Art & Entertainment

‘Happy Family: Conditions Apply’ On Amazon Prime Video Review: Ratna Pathak Shah Steals The Show In This Comical Gujarati Family Drama

Amazon Prime Video has come up with their latest show, ‘Happy Family: Conditions Apply’. Is the Gujarati family drama worth your time? Read the full review to find out.

A Still From 'Happy Family: Conditions Apply'
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‘Happy Family: Conditions Apply’: Cast & Crew

Director: Aatish Kapadia, JD Majethia

Cast: Raj Babbar, Ratna Pathak Shah, Atul Kulkarni, Ayesha Jhulka, Raunaq Kamdar, Meenal Sahu, Atul Kumar, Sanah Kapur

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

Duration: 10 Episode, 30 Minutes Each

‘Happy Family: Conditions Apply’: Story

‘Happy Family: Conditions Apply’ promises to be a hilarious family drama, woven around a close-knit dysfunctional Gujarati family. With four generations living under one roof, the family is bound to have many ups and downs, often leading to comical events. The series promises unlimited laughter with a touch of drama and emotions. Strong as an anchor during tough days, the family promise that it will not fail to amuse you when the days are light. Will they be able to keep you amused throughout? Well, you’ll have to watch the show to find out.

‘Happy Family: Conditions Apply’: Performances

Ratna Pathak Shah as baa steals the show in every sense of the word. She wins you over with her funny antics and the dialect is oh-so-perfect. She will remind you all of your dadis. While we all know that they are not wrong in what they’re saying, but with the generational gap creeping in, the youngsters start feeling that whatever the dadis are saying doesn’t apply in today’s times. However, we all know that their words and concern come from a place of love. Ratna Pathak Shah embodies the sentiment perfectly, and whenever she is onscreen you’re just hoping for something or the other to happen. She is simply too good.

Atul Kulkarni as the father of the family has the second largest screen space after Ratna Pathak Shah. However, in the initial episodes, his act as the controlling-yet-meek father somehow feels forced. But a couple of episodes down the line, you’re sort of used to it and are actually wanting to see him come up with some logic of his own. We all have seen the typical fathers who want their sons and daughters to do well in life, but don’t feel like letting them out of their houses to explore the world on their own. Atul Kulkarni picks up on that emotion and builds it perfectly.

It’s sad to see that Ayesha Jhulka doesn’t have too many dialogues in the series as such. Excepting her bit with the selfie stick, and the antics around it, she barely has too much to do. I wish she had more to showcase in this character.

Raj Babbar as the Dadaji somehow is not able to get the dialect correct, which technically he should have gotten the best, considering he is the eldest in the family. Had it been that the youngsters aren’t speaking too much in a Gujarati dialect, it would have been understood, but usually, the Dadaji character would have a better accent. To add to it, when paired opposite Ratna Pathak Shah, he doesn’t come out that bright. He does have a few moments, but whenever he is around, Ratna Pathak Shah is also there, and invariably his performance falls weak when in comparison to hers.

Meenal Sahu as the grand bahu of the family is decent. She does have a mystery around her character, which will keep you confused throughout. While usually in Indian households it’s the bahu’s who’re blamed for taking the sons away and breaking the family home, but Meenal Sahu’s character proves that’s it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, and things can be different for different households. Her banters with Ratna Pathak Shah have the typical saas-bahu feel, but they’re usually too funny to hold your laughter back.

Raunaq Kamdar continuously trying to tell people to call him 'Sanjuoy' instead of 'Sanjay' doesn't hit the mark properly. It's too forced and isn't even that funny after the first time. His character too doesn't have too much depth into it. He is any regular current day boy who's trying to move away from his joint fammily so as to start a nuclear family of his own.

Sanah Kapur doesn’t have too much to do in the show. Her character keeps swaying between trying to be woke and being the glue that holds the family together, despite their differences in opinion. The creators of the show should have made her the narrator of the story and shown things from her neutral perspective, which could have given her character more depth, and Sanah Kapure more screen time.

The rest of the supporting cast is decently good. Some characters like the brother-in-law (doctor character) seem to be pretty much lifted from the maker’s previous show ‘Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai’. Even the character of the masi-dadi, who always keeps saying Hello and Who Is This on the phone, despite the caller id saying the name. That’s also quite similar to another character of ‘Hae Hae Chand’ in ‘Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai’.

‘Happy Family: Conditions Apply’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects

Directors JD Majethia and Aatish Kapadia bring back the old world charm of ‘Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai’ or ‘Khichdi’ in ‘Happy Family: Conditions Apply’. The genre of slapstick comedy has pretty much been abolished in today’s times considering the audiences are more into intelligent comedy. But JD Majethia and Aatish Kapadia have proved once again that if made well, with relatable characters and instances from real-life, even a slapstick comedy can also be great fun to watch.

Aatish Kapadia, JD Majethia, Kesar Majethia, Vibhawari Deshpande, Sourav Ghosh and Khushali Jariwala manages to keep the scenarios funny. From the very onset, they’re very open about the slapstick nature of the show, and they’ve delivered on it aptly. To add to that the little nuances of a common Gujarati household have been shown very nicely. From the weekly family outings to selfie stick antics to the loud and over-the-top dadi – everything is very typical, very well balanced and very scrutinisingly picked up from real life.

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Cinematographer Sanket Shah makes use of a sitcom-like set and fits it perfectly into the day-to-day ways of a rich Gujarati family. As it has been shot entirely indoors, there’s not too much of a skill to her shown here. But overall, it’s decently presented.

Ajay A. Kumar and Abhishek Shetty’s editing is crisp and to the point. Keeping the episodes to 30 minutes each was a masterstroke. It doesn’t let the comedy get too overbearing on your senses. And if you’re enjoying it, then you anyways have 10 episodes of it, which is more in number than what usually today’s web series have.

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Hiral Viradia’s music is possibly the only thing in the show which doesn’t have too much to do. Usually, background scores transport you to the story, and make you feel like you’re standing with the characters throughout. Hiral Viradia’s music missed on majorly on that aspect.

‘Happy Family: Conditions Apply’: Can Kids Watch It?

Yes

Outlook’s Verdict

‘Happy Family: Conditions Apply’ takes you back to simpler times when audiences used to be forgiving and used to enjoy slapstick comedy with great fervour. JD Majethia and Aatish Kapadia bring the old-world charm. In today’s times when you’ve access to the entire world’s content at a palm’s distance, you’re not expecting a desi slapstick to be this hilarious. The makes don’t lie about what they’re going to show, and they deliver on it properly. While it’s not as great as a Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai’ or ‘Khichdi’, it is indeed a great fun watch. If you’re looking for some intelligent or high-end comedy, this surely isn’t for you. But for the rest, this is indeed a Must Watch. I am going with 4 stars.

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