Show: Bhalla Calling Bhalla
Director: Deven Munjal
Cast: Gaurav Gera, Gracy Goswami, Lubna Salim, Rajesh Kumar, Leenash Mattoo
ZEE5 recently announced 'Bhalla Calling Bhalla', lockdown special series shot by the actors and their families at their respective home. The 12 episode series starring Lubna Salim as Mrs Lovely Bhalla, Rajesh Kumar as Mr Bhalla, Leenesh Mattoo as Sahil Bhalla (son), Gracy Goswami as Lisa aka Arundhati Bhalla (daughter) and Gaurav Gera as Gaurav Singh (Mrs. Bhalla's brother) is funny, quirky, witty and relatable.
The show revolves around a very simple storyline, a family of four the Bhalla's are stuck in different parts of the country due to the current lockdown situation. With the constant situation and lockdown getting extended they realize the need to be with each other. During these turbulent times, this show is like a fresh breath of air and guarantees you laughter in abundance.
Every actor in the show has done a fine job of shooting and acting, all thanks to the presence of technology and smartphones, it has become easy to shoot an HD quality series.
Director, Deven Munjal has set a benchmark for the filmmakers now, by making a successful show during the lockdown.
Sahil Bhalla is stuck in Mumbai, Lisa is in Jodhpur and Rajesh in Chandigarh. The lockdown has been announced and getting back home is a priority and a challenge at the same time.
The scene begins with Mrs Lovely Bhalla's (Lubna Salim) birthday and she is inviting her beloved family and friends to her birthday party (video message) and she is upset over her family's absence during the lockdown as she will have to celebrate her birthday all alone. So she asks her son, Sahil Bhalla (Leenesh Mattoo), daughter, Lisa (Gracy Goswami) and husband, Rajesh (Rajesh Kumar) to be in constant touch with her and wants to know everything happening in their lives (typical mom you see).
A family webinar keeps happening time and again, as they collectively stay in touch with each other. With lockdown getting extended time and again, the kids don't want to give up their freedom and go home to their parents. Amidst all this and more, they deal with issues which are beyond their control and soon starts valuing the importance of parents and family. From boredom to understanding their families worth to doing the dishes and cooking the Bhalla's are doing everything on screen that we are doing off-screen!
What happens next in the lives of Bhalla find out!
Every actor has done a fine job. Rajesh Kumar as the father Rajesh Bhalla is funny, quirky and like most of the Punjabi's he too lives and breathes on drinks ( freedom means Daru). Needless to say, Rajesh has aced even the nuances of his character with great panache. While Lubina Salim as the typical mother in the show is relatable to most of us (you look at her and then you hear your own mom, xerox!) Like every mother, she has her own inhibitions, concerns and wants her family to be around during these turbulent times. Lubna is a fine actress and no one better than she could have pulled this character well. Be it her expressions or tone. Lubna has lit up the screens with her charm.
Gaurav Gera as yogi and brother of Lovely Bhalla is fun to watch, we are seeing him act as Gaurav after a hiatus. He is the synonym to Narad muni', the mama that saves his nephew and niece, the brother who is possessive about his sister, the brother-in-law who helps his jijai in getting out of the mess. He is the perfect amalgamation of how a brother should be! Gaurav has aced his part well, its fun to see him talk like Gaurav for once. Obviously after listening to him as various characters previously.
Gracy Goswami, the millennial girl like many, has a good role and her lingo will surely crack you up. Despite having two stalwart actors like Rajesh and Lubna in the frame, she isn't overshadowed by their on-screen presence. Gracy makes her mark with the given screen time she has.
Leenesh, the blue-eyed boy of television, is seen flaunting his washboard abs most of the time. It feels he is busy modelling, be it his whey protein shots to his workout regime or having eggs. His focus is more on workout and showing off his body rather than actual acting his part as a son who is a mamma's boy. As he plays a struggling actor in the show, this does justify his characteristics to an extent, though he could have made use of his acting skills a little more. Nonetheless, he did an average job.
Special appearance by Jayati Bhatia was well planned by the makers, she played her part well as a neighbour.
The USP of Bhalla calling Bhalla is that it is completely conceptualized, written, shot, edited and presented to the audience during the lockdown. There was no set, no actors met each other. The actors have done a commendable job not just my shooting the series but also taking care of the camera angles. I guess by sixth episode the actors were well versed with the technology and got comfortable. If you closely look at the show, in the first few episodes we could only see them looking only at the camera and as the show progresses they seem to have got the knack of handling the camera while mouthing dialogues.
The dialogues are funny, they leave you in splits, as it is relatable to all of us. The writer has very meticulously included Modiji's initiative 9 pm 9 minutes in the fifth episode when you see it you will be like OMG! this happened on April 5 and its May now (Deja- vu). The language is simple and there are no cuss words. No glamour quotient, no-makeup look, everything is so real and raw. That's where the connectivity lies, no one is decked up inside the house to do the household chores. Small things like these in the screenplay have been taken care of which makes us worth our time.
What attracted me was the series is crisp and short, merely 10 minutes, unlike the usual 30-40 minutes stuff. Locations, well it is so predictable its shot at actors respective homes. So we not only watch the show we also got a tour of their house.
The only part was editing, there are some scenes and conversations which weren't edited, but that can be overlooked. With the efforts, everyone has taken. These issues are not even worth paying attention to.
Bhalla Calling Bhalla web series is a fun roller coaster ride that should be watched with your family. Amidst the dark and heavy shows that we are seeing, this show will put a smile on your face.