Gullak 3 Review: The Writing Isn't As Impeccable This Time Around But Acting Is Absolutely Top-Notch

Gullak 3 Review: It is easy to get into the swing despite the familiar tropes - or perhaps, because of them - when actors like Geetanjali Kulkarni and Jameel Khan go all out to do what they are best at.

Gullak 3 Review: The Writing Isn't As Impeccable This Time Around But Acting Is Absolutely Top-Notch

A still from Gullak 3. (courtesy sonyliv)

Cast: Geetanjali Kulkarni, Jameel Khan, Harsh Mayar and Vaibhav Raj Gupta

Director: Palash Vaswani

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

Some web shows grow on you, others strike an instant chord. TVF's Gullak does both. Even as it draws you gently into the home and the world of a small-town family dealing with the vagaries of life, it delivers sleights that immediately induces empathy.

Season 3 of the immensely charming SonyLIV show may not be as perfectly calibrated to sweep you off your feet as the first two seasons were, but it does have enough steam to allow it to chug along smoothly. The writing isn't impeccable this time around, but the acting still is absolutely top-notch.

A gullak isn't a piggybank, asserts the earthen object that gives the comedy series its title and serves as an omniscient observer-narrator throwing light on the plight of the Mishra clan for whom the muddle never ends. The latter is made of plastic, the former of mitti, the voice says with the purpose of underscoring that nothing here is anything but rooted in the soil.

The five-part Gullak Season 3, produced by Arunabh Kumar and created by Sreyansh Pandey, is indeed anchored firmly to the bylanes around the home of the cantankerous Mishra family. Its grip, however, isn't as steady as it was in the first two bunch of episodes about these superheroes of misery ("dukh ke superheroes," the all-knowing gullak, voiced by Shivankit Singh Parihar, intones).

Not that the sporadic lows irretrievably take the sheen off the show. Parts of Gullak S3 are thoroughly enjoyable and extremely relatable thanks to the unwaveringly natural performances delivered by the four principal actors - Geetanjali Kulkarni, Jameel Khan, Vaibhav Raj Gupta and Harsh Mayar. All four are on top of their game and, as always, fill the proceedings with disarming vitality.

Durgesh Singh's script and Palash Vaswani's steady directorial hand combine to pack a steady flow of wit and plain old wisdom into the show. The warmth of the ambience and the good-humoured banter between husband and wife, parents and children, and the two Mishra dissimilar brothers yield the dividends they are expected to. But all said and done, the gullak is only half-full.

That is hardly surprising. What has gone before has set the bar formidably high. With the novelty of the premise wearing off just a little owing to over-exposure, the new season is a tad hard-pressed to maintain the realistic spirit of the show while conjuring up a mix of genteel entertainment and tongue-in-cheek commentary on the unremarkable but jagged lives of people that have to inevitably bank on their own devices in the face of the hurdles strewn across the social terrain that they occupy.

The five self-contained episodes that constitute Season 3 of Gullak touch upon a variety of themes. The school-topping Aman Mishra (Harsh Mayar) grapples with a Science vs. Arts dilemma even as he toys with the idea of enrolling himself in a fancier institution than the one his father can afford to send him to.

Aman's elder brother, Anand "Annu" Mishra (Vaibhav Raj Gupta), now a medical representative leading a small sales team, receives his first salary but is forced to temper the excitement and put his intention to splurge on an accessory on hold as his responsibilities skyrocket.

In one episode, a young girl from Mishraji's village arrives with her father in search of a life partner and Shanti Mishra (Geetanjali Kulkarni) not only bonds with the young, wide-eyed guest (Ketaki Kulkarni), but also gives her tips on how not to let others hustle her into making up her mind. And in the case of the well-meaning Mishraji (Jameel Khan) himself, office politics takes a heavy toll and shoves the family into a serious crisis.

Amid all the trials and tribulations that the Mishras have to reckon with, no irritant is trickier than the one that their nosey and garrulous neighbour (Sunita Rajwar) poses. The lady pops up every now and then and loses no opportunity to catch the Mishras of-guard with her "I know what you guys have been up to" airs.

The continuing sparkle of the show notwithstanding, the characters appear at times to be merely going through the motions of demonstrating the nature of the challenges that ordinary folk such as them face in their topsy-turvy daily lives and the quirks of the rough-and-ready methods that they must employ in their struggle to stay afloat.

Even though some of the writing may sound somewhat leaden, the actors playing the parts do not fail to infuse the show with fluency and energy. It is primarily because of the spontaneity of the four key members of the cast that Season 3 of Gullak never loses touch with its intrinsic breeziness

Like any good idea that has been stretched thin, Gullak S3 occasionally strays perilously close to snapping point. It still has obvious potential left in it - the misfortunes and misadventures of the middle class are, of course, varied and limitless - but the time has perhaps come for the creators of the show to think of keeping the humour quotient on an even keel go a touch easy on the dramatic sweeps.

If one is sounding like a carping critic, that certainly isn't the intention. It is easy to get into the swing of Gullak S3 despite the familiar tropes - or perhaps, because of them - when actors like Geetanjali Kulkarni and Jameel Khan go all out to do what they are best at - play real and tangible.

The two are superbly supported by Gupta and Mayar, who now know the strengths and limitations of the characters they essay like the back of their hands.

The quartet, with nary a false step, generates the force that keeps Gullak flowing.