- BOTTOM LINE: A Slapstick Comedy That Shines in Parts
|Platform: SonyLIV||Genre: Comedy|
What Is the Story About?
The Chittabattula family is unique for many reasons across generations, for all its descendants have managed to live their lives merely by deceiving, flattering people and making money. However, the later generations switch onto different professions in quest of survival and lack of interest in flattery. How a financial crunch at their house forces everyone in the family to turn into a ‘bhajana batch’, wherein they pick a popular celebrity and make them a sacrificial goat for financial gains, forms the plot of the series. Their targets involve jewellers, politicians, actors, media and even monkeys. What are the roadblocks they are about to face in their path?
Posani Krishna Murali has been always dependable with comedies, regardless of the medium, and he doesn’t disappoint here too. Amid a bunch of new actors, it’s his experience that works to the advantage of the series. Ajay Ghosh, however, is the scene-stealer. As a frustrated cop who can’t tolerate any amount of praise showered upon him, his conflicts with the ‘batch’ are a delight to watch. A prominent face like Shakalaka Shankar is only reduced to a special appearance and his unique winning-slang helps the series.
This is a rare web series that’s content with having a one-liner story, also utilised well by the filmmaker Chinni Krishna through the 12 episodes. And for the low expectations amid which it released, surprisingly, the laughs don’t dry out for the most part. Bhajana, in colloquial Telugu, is referred to as unwarranted praise/flattery and the series is a parody on a bunch of people who utilise their eloquence to make celebrities fall for their applause.
Most celebrity characters in the series are based on real-life figures and the references are quite clear for everyone to see. The owner of Lalitha Jewellers (whose line ‘Dabbulu oorike raavu’ imitated by the actors provides a lot of laughs), Ram Gopal Varma, MLA Jaleel Khan are few figures whom the makers take a dig at. The slapstick humour is only meant for a few silly laughs and the series, with a host of impressive young actors, justifies its comic potential.
Nearly every industry is a target for the protagonists to exploit (fake healing gurus, swamijis, astrology experts) and the sequences provide good escapist fun. The scene in which a media debate is hosted on a television channel and the ‘batch’ is criticised for milking people’s weaknesses is a laugh riot. The clashes between the ‘batch’ and the cop who hates flattery ensure a few laughs too. Most of the scenes seem an extension of the unexplored comic subplots from Maruthi’s films.
The basic problem with the series is its monotony. The formula of cheating one celebrity after the other gets repetitive for the viewer. The scene where the batch sings a song to impress monkeys in a forest, feels very silly, even by Bhajana Batch’s moderate standards. Yet, an impressive element here is that the tone never gets crass. It can indeed be termed an achievement for its makers, to come up with a web series that caters to the entire family without any inhibition. Bhajana Batch isn’t a series you should watch for its story or aesthetics, but only for its reasonable entertainment. It’s made with a target audience in mind who wouldn’t mind its silliness.
Relatively well-known as character actors, the likes of Getup Srinu, Gemini Suresh, Jabardasth Raghava, Jabardasth Venu, Jogi Krishnam Raju and Deepu Naidu get abundant screen-time to showcase their worth and they spring a surprise. They are very good in not diluting the comic essence of a sequence, maintaining the right composure across the episodes.
Music and Other Departments?
This isn’t a series that you would remember for its music bits, background score or cinematography. They only serve as a backdrop to help the filmmaker dish out a few laughs. The dialogues are particularly catchy and timely references to relevant happenings in the Telugu States and the country have been smartly incorporated in the lines.
Posani and Ajay Ghosh’s performance
Witty, unadulterated dialogues
Funny gags on a few celebrities
The formulaic approach to every episode
Will You Recommend It?
Yes, with reservations.
Review by Srivathsan Nadadhur
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