Here’s our complete review of the ALTBalaji web series Zabaan Sambhal Ke, a web series that is about people from all walks of life coming together to learn Hindi.
In the 90s, Indian television experienced a golden age. The entertainment quotient was as its peak and so were production values. One of the series that came out during this period was Zabaan Sambhal Ke, a series that celebrated the diversity of India with its light-hearted humour. The series made household names of its actors, the likes of Pankaj Kapur, Keith Fernandez, Tanaaz Currim, Viju Khote and others.
ALTBalaji now brings to audiences Zabaan Sambhal Ke, a web series that stars Sumeet Raghavan. Bhakthyar Irani, Shoma Anand, Tarranum Khan, Ashwin Mushran, Rupali Bhosle, Pipa Hughes, Mishka Sharma and others.
The current avatar that Zabaan Sambhal Ke is in stark difference to the original series. The humor is slapstick and concentrates more on the double entendre that’s common when one jumps from language to language. That can get a bit tiresome, because those jokes seem lame after a while.
ALTBalaji bringing back the sitcom was an interesting aspect, but unfortunately, the entire series looks dated. Who’s seen a Vaio laptop in 2018? The characters are also cliché ridden and ride every cliché that Indian entertainment has ever seen.
So, a fisherwoman dangles a sickle, a South Indian man wears a lungi, so on and so forth. The humor is puerile and sexist. What audience finds two saree clad women managing their sarees in the presence of men humorous? What audience finds it funny that a former adult film actress announces all around that she likes it ‘hard and rough’?
Especially when the said women are wearing low cut blouses. What audience finds it funny that a social worker plans to beat up a Sheikh because he’s looking for a child bride? The latter is something that the world is struggling with – and the writers throwing it up for mild laughter is horrendous.
For the uninitiated, there’s something known as the ‘male gaze’. There’s this insinuation that even the greatest of directors direct women with the male gaze – and the director has taken a page right out of this book. The camera angles on women start from their waist, or their butt, anything other than the face – that index of the human beings.
There’s something mildly humorous, but even that suffers from killjoy, because it involves a male employee stripping in the presence of a female boss – or at least the threat of the action. The only thing new in this series is the forced laugh track, which is no more a the ‘haa haa hee’ track. That track has become gender sensitive and pop-culture-appropriate. So, along with the usual ‘haa haa’ and ‘hee hee’, you have a woman go ‘ohhhhhh’ somewhere between the pranks.
Reviewers are taught, on the first day of their jobs, not to compare two properties. But when the names are same, everyone would want the quality, or at least the DNA to be the same.
What’s Wow: When you hear the dialogues, you go ‘wow’.
What’s blah: Everything.
Parting Shot: ALTBalaji should think twice before commissioning their next comedy
Cast and Crew:
Cast: Sumeet Raghavan, Bhakthyar Irani, Shoma Anand, Tarranum Khan, Ashwin Mushran, Rupali Bhosle, Pipa Hughes, Mishka Sharma and others.
Director: Raijv Mehra
Zaban Sambhal ke is now streaming on ALTBalaji