Sumit Sambhal Lega (English: Sumit Will Handle Everything) is an Indian sitcom television series which premiered on August 31,2015 on STAR Plus. The series is the Hindi adaptation of Warner Bros’ Everybody Loves Raymond. The channel has acquired the rights to the official adaptation of the sitcom.
Steve Skrovan, who was a writer on the original series, was part of the team transforming the remake for India.
The show revolves around the life of Sumit (Namit Das) who lives with his family. Whiny and flippant, Sumit does not take many things seriously, making jokes in nearly every situation, no matter how troubling or problematic. He often avoids responsibilities around the house and with his kids, leaving this to his wife.
The show revolved around a family: a husband, wife and their adorable twin sons and little daughter. They live across the road from the husband’s Italian parents and brother. The in-laws made our interfering Indian families seem like paradise. There was a possessive mother (Marie) and she naturally had run-ins with her daughter-in-law, Debra. Raymond had to maintain a fine balance between the two. It was hilarious, as non-dramatic as possible, and very real. Over the nine seasons, you saw everyone (including the kids) on the show grow older.
So now that Star Plus had been handed a winner on a platter, what will they do with it? For one, they’ve cast someone in the lead who looks alarmingly like Arvind Kejriwal. Namit Das, the desi Ray, is sweet as Sumit. However, three episodes in, he hasn’t displayed the spunk that Ray had in the series. Maybe he’ll warm into the role over time.
Sumit has a wife, who is attractive and sweet but given to over-acting. They’ve brought the kid count down to two, by killing off one of the twins. Sumit’s parents are played by Bharati Achrekar and Satish Kaushik. They don’t live across the street, but on the ground floor of the same bungalow. His brother, like Ray’s, is a cop. Even the opening credits of the show are the same.
The desi characters are nice, but so far, you just don’t care for them. Possibly because you don’t know enough to care about them. Ray’s job used to play a large part in the English sitcom’s storyline. The fact that he was a sports writer and made his job seem like the most important job in the world – as opposed to Debra’s ‘non-job’ of being a housewife and mother –was an important element and you’d think it would be relevant for us in India too. But no.
We don’t know what work Sumit does. Is he a detective? Is he a bartender? A car salesman? It’s anybody’s guess. I’m guessing his wife is a stay-at-home mom as well, not that this has been clarified. The only person whose work we know something of is the brother who is a cop and takes a bath as soon as he returns from work. Also, there doesn’t seem to be much of a plot for each episode. This isn’t a huge stumbling block since most sitcoms are more about dialogues than plot. But in Sumit Sambhal Lega, the dialogues are neither particularly funny nor sparkling.
In the second episode of Sumit Sambhal Lega, we get the Indian version of Marie giving Debra her spaghetti recipe but leaving out a key ingredient. Spaghetti became rajma, a.k.a. the caviar of Delhi. The third episode began with some fake kissing and revolved around Sumit’s inability to say “I love you”. Not gripping stuff, this. To be fair, neither is Everybody Loves Raymond, but you get drawn to the show because of the hilarious repartee and dialogues, the banter between characters and the very believable reactions. Nothing was over-the-top or seemed illogical.
Currently, Indian TV’s Arvind Kejriwal and his family are not really tickling this writer’s funny bone. After all, I don’t see the humour in Comedy Nights With Kapil either, which (given its ratings) means I obviously know nothing. It would be nice though, if for Sumit Sambhal Lega, they repaint the sets, write funnier lines and get rid of the over-acting. We just may have an enjoyable, non-saas bahu sitcom on our hands.