Bhajana Batch Review- For a few jolly good laughs

Bhajana Batch Review- For a few jolly good laughs
Sony Liv
Movie Rated

In times when each and every web-series is trying so hard to sell a pathbreaking story (and failing at it), it's immensely relieving to watch a show like Bhajana Batch that's merely trying to be funny. Marking a collaboration between Idream Media and filmmaker Maruthi's production house, the series, streaming on Sony LIV, directed by the latter's protege Chinni Krishna has modest aims. And it more or less delivers a bang for your buck. It's a web-show that doesn't take itself too seriously, the humour is slapstick and yet largely inoffensive. The 12-episodes are crisply packaged to keep the ball rolling without any major fuss. Posani Krishna Murali, Getup Srinu, Gemini Suresh, Jabardasth Raghava, Shakala Shankar, Jabardasth Venu, Ajay Ghosh, Jogi Krishnam Raju and Deepu Naidu make for a familiar cast that definitely has a strong sense of comic timing. As far as the story goes, the Chittabattula family is full of people, who make money by conning people with their flattery. Every time the family is in need of a financial push, they pick a popular celebrity and find innovative ways to deceive and extract monetary gains from them. So effective they are in their jobs that even a cop who puts them behind bars, a home minister of the State who aspires to be a CM, a goon who sets out to kill them, fall for their methods. Though all episodes aren't equally impactful, the series is consistent enough to sustain its quirky comedy quotient. The makers take digs at several real-life celebrities, including characters modelled on Ramgopal Varma, Kiran Kumar (the owner of Lalitha Jewellers), Jaleel Khan (who popularly talked about physics being a subject in B.Com) besides self-proclaimed astrology experts. Particularly, the brickbats are on the larger side for Ramgopal Varma's character, smartly titled Lakshman Bhupal Varma, where he's portrayed as a filmmaker and a Sridevi-fan who ridiculously pays people to criticise him and his films. Bhajana Batch takes a sit-com like route, where the pattern of the story remains the same though the targets of the protagonists differ. Never does the director try to make this idea seem intelligent by any means. It's the perfect 'keep your brains outside' kind of a comedy to lit up a lazy evening, the kind of content that's surprisingly not finding takers in the entertainment industry of late. The episode where the family appears for a television debate to discuss the ways they are cheating people across various professions and go onto flatter the anchor and critics on the channel is downright hilarious. So is the idea of trapping a healing guru who allegedly creates miracles with his magic pen. The dialogues, though only meant for visceral entertainment, are quite witty. And ending the season with an episode where the group manages to flatter a group of monkeys with the songs they sing, is a perfect hat-tip to their idea. Ajay Ghosh, as a cop who dislikes applause and flattery, is in his element through the series. But, it's Posani Krishna Murali who holds it together with his trademark dialogue delivery and histrionics. He is an authority in the comic arena and it shows in this series. However, the makers could have probably shown some restraint in the portrayal of choreographer Shiva Shankar in the wacky role of a goon who realises he's a flower in Lord Nataraja's garden in his previous birth. Not always does a good series need great aesthetics, technical prowess to impress. Sometimes, all one needs is a quirky idea and the ability to execute it within certain limitations. Chinni Krishna is successful in this space. The tone of the series may be over-the-top, but the writing is flavourful. Bhajana Batch serves you a good dose of escapism to wipe out your worldly woes for a good four-hours. Rating: 3/5 (Watch the series on Sony LIV here)

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