Gullak 4 continues its charming insights into Indian middle-class

Jameel Khan and Geetanjali Kulkarni in Gullak 4. Photo: Trailer Video Grab 

An admission at the very beginning: after watching the first two episodes of Gullak Season 2 (my introduction to the show) way back in 2021, I decided to forgo the rest of the series. I did not even catch up with Season 1, which had released in July 2019, when I was not initiated into the web at all. And so I decided to overlook Season 3 as well!

Now why did I not get engaged by the two episodes of S2? Well, I found them drab, dull and quite dry, especially since my only main exposure to a small-town/ rural web series was Panchayat, whose Season 1 was absolutely riveting, and coincidentally, was from the same company (TVF or The Viral Fever) and producer, Arunabh Kumar.

But since the series has gone into a fourth season, I decided to watch Gullak Season 4, thinking that a series that ahd so much endorsement could not really be that bad. I had received good reports too. And since I had begun to watch the stretched and uninteresting Gaanth (which I gave up after episode three) and Illegal 3, which was unbearable in episode 1 itself, I decided to give Gullak 4 a try!

And what do you know! I was charmed by the closed world of Gullak 4, truly representative of the Indian middle-class in a small town, with their aspirations, problems, hurdles and everything else.

The world of Gullak 4 is of the Mishra family—father Santosh (Jameel Khan), mother Shanti (Geetanjali Kulkarni), elder son Anand, whose pet-name is Annu (Vaibhav Raj Gupta) and the younger Aman (Harsh Mayar, best known as the central figure of I Am Kalam in 2011, which got him the National Award for Best Child Actor). Harsh has also made his singing debut here with the song, Feeling nayi hai.

Yes, characters do fleet in and out as per episodes (which are unconnected, unlike Panchayat, and are about a family’s minor foibles, follies, predicaments, hopes and the reverse). The major one is the pesky yet affectionate neighbor, Bittu ki mummy as she is called (Sunita Rajwar). At the outset, let me state that I have rarely seen such perfect casting of the principal protagonists. They all look like the aam aadmi (common citizens) they represent, do things they really should not, and get on the borderline of wrong, unethical and more, often backtrack—but life goes on!

We have Annu as the hardworking medical representative, who will not stop at becoming a successful man in his chosen field even with unscrupulous incentives that pharmaceutical companies still dole out to doctors despite theoretical legislations and bans. Aman, the younger one, is in love, and such things are frowned upon by the middle-class, see?

The father is a shade happy-go-lucky yet doughty, employed in the town’s electricity department as an engineer, but gets worked up over so many simple contretemps. And the bedrock is Shanti, the firm mother, who is extremely and madly in love with her entire family.

The best part of Gullak 4 (which means a ‘piggybank’ in Hindi) is that every episode is crisp, feel-good and has an inherent learning material without being in- your-face or even slightly preachy. It is entirely up to the viewer to choose whether he should take back small homilies or just get amused and entertained by simple, relatable entertainment. The narrator is the piggybank itself, which holds centerstage at home, showing us the motivations of the family members and their results.

Note also how no episode goes beyond 30 minutes and no season beyond 5 episodes. This is TVF’s best, far ahead of the inconsistent Panchayat, and way ahead of their shorts. And I now intend to catch up very soon with Seasons 1 to 3.

In this season, Santosh battles governmental corruption, Shanti recovers from the loss of her gold chain snatched by assailants, there is a collective decision taken—with highly amusing results—to get rid of scrap in the house, and the remaining two episodes are about the professional and personal obstacles and challenges for the two brothers and their interactions with parents and each other. From borrowed jackets, minor tiffs, use of home toilets, wedding gifts from parents to a love-letter for a friend by the aspiring author Aman—here is a look into middle-class sensibilities and sensitivities too!

The end is “heartwarmingly middle-class”, but I was a shade disappointed at the broken gullak, which suggests that this series has come to an end. But maybe public demand will get us a new piggybank and a fresh ‘gullak’ of episodes will be conceived and written.

The performances are indeed fantastic. If Jameel Khan is pitch-perfect magnificent as Santosh, Geetanjali Kulkarni as Shanti is no less, in fact a little more impressive as the stoic, dutiful woman who takes life quite seriously and is warm and affectionate. Vaibhav Raj Gupta and Harsh Mayar are excellent in their roles, with Harsh having the fat-meatier character to essay. Sunita Rajwar is superb as the neighbor and the other supporting artistes more than competent.

The humor is a constant substratum, and is realistic yet funny (which is not always the case on screen). And we can owe this to the great scripting and the tight and confident direction of creator and developer Shreyansh Pandey.

Gullak 4 is a breezy, easy watch. With its warmth and compassion, it more than makes up what it may have a shortfall of—boisterous hilarity and OTT drama.

Do not miss it!

SonyLIV presents The Viral Fever Media Labs’ Gullak 4  Created & Developed by: Shreyansh Pandey Produced by: Arunabh Kumar  Directed by: Shreyansh Pandey  Written by: Shreyansh Pandey, Vidit Tripathi & Nikhil Sachan Music: Anurag Saikia  Starring: Jameel Khan, Geetanjali Kulkarni, Vaibhav Raj Gupta, Harsh Mayar, Sunita Rajwar. Helly Shah, Saad Bilgrami & others with Shivankit Singh Parihar as narrator (Gullak)





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