The latest offering on the Sab TV menu, the TV show, ‘Bakharwadi’ is truly a delicious delight. Like most shows on the channel, this one too is a light comedy with a pinch of drama added to a delectable course of laughter. But, Bakharwadi is perhaps the best among the recent bunch of new shows on Sab TV.

Just like it’s namesake – Bakharwadi, a sweet and spicy snack, the show brings the extreme tastes together and produces a recipe that’s hard to avoid. What ensues is a tug-of-war of words, sometimes spicy, sometimes sweet, but never crossing that line of respect drawn between both parties.

The show is from the house of Hats off Productions, which under the able guidance of JD Majethia and Aatish Kapadia, has produced popular shows like Khichdi, Sarabhai vs Sarabhai, Baa Bahu aur Baby, etc. Set in Mahadeopet, Pune, the show introduces us to the Gokhale family which runs the 100 year old Gokhale Bandhu sweet and snack shop that specialises in Bakharwadi. The joint Marathi family is headed by Balkrishna Gokhale (Deven Bhojani), a.k.a, Anna, who is very particular about following traditions and not willing to compromise in the making of the popular Bakharwadi. A strict disciplinarian on the outside but a sensible and a loving person within, his wife, Jyotsna (Smita Saravade) is his pillar of support who often acts as a bridge between the strict father and the rest of the family members.

Follow the youtube link below to watch the promo.

There is no dearth of drama in the family where each member possesses a unique characteristic. The eldest son Prabhakar (Jayesh More) trying to write deep meaninful poetry ends up with nonsensical ones that irritates everybody. His wife, Bharti (Tejal Adivarekar) while talking, acts out a particular word where it seems the word and the action do not match. Her co-sister, Nirmiti (Tarka Pednekar) and Anna can’t rest until they find out from her how she arrived at that particular action. Bharti’s reply is often hilarious.

There usually is a Narad Muni version in joint families. Gokhale family’s Narad Muni is Nirmiti’s husband, the second son, Keshav (Krunal Pandit). He often tries to instigate Anna by saying things that he knows would rile Anna up but escapes by putting the blame on others, usually Prabhakar, and Prabhakar ends up getting scolded for something that he neither said or did.

Anna’s sensitive and emotional side is shown when it comes to his third son, Amol (Khanjan Thumbar). Amol has lost his mental balance and behaves like a child, his wife has left him and their two young kids. The joint family comes together and tries to make up for the missing member in their lives. Anna also misses his daughter very much although he broke off relations with her as she chose to marry a man of her choice.

Anna’s grandchildren are a unique lot too. While the eldest grandson, Mandar (Nishkarsh Dixit) is an ardent follower of Anna, where he even dresses up like him; the youngest grand daughter is quite a brat, often arguing like a grown-up person.

And then there’s the fourth son Abhishek (Akshay Kelkar), the sensible and understanding one, who along with his mother, helps in keeping the family calm and united.

Into this Mahadeopet where the Gokhale family lives and runs their shop, a Gujarati family comes to stay. An affluent businessman, Mahendra Thakkar(Paresh Ganatra) along with his wife Urmila (Bhakti Rathod), daughter Gayatri (Alshita Mudgal) and pet dog, Biscuit, takes up residence in the neighbourhood of the Gokhale family. Adjacent to the Gokhale Bandhu shop, he plans to start his shop, Gayatri sweets and snacks, hoping to tap into the Bakharwadi market that the Gokhale family monopolises in.

Hence starts the battle of words, sometimes sweet, sometimes sour, but often spicy. In spite of being rivals, the families bond. Amidst teasing and leg pulling incidents, a deep respect for each other develops. Amidst all this, unknown to the families, a shy romance slowly starts brewing between Abhishek and Gayatri. Although, the duo do individually realise that this may cause a major tiff between the families. The sweet rapport that the families share might just turn sour.

Bakharwadi, the snack, whose variants from Pune and Vadodara are popular, has brought the Marathi and Gujarati people to a debate, as each group claims as their variant to be the original one. Based on this, a beautiful story has been created. On the hindsight it may seem to be a debate on the claim to the origin of Bakharwadi but there’s more. It’s a debate between traditional and modern methods, between rigidity and progress, between family and business, between joint and nuclear families, between customs and commercialisation, between generosity and opportunism. And most importantly between friendship and feud.

Deven Bhojani, who has efficiently executed a variety of characters earlier, has once again excelled in essaying the role of an aged traditional Punekar. His diction, his stance and even his walk are upto the mark. Giving him able support is the seasoned actor, Paresh Ganatra who plays Mahendra Thakkar. Only he can create peacock noises while weeping and make them sound genuine and funny at the same time. But stealing the scenes from them is Bhakti Rathod, who plays Urmila Thakkar. Hers is a character rarely seen in tv shows. A pleasing personality with a naughty and teasing nature, keeps tweaking people’s names and when they try to correct, softly berates them. But then she’s kind and considerate too.

It’s a sweet joy watching Smita Saravade play the role of Jyotsna Gokhale. She fits the role to a T. The rest of the cast is no less, each giving due justice to their individual characters.

The writers must have had a gala time while writing the dialogues for the series. They’ve given catchphrases for most characters – the popular ones being Anna’s ‘Main shaant hi hoon’, Mahendra’s ‘Tu likle, take it from me’ and Urmila’s ‘Aap kya baar baar baal ki khaal nikalne baith jaate ho’.

This talented ensemble has been causing so much laughter, that we’ve decided not to eat or drink anything while the show is on. One never knows at which moment, which expression or dialogue may induce laughter and we are caught with food in our mouths.

Hats off to Hats Off Productions for yet another rib tickling comedy.

p.s. There’s always been a debate on the correct pronunciation of the snack. While the Marathi people claim it’s Bakarwadi (बाकरवडी), the Gujarati people call it Bhakharwadi (भाखरवडी). So as a compromise, I combined both versions and gave the title above as Bakharwadi (बाखरवडी).


Image credited to uploader.