Amrutham Dhvitheeyam: A delicious platter of wit and humour, garnished with dollops of nostalgia
Imagine a gently bubbling mix of comedy and wit, simmering in the cauldron of wistful nostalgia, garnished with a well-loved blend of brilliant comic timing and unforgettable cult characters, then topped with generous dollops of razor-sharp one-liners. No, it’s not a far-fetched figment of our imagination. It is a delicious, enjoyable, comfort food for the soul. It is Amrutham, making a return in Telugu comedy lovers’ lives, as Amrutham Dhvitheeyam!
Yes, Telugu TV’s most-loved character Amrutham Rao is back, and so are his merry men, Anjaneyulu, aka Anji, and Sarvam. The only difference is that Amrutham Dhvitheeyam, as the new outing of the show is called, is airing not on TV, but is streaming on ZEE5 Telugu, the Telugu OTT platform of Zee TV. And the trio is already whipping up a storm of cooking and comedy, just like the days of yore, as each one of us remembers from our younger days.
Audiences are overjoyed on their favourite comic show finally making a much-awaited comeback. After a long, long hiatus of 13 years (the last episode of Amrutham had aired in 2007), the show returns in a new avatar on the back of overwhelming public demand. And going by the audience response to the three episodes that have streamed until now, the head honchos at ZEE5 must be grinning from ear to ear, coz they’ve certainly got their hands on the Holy Grail of entertainment in Amrutham Dhvitheeyam. Even a cursory glance at social media will tell you how enthused viewers are with the return of the cult classic.
Shows that return after such a long hiatus often fail to make an impact. But after watching the inaugural episodes of Amrutham Dhvitheeyam, one realizes that this is one show that effortlessly picks up from where it left off. The intervening thirteen years seem to have melted away into nowhere like they were a momentary lapse in time.
While the original Amrutham was the sparkling creation of Gangaraju Gunnam, Amrutham Dhvitheeyam is helmed by his son Sandeep Gunnam, with Gangaraju playing the role of mentor. Yet, the humour is just as sharp, and the writing, just as bracing.
Of course, there’s a crucial difference in the original show and its second coming – the actor that essays the character of Anji. Gundu Hanumantha Rao had owned the character like nobody’s business, the memory of which is etched in fans’ minds forever. His death had cast a shadow on the chance of a revival for the show – would any actor ever be able to fill his colossal shoes? The answer is a resounding yes – we must admit that LB Sriram has reprised the role of Anjaneyulu in Amrutham Dhvitheeyam with panache and perfection. His poker-faced delivery of the excellent one-liners that abound in the show is sheer poetry.
That said, Harsh Vardhan slips into his role of Amrutham with consummate ease, as does Vasu Inturi as Sarvam and Sivannarayana, as Appaji. The entire cast has slipped into character easily and fit in smoothly like a glove. Astonishingly, they all look and act exactly the same way that they did, all those years back. Even Father Time seems to have stopped in his tracks, to accommodate the overwhelming clamour for the show’s reprise.
ZEE5 deserves a huge pat on the back for bringing back the adored characters and the show. It takes guts to revive a show that whips up such frenzied passion in its fans, fans that are ready to take umbrage at the slightest hint of perceived disrespect shown towards their favourite show. Jeez, it is blasphemy in their eyes to even consider a reprise. That the show has received an overwhelmingly positive response from fans is joyful vindication for the considerable risk taken by ZEE5.
Expectations from Amrutham Dhvitheeyam rose sky-high when the brilliant SS Rajamouli launched the trailer of the show, several weeks ago. He, along with the crème de la crème of the Telugu entertainment world, had expressed happiness at the return of Amrutham in its new avatar. As Rajamouli said at the trailer launch – “Amrutham is second to none” – and fans couldn’t help but agree.
The show is a tour de force in Telugu TV, and it was always going to be a tough task to stand up to the expectations. What was even tougher was to make the old-school humour of the show appeal to today’s viewers, fed as they are on a diet of Sex Education, Breaking Bad and Brooklyn Nine-nine. It was akin to serving the humble khichdi to those who knew nothing better than pizzas and burgers. But Khichdi isn’t India’s favourite comfort food for nothing. It has legions of fans like none other. Just as old-school, squeaky-clean humour, with sharp writing and sharper wit – the Amrutham kind – will always find its fans in this strangely dichotomous country of ours – no matter what.
So let’s delve into this crazy, feel-good world inhabited by Amrutham, Anji, Sarvam and Appaji, and feel the warmth of humour seep into our harried souls.