When I heard there is a show by Sooraj Barjatiya production I had to watch. I used to love his grand big joint family sagas full of weddings, songs and dances.  All the teachings around the perfect home with a Ram like son… I used to think some of that inherent goodness is bound to seep in somewhere in me, even if in all other things am full of reality. In fact, I still tease my best friend, who laughed at me when I watched Vivaah. She had an arranged marriage and I give myself all the credit for her happily ever after.

Ek Rishta Sajhedari Ka is about arranged marriage too. It is a cliche, but an Indian marriage is hardly ever only about the boy and girl, the families come along for the ride. The advantage in an arranged marriage is that the families vet out each other. An added bonus is that the boy and girl fell for each other.

Aryan, played by Kinshuk Vaidya looks really young. But in Marwari families, boys do marry young. He has a sweet smile and if you are looking for the tall, dark and handsome hero with anger management issues look elsewhere. He is the Shaka La ka boom boom kiddo all grown up (We had to get that out of the way).. Aryan is from a traditional upscale family who value their culture, but haven’t let it stifle their senses completely.

Saachi is Shivya Pathania who was in the show Humsafars. Shivya’s slurred lacklustre speech in that show was very boring. Seeing her here is a definite improvement. Saachi’s family is more nuclear. Her father enters the kitchen and cooks food. She goes for midnight bike races. Her bua is separated from her husband. All signs of an openness compared to Aryan’s family.

When the two families meet in Rajasthan they like each other immediately. Aryan and Saachi take a while to get used to the idea of marriage to each other but agree over time. Within the first 50 episodes the marriage is all set and the boy and girl are also in love and nice to each other. Hardly any room for misunderstandings. What next, I wondered. Then remembered that in Kyuki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi also Mihir and Tulsi had gotten married really early and there had been so much of story to follow.

For some, the show might be too sweet and hard to digest, but am used to Sooraj Barjatiya’s style. There are some good things here. It is not dominated by women in the household, specially bad vamp-like women. Yes, there is the bua who messes things up. She is bitter about life, but we know such people. We also know people like Aryan’s chachi who are more hot-headed and worldly than others in the household.

The men have interesting well-crafted roles. Aryan’s father, played by Sooraj Thapar with a stately finesse, is a grave businessman mindful of being progressive. Saachi’s jovial and outgoing father is cast perfectly in the popular actor Nitesh Pandey. Both fathers started with a healthy respect and warmth for each other. Diwakar Sethia has suffered serious loss in his business and wanted to stop the marriage so his would be daughter-in-law doesn’t come into a troubled home. Viren Mittal sees this as a sign of Sethi family’s magnanimity and gives them a loan that they accept gracefully.

These are good people, but society and distant relatives are a pain. They come for a wedding and make a mess of things. Diwakar Sethia is shamed in front of all and accused of taking dowry. In his mind, he blames Viren Mittal for betraying him. It all continues to spiral from there. Tragically, that feels real. Out there in a world, small things like the saree you give as a gift or the food you serve in the wedding reception can lead to gossip and taunts forever. Chachis and Mamis from both sides can get their egos hurt and end up in an irremediable divide.

Diwakar Sethi takes special care to treat Saachi nicely. Aryan, after the initial frosty silly behaviour, is also nice to Saachi’s parents. Viren Mittal is apologetic and humble when needed, but also hurt and dignified while dealing with the string of misunderstandings. It is not rosy, but believable so far.

The other entertaining part of the show is Aryan’s super sweet bhabhi. The Barjatiya’s really love their bhabhi figures. And Ek Rishta Saajhedari Ka is no exception. The bhaiya bhabhi are fun and supporting. They fit into the world of the kids and also share resposibility with the elders. Sunayna, the actress in the role of  Priyanka bhabhi, is fresh and lively on screen. She is kind to her sister-in-law, cares for her devar and adores her husband. Perfect bahu whose role gives her freedom to crack jokes and shed tears. The cvs are bringing in an illigetimate child in the mix of the bhaiya bhabhi dynamics which I really hope magically disaapears before spoiling the story.

There is also a dadi. I don’t know the actress but she seems to be a pro at speaking Marwari. Very authentic. Luckily they have kept her toned down with no risk of becoming a caricature of old cool or strict grandparents.

There are benefits of the show being produced by a rich production house I guess. The sets are grand. The people dress like they should be in a rich Aryan Sethia or upper middle-class Saachi Mittal household. The background score with its elements of Rajathani folk is also hummable. The layering of situations with values is not overdone. Just right, so something sweet lingers and you take that with you in all your familial interactions in life.

If you like messy, but sweet Marwari families then give Ek Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai a try…