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Six Family Sagas to Binge-Watch this Month

_Relish these sterling family dramas that explore human relationships in all their shades_

“Family and friendships are two of the greatest facilitators of happiness,” said American author John C. Maxwell. However, occasionally, family can also be a source of great conflict and discord while friendship can prove to be a safer harbour. This month Zee Theatre explores the meaning of the word ‘family’ via stories where you will find relationships bound together by ties of blood and also instances where lifelong bonds are forged between friends.

An overview

This moving teleplay narrates the stories of a group of retired freedom fighters who live in an old age home. Forgotten by their families and also the country for which they put their lives on the line, they rely on each other for support and comfort. On India’s 50th Republic Day, they decide to fulfil the dying wish of a friend and leave for Delhi to participate in the celebrations of India’s 50th Republic Day. They face many challenges and multiple odds as they strive to achieve this goal. Will this close-knit family of friends be able to make it to the parade in time? Filmed by Nitin Shingal and adapted by Suhas Shetty and Gopal Dutt Tiwari, the teleplay stars Kanwaljit Singh, Utkarsh Mazumdar, Yusuf Hussain, Pawan Maskara, Shubha Khote, Beena Banerjee, Jayashankar Tripathi, Neeraj Aneja, Ronjini Chakraborty, Payal Nair, Saloni Grover and Swanandi Tikekar. Watch it on 14th April at Tata Play Theatre.

*Sandhya Chaya*
Penned in 1973 by Marathi playwright Jaywant Dalvi, ‘Sandhya Chaya’ is a poignant portrayal of an elderly couple’s longing for their children. Even though it is set in the 70s, the teleplay is an ever relevant depiction of acute loneliness that old age often brings with it. It narrates the plight of a couple whose children live far away from them. Even though the sons provide them with monetary comforts, they do not make time to visit them. The desolate couple pass their days in the hope that they will soon play with the grandchildren and spend time with their sons. They also befriend a young girl over phone and chat with her to spend their time.
Will their story end on a happy note or will it end tragically? Watch the late Uttara Baokar and veteran actor  Deepak Qazir as they headline the play with their powerful performances. Directed by Ishan Trivedi, the play also stars Vinnay Vishwa and can be watched on 13th April on Airtel Spotlight, Dish TV Rangmanch Active and D2H Rangmanch Active.

*Rishton Ka Live Telecast*
Are our digital devices fostering communication gaps within the family unit instead of facilitating communication? Are we tuning out of relationships and becoming more and more self-absorbed? These and many other questions are addressed in writer and director Prasad Khandekar’s teleplay ‘Rishton Ka Live Telecast’ which explores the dynamics of an emotionally disconnected  family. In the Sharma household, there is no space for spontaneous sharing and emotional bonding. When the chance to appear on a television reality show presents itself, it brings their dormant issues out in the open even though they have to pretend to be a happy family.  Will they finally mend the cracks in their relationships? Directed for stage by Prasad Khandekar and filmed by Ishan Trivedi, the play stars Aakanksha Gade, Aanjjan Srivastav, Himani Shivpuri, Piyush Ranade and Tapasya Naik. Watch it on 20th April at Tata Play Theatre.

Much like India’s first soap opera ‘Hum Log’, ‘Gullak’ offers insights into the joys and struggles of a middle-class family. This heartwarming web series created by Shreyansh Pandey revolves around the genial couple, Santosh and Shanti Mishra and their two sons Anand and Aman. The show starring Jameel Khan, Geetanjali Kulkarni, Vaibhav Raj Gupta and Harsh Mayar focuses on micro realities faced by an average Indian family in a quirky and witty manner. Eminently relatable and full of warmth, the three seasons of the series have struck a massive chord with the audiences. Watch this Palash Vaswani directorial on SonyLIV.  

Just like the hugely popular show ‘This is Us’, the 2023 film ‘Gulmohar’ depicted the complicated interplay of relationships within a family unit. The story introduced us to a grandmother with a secret, a granddaughter coming to terms with her sexuality, the bickering over a family property and the unravelling of many truths and revelations that bring both pain and relief to the Batra family. Will the beloved ‘Gulmohar’ villa be demolished to make way for a high rise? Will one last celebration in the home bring the family together or tear them apart forever? The film stars Sharmila Tagore, Manoj Bajpayee, Simran, Suraj Sharma and Amol Palekar and is directed by Rahul V. Chittella. Watch it on Hotstar.

*Dance Like a Man*
This intergenerational drama revolves around a family of Bharatanatyam dancers and explores mutual jealousy, marital tensions, clashing ambitions as well as rebellion against conservative ideas about art and life. Jairaj and Ratna, two fading Bharatanatyam dancers are dealing with their own frustrations while  their daughter Lata is ascending as a major talent. When Lata introduces them to her boyfriend, multiple issues erupt. Filmed by Ritesh Menon, the Zee Theatre teleplay stars Lillete Dubey, Vijay Crishna, Suchitra Pillai and Joy Sengupta and can be watched on 7th April on Dish TV Rangmanch Active, D2H Rangmanch Active and Airtel Spotlight.