Shubhangi Atre aka Angoori Bhabhi making it highly popular.

When Sarabhai vs Sarabhai first went on air, the Gujarati family culture became an instant hit with the small screen viewers. Following its footsteps and success mantra, many more shows were based on the same community including the comedy series Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah.

A decade ago, most TV shows revolved around lead protagonists and their life, while the supporting cast got little space in accordance with the storyline. But Sarabhai vs Sarabhai turned the tables and gave each and every character equal screen space and importance; a trend that was happily followed by other shows that went on air afterwards. How can one forget Madhusudhan Fufa’s “hain, hain?”, and Dushyant Sarabhai giving detailed thesis for every little thing that was epic.

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