Genre: FantasyProduction House: Rajiv Mehra from Eagle Productions
After beautifully delving into the genre of kids' fantasy in Baal Veer, SAB TV has effectively delved into fantasy fiction for grownups in Jeannie Aur Juju which is the Indian version of the highly popular American sitcom, I Dream of Jeannie. What delights us about this show is that the creatives present what would have otherwise been in real life traumatic moments as exhilaratingly amusing moments. For instance in a normal fictional series how would you have expected a scene in which the plane catches fire to be depicted? The most likely scenario would be that the scene would be accompanied by shrieks of agony and desperate attempts for survival. However when Captain Vicky's (played by Ali Asgar) plane with no passengers crashes, it's actually portrayed as an amusingly sweet moment which even turns sweeter when he lands in a tropical island where there's a beautiful damsel in a bottle.
This isn't portrayed as a Robinson Crusoe scenario where the lone survivor has to fight tooth and nail to survive. The only similarity is that like Crusoe found a Man Friday, Vicky finds a Woman Friday who is none other than the beautiful Jeannie who can create magic in a split second thereby granting him his wishes. Alladin may have found a genie who was dark, gigantic and sinister looking albeit with a tender heart in his lamp. Vicky is however doubly lucky that his Jeannie is both beautiful and has a big heart. We are often asked this question as to whom you would like as accompaniment if you were marooned on an island, the answer to which often is that we would like our partner to be a very good looking person of the opposite gender. Vicky is the luckiest person on earth to have been granted this. Jeannie in fact lingers on with Captain Vicky even when he leaves the island which despite being a boon to him also puts him in a tight spot as his girlfriend Priya after all gets envious when she sees Jeannie whom she considers to be 'the other woman'.
Giaa Manek after have played a demure bahu in Saath Nibhana Saathiya plays a vibrant and sweetly cheeky Jeannie who is dressed in an exotic and oriental suit. Giaa thereby proves to the viewers that she can do diverse roles with elan. Ali Asgar who is a versatile actor and comedian also does full justice to the role of the very simple and lovable Captain Vicky. Kurush Deboo plays with alacrity a psychiatrist who is interestingly suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder while treating his patients- indeed Vicky's case becomes a compulsive obsession for him and he is hell bent on getting to the root of his 'ailment'. The rest of the actors have also done a good job.
As far as the humour quotient of the show is concerned, I had a good laugh when Dr.Cyrus Doctor asks Vicky as to what was in the bottle which he found on the island- was there cold drink, milk, water or lemon juice in there? His prosaic mind refuses to believe that there's an endearing Jeannie in the bottle. He also jumps to the conclusion that it's not normal if a person is normal after having gone through a brush with death ordeal like Captain Vicky has gone through. All Dr.Cyrus Doctor can think of is that Vicky needs to be hospitalized.
Another moment which tickled my funny bone were when Mrs.Chatur admonishes her writer husband who is peeping into his neighbour Vicky's house with the excuse that he needs to observe others' lives to get inspiration for his stories. He on seeing Jeannie insists that he is seeing a beautiful lady with Vicky when his wife sees nothing or sweetly admonishes her husband on mistakenly thinking that her husband is staring at an elderly woman whom she feels her husband is referring to as the damsel.
Similarly Vicky's coquettish girlfriend being suspicious of him and Vicky's dad being thoroughly upset on thinking that his wife has gifted a precious diamond necklace to their son's maid on mistaking her to be his bride were endearing moments on the show. The same sequences in a family drama soap would have come out as melodramatic.
Coming to the costume design and makeup Giaa Manek looks like a fairy without wings. Mr. and Mrs.Chatur are also dressed like typical Bengalees. Dr.Cyrus Doctor's costume effectively conveys his eccentricity. However it's upsetting that Vicky's girlfriend Priya has to be dressed in Western clothes to reflect that she is a rich and spoiled girl.
As far as the art direction and visual effects are concerned; after impressing us with an exquisite fairy land in Baal Veer we see nice graphics in Jeannie Aur Juju too. Jeannie coming in and out of the bottle accompanied by a whiff of smoke is a delight to watch. I greatly enjoyed watching the scene in which Jeannie is inside the pink bottle, the background in the scene with precision displayed an enlarged view which seemed to be a replica of the bottle's internal background.
SAB TV's experiment with the fantasy genre has been successful in Jeannie and Juju. If the TRPs of both the shows Baal Veer and Jeannie and Juju are found to be impressive in mid-December hopefully the channel will have more fantasy shows.
Verdict: Three out of five stars
Author and Reporter: Pallavi Bhattacharya