A relook at Dekh Bhai Dekh

In the year 1993, India was at the threshold of its satellite TV boom and Doordarshan was at the peak of its glory. It was still basking in the success of the likes of Mahabharat, The sword of Tipu Sultan and Bharat Ek Khoj. It had just launched DD Metro (DD2), its general entertainment channel. On May 6, that year, the Diwan family made its first appearance on television and became a part of our lives for the next four years. Dekh Bhai Dekh completed two decades of pure joy and entertainment last month.

The disciplinarian matriach with the fun-loving  Daddyji

Those who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s will definitely have their fond memories of Doordarshan and Dekh Bhai Dekh. Recently, I watched a couple of its episodes again on youtube and got addicted to it all over again, so much so that I now watch an episode everyday as a stress buster.

The lost chachi and the funny chacha

Here’s a recap for those who have only a faint recollection of it. The entire action happened in an upper-middle class joint family living in their ancestral house in the suburbs of Mumbai. At the top of the family was the headstrong matriarch Sarla Diwan (the legendary theatre actress Sushma Seth), who maintained a culture of discipline in the house and was doted upon by her husband (NK Shivpuri), fondly called Daddyji, who missed her in her absence and played endless pranks with his grandchildren. Their sons were Balraj (Navin Nischol), a serious and absent-minded Managing Director of a company, who was also the most sensible of the lot and Sameer (Shekhar Suman), ever playful and funny and a little obsessed with the price of the shares he had invested in.

Sanjay and Kirti
Up to a new prank – Vishal and Aabha
Balraj was married to Suhasini (Farida Jalal), who ran a beauty parlour from her home, with Daddyji managing her cash. Their son Sanjay (Vishal Singh) was forever busy thinking about means to impress his girlfriend Shilpa (Urvashi Dholakia) and their daughter Kirti (Natasha Singh) was besotted with Shahrukh Khan. Sameer was married to Sunita (Bhavana Balsavar), fondly called chachi by everyone, including her mother-in-law, kept looking for a plot for her novel. Their school going children, Vishal and Aabha kept their grandfather occupied with their pranks. At the fulcrum of this house was their domestic help Karima (Deven Bhojani), who was yelled at by everyone for not completing his work on time and yet was loved like a member of the household. He knew the nature of the members inside out and remained amused by their idiosyncrasies.
A family that eats together and lives together

The very first few scenes of the first episode set the tone for the sitcom, which depicted an early morning scene at the Diwan household. These were characters who lived life king size, had their mundane issues to deal with, erred at every step, laughed, cried, loved, hated and yet, doing so, brought out the humour of our everyday lives. Towards the end of the series, the entire family also went packing to London to attend the wedding of a family friend. The characters in the sitcom could very well  be someone you knew, or perhaps could be someone in your own home. When that happens, a work is bound to be lapped up by the masses.

The strength of Dekh Bhai Dekhlay in its script (developed by Rajeev Agarwal, Vipul Shah and Maya Balse, performances and the witty dialogues written by Lilliput, who also played a guest role in many of its episodes. The title Dekh bhai Dekh, was used very often in the conversations by an uncle of lilliput and he used the phrase to develop a series of dialogues.

The smart and loyal domestic help Karima
Produced by Jaya Bachchan and directed by Anand Mahendroo, the serial endeared itself to the masses to such an extent that it also had successful reruns on Sony TV and SAB TV and went on to become a television classic. You might have forgotten the plot, the episodes but you can never forget the title song, sung by Udit Narayan – Is rang badalti duniya mein, kyat tera hai kya mera hai, dekha bhai dekh….  har sham ke baad savera hai!

Watch all the episodes of Dekh Bhai Dekh here.

10 thoughts on “A relook at Dekh Bhai Dekh

Add yours

  1. I won't say it was the most successful… The first sitcom on Indian television, Yeh jo hai zindagi, was a huge success as well. There were other ones like Nukkad, Office Office and Sarabhai vs Sarabhai… All these were TV classics


  2. I think this show's characters made us identify with them in their moments of happiness, sorrow and enjoyful moments..they were just like a beautiful normal carefree family just like us and that made it as one of the first comedy classic.Sarabhai vs sarabhai shriman shrimati zabaan sambhal ke were shows which were set up in different situation and had the atmosphere of a good comedy show whereas dekh bhai dekh showed the comedy and humour which arises out of idiosyncrasies and eccentricities of normal people in a normal family. so in a way Dekh Bhai Dekh sets apart from other shows in a natural manner.


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