The last time the goofy Parekhs from Khichdi and the Cuffe Parade dwellers from Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai met in 2005, the result was two hilarious crossover episodes.
More than a decade later, the zany Gujarati families from the television comedies will meet yet again in a mashup episode in the upcoming season of Khichdi.“Since Khichdi is coming back, we have included a lot of new ideas and cast members,” Jamnadas Majethia, the producer of the shows, told Scroll.in. “And from there the idea of a crossover became a bigger thought. We have not exactly cracked the creative aspects in terms of what will the script will be. There are a lot of things that we need to discuss and consider.”
Headlined by Supriya Pathak and Anang Desai, Khichdi follows the quirky adventures of the Parekhs, who live in an old mansion in Mumbai. The hit show made its debut in 2002 and inspired the spin-off television series Instant Khichdi and the feature film Khichdi: The Movie (2010).
Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai (2004-2006), which stars Ratna Pathak Shah, Satish Shah, Rupali Ganguly and Sumeet Raghavan, revolves around an upper-class Gujarati family. The show returned as a 10-episode web series on the streaming platform Hotstar in May 2017 to a lukewarm response.
This is how the crossover episode in Khichdi might pan out: “The actor who plays Madhu fufa [uncle] from Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai is the same guy who plays Hansa and Himanshu’s father in Khichdi. So we are thinking, what if they were twins? This is just an idea. We are yet to talk to the actors, figure out the script and speak to the channel.” The hearing-impaired Madhu was hilariously played by Arvind Vaidya in Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai.
Khichdi will return over the next few months, and the more things change, the more they will stay the same, Majethia promised.
“The characters in Khichdi cannot grow, because the minute they do, they will become mature and will lose their madness,” he explained. “In the new season, they will be in the zone they were in earlier, but the situations are a little contemporary. The reactions and the reading of their reactions will also change.”
Among the actors with cameos in the new season are Ratna Pathak Shah, who is tipped to play Badi Maa. The character was previously portrayed by her late mother, the legendary Dina Pathak.
While Khichdi was a huge success, Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai, which has also been produced by Majethia’s company Hats Off Productions, was less appreciated during its television run. However, it had a cult following through the internet, and acquired the fan base that had been missing on television.
Although the web-only version was praised for its characters and performances, the show was also criticised for lacking the punch and flavour of the original. Bringing back the show after over a decade was a gamble, Majethia acknowledged.
“It was very difficult to produce new episodes and keep people happy and satisfied,” he said. “We were doing this after 13 years and we were working with the same actors and characters. The expectations were very high. Our major concern was to land properly, and we were not looking at success or failure. It would have been very easy for people to reject the show, but they did not.”
Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai remains memorable (and difficult to replicate) because of its quality of humour. “Sarabhai appealed to the upmarket, intellectual section who understood the humor,” Majethia said. “And slowly the episodes started to become available online and the fan base grew. People lived with Sarabhai more than I must have lived with the brand. The learned class went on to the digital platform. They kept the brand alive.”
Majethia hopes to keep the laughs coming with the latest season of Khichdi too. “When you bring back a successful brand, there are always concerns about how to do it, how to move away from the past and how to prepare something which will have today’s appeal.” he said.
The characters from both shows might be different, but they are united by their unique Gujarati brand of humour. “These are Gujarati family backdrops, but it is not linguistic humour,” Majethia said. “Being Gujaratis, it comes to us very naturally. The Gujarati is entrenched in every aspect of entertainment: culture, food, variety in costumes. And we are larger than life. We live life to the fullest.”