Saas Bahu Aur Achaar Pvt Ltd: The bitter-sweet flavours of life
Saas Bahu Aur Achaar Pvt Ltd, a bitter-sweet tale of complex individuals and complicated web of relationships would have, perhaps, worked far better as a film
A few episodes into Apoorv Singh Karki’s Saas Bahu Aur Achaar Pvt Ltd, showing on Zee 5, and two things struck me. The virtuosity of its performers that goes beyond the ever-reliable Amruta Subhash and Anup Soni. And, secondly, the fact that this bitter-sweet tale of complex individuals and complicated web of relationships would have, perhaps, worked far better as a film. Somewhere in the divisions of episodes the entirety of the emotional impact also gets dispersed.
At the centre of action is Suman (Subhash), trying hard to set up her pickles business to eventually get custody of her kids Juhi (Manu Bisht) and Rishu (Nikhil Chawla) from her divorced husband Dilip (Anup Soni). From the bitterness and anger at being dismissed for being uneducated to the hesitancy in marketing herself and her product to the weariness in dealing with the family battles—Subhash doesn’t put a foot wrong. The camaraderie of her mother-in-law played with empathy by Yamini Das is as endearing as her blow hot blow cold animosity with neighbor Shuklaji (Anandeshwar Dwivedi) that eventually turns into an unlikely bonding over a peg of liquor. Bisht and Chawla are just as compelling as the young kids trying to find themselves in the unusual family arrangements that they are caught up in.
But the most interesting is the knotted mind and tangled reality of Suman’s ex-husband evoked by Soni and the innate affections of the step-mother and other woman Manisha brought alive by a luminous Anjana Sukhani. While the focus might be on a “wronged” woman finding a direction and assertion of her own identity in life and getting to reconnect with her Mahadev (the religious parallel felt like a deliberate insertion), the whole track of those who did her wrong left me surprisingly engaged and conflicted. A man and a woman unable to resist falling in love even while being fully aware of the injustices they are doing to others in the process. It felt like a page out of the Vijay Anand-Nutan-Asha Parekh triangle in Raj Khosla’s Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki. Even while finding myself unable to take a clear position, I wanted a deeper exploration of the moral ambiguities at the core of this relationship conundrum.