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Doordarshan nostalgia: Dekh Bhai Dekh

Hindi comedy serials are a very rare set. If you neglect the current set of stand-up comedies such as Comedy Circus, Laughter Challenge, etc, then in the past, there have been very few, and specially ones that can make you laugh. There was for example, some serials such as Wagle Ki Duniya, Sarabhai vs. Saraibhai, Khichdi, Yeh Jo Hain Zindagi, etc. But excepting for some of these, in many cases the comedies have been flawed, and in most cases, the serial makers have not been able to find the exact combination that will have audiences in splits.
Currently, most of the serials are some sort of family dramas, with something or the other happening between relatives; and of course, many of them are very rich and not somebody we can connect with. It is then that I remember this serial called ‘Dekh Bhai Dekh’ that started appearing on DD Metro in 1993 (at that time, DD Metro had appeared as the alternative entertainment channel, as Doordarshan main used to be much more boring).
It had a set cast of characters, and was extremely entertaining, taking a joint family in their home, and their antics and activities. You watch their activities, and how their interactions generate comedy by itself, and how it all seems so natural. This was a production by Saraswati Production, a company owned by Jaya Bachchan.

The story is about a joint family with 3 generations staying in the same house. So you have the grandparents, with the grandmother (Sushma Seth) being the matriarch, being in control of everybody including her husband. She is a socialite, while her husband, even though hen-pecked, could not enjoy more than having fun with his grandchildren, and plays a person who is loving and nice to like.
And then the 2 sons of the house, with Baldev (Navin Nischol) being the elder son, the more serious of the two, and who watches everything that happens in the house, understanding and not getting angry and having a loving relationship with his wife, Suhasini (Farida Jalal) who runs a beauty parlour at home. The younger son, Sameer (Shekhar Suman) is the more dashing and flamboyant of the two, and runs his own business. He is married to Sonu (Bhavna Balsaver) who is a writer, very sweet and also very absent-minded, and slightly dumber than the others.
And then there are the kids – Sanju and Keethi are the teenaged children of Baldev and Suhasini, while Vishal and Pinky are the school-going children of Sameer and Sonu. Sanju by himself is able to generate a huge amount of laughter, with a hot-tempered girlfriend Shilpa (Urvashi Dholakia) who always doubts him and he is always trying to ensure that he remains in her good books. And there was Liliput and the house servant Deven Bhojwani to add to the comic relief.

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