Gullak takes us back to a time when the washbasin must have just started to find its own place in houses owned by those in tier 2 and tier 3 cities of India. Houses that stand in the quaint by-lanes of India. An India on the cusp of turning fully aspirational. Gullak is a collection of relatable anecdotes (not stories) of the four-member Mishra family and an ode to those who have lived in times when things were bought not out of wants but necessities.
With two seasons up and running on SonyLIV. The makers do not tell you which city the Mishra family lives in. You know it could be any one of the thousands of cities in north India. The family of four has a mother Shanti (Geetanjali Kulkarni), who defies the essence of her name every time she speaks. Her husband Santosh (Jameel Khan), who works at the city’s electricity division, is endearing and understanding to the wife and the children. Santosh celebrates life when he gets to have home-cooked chicken with a few pegs.
The couple has two sons. The elder one Annu (Vaibhav Raj Gupta), who knows everything about all that’s going on in the mohalla, is ostensibly preparing for SSC exams. Annu’s younger brother Aman (Harsh Mayar) is his partner-in-crime. Left alone, Annu and Aman fight like they are waging a war against each other to save the world. And yet when it comes to saving each other from the problems of the world, the brothers take each other into their individual cocoons. Reminds you of your sibling? Gullak does that each step.
Directed by Amrit Raj Gupta and written by Nikhil Vijay, Gullak in both its seasons takes its audience back to 1980’s TV genre that focused on detailing and shied away from unnecessary ornamentation.
The beauty and appeal of Gullak lies in the fact that no life-changing events happen. It just shows us the daily happenings of a middle-class family with its share of nosy Bittu Ki Mummies (Sunita Rajwar), humble kitties and katha paths at the neighbour’s house. The Mishra family has its share of problems with relatives, the pumping motor and ‘peele chawal’ (tehri) cooked every second day for its ease of cooking.
You won’t find yourself rolling on the ground with laughter but won’t be able to stop chuckling and smiling. Beware, you may also end up shedding copious tears when the characters show their emotional sides for each other in the family. The series in both its seasons would, however, leave you feeling good. You can’t help but marvel at the acting prowess of the characters in the lead and on the sides.
It’s a series that will leave you wanting for more and you can watch it several times over because each time it feels fresh as it refreshes your own memories of life as it once was – not perfect, but absolutely beautiful. Gullak offers a tale of the beauty of imperfections.