THE AAM AADMI REVIEW - Not many takeaways for the 'aam aadmi'

THE AAM AADMI REVIEW - Not many takeaways for the 'aam aadmi'
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One of the popular family shows to emerge from the digital brand TVF, The Aam Aadmi Family is back to entertain its loyal audience for the third season. The show's USP of offering viewers a nostalgic throwback to the non-dramatised television days of the 90s, works for this season as well, though the writing isn't as impactful as it has been in the past. Relatable middle-class situations, effective casting and slice of life humour continue to be the show's strengths. However, the show-creators needed more meat than mere good-will in the material this time around. Divided into five crisp episodes spanning 20 minutes each, here's how it fares. Mr. and Mrs. Sharma are still typical Indian middle-class parents. Sometimes miserly, sometimes possessive, sometimes nagging but also standing by their wards when it matters the most. The series deals with Mr. Sharma's uncomfortable equation with his brother and son-in-law Sarthak, while also discussing his authoritarian attitude towards his mother, wife, and children. From dealing with a housewife's independence at a household to mending strained equations with the near and dear besides talking about a daughter's insistence on studying post marriage, the show picks up broad, relevant issues that nuclear families face today. Yet, the show is only half-hearted in its attempt to do justice to the issues it tries to tackle. Episode 1: The first episode in the series is where a family sits together playing antakshari prior to dinner, merely harping back on nostalgia to create a supposedly feel good-impact. As the grandma talks about her good-old-days and terrace-dinners, the episode is only reduced to an old-fashioned comparison between joint and nuclear families. Also, the reason behind Sharma's uncomfortable equation with his son-in-law isn't explored with great clarity. An okay start to the series, however, with assured performances by Brijendra Kala and Lubna Salim. Episode 2: Easily among the high points of the show, this episode is about a mother trying her hand at two-wheeler driving and failing at it. The writing is so good that it tells how driving enables a woman to be independent regardless of her age and also takes a dig at the patriarchal attitude of men shutting them down with replies like 'why do women need to drive when there are men in the house?'. The case of the son standing up for her mom explores their bond beautifully. Chandan Anand as the son and Lubna Salim as the mom share an interesting on-screen camaraderie. Episode 3: Extending its ideas about letting women make independent decisions, the episode tells why a girl's academic aspirations post marriage shouldn't be looked down at. The confusions of Mr. and Mrs. Sharma add an interesting comic flavour to the episode as they explain their daughter's decision to study MBA to the girl's in-laws. The discussion among the elders about the same results in a healthy and progressive conversation and closeted perceptions that most parents of today have. The writing is contemporary, humourous and engaging at the same time, you couldn't have asked for a better combination indeed! Episode 4: Probably the least engaging of all episodes in the series, this one talks about cliched ideas like 'family is family after all' and ' the need to forgive and forget' amid the backdrop of two fighting brothers. As Sharma's brother arrives home citing concerns his surrounding mother's health, the former is not clearly happy with his presence. Although Kamlesh Gill is her exuberant self as the daadi, her old-world idea about brotherly bonds and family togetherness isn't the most imaginative piece of writing you could come across. The forced resolution between the brothers isn't quite appealing too. Episode 5: A rather-average finale for the series, this episode about the family coming together for the birthday bash of the 70s something daadi is bland and boring, to say the least. While the pleasantries that the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law engage in, about the saris they gift each other and the care they share, are mildly interesting, the rest doesn't quite hold your attention. The death of a principal character in the series is thankfully portrayed in an understated fashion. Final Take: The writing of the series is quite inconsistent, sometimes patriarchal, sometimes progressive and otherwise plain old-fashioned. It's the performers who liven up the dullness in the material to make it an average watch. Brijendra Kala is a riot with his comic timing and Lubna Salim is equally effortless with her screen presence. Kamlesh Gill gets some of the best and the worst written lines in the series, yet here mere presence in the frame is enough to fill you with joy. Gunjan Malhotra only gets minimal screen space and does a decent job of her role as Bhavya Sharma, the daughter of Sharmas. Chandan Anand as the son is a livewire for sure. Though his character isn't extremely integral to the outcome of this season, the actor shows good potential. On the whole, it's quite obvious that TVF can certainly do better than this. Rating: 2.5/5

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