Potluck review

Things may seem too nice to be true but the affable energy of its harmonious cast makes Potluck a rare light watch on the desi OTT scene, says Sukanya Verma.

A well-heeled Indian urban family, its mild ups and downs, spats and quirks round up the breezy proceedings of Rajshree Ojha’s Potluck.

Following a suggestion from his aspiring novelist daughter Prerna (Shikha Talsania), the senior-most members (Kitu Gidwani, Jatin Sial) of the Shastri clan kick-starts a weekly potluck gathering to break bread with their independently living sons, their wives and one’s brood.

Through the course of its eight less than half an hour long episodes, we discover their various woes and worries — someone’s desperately seeking romance, someone is retired and craves to be relevant again, someone wants to move into a bigger house, someone secretly wishes to help them about it, someone feels guilty about their lack of cooking skills, someone is juggling between three kids and a job….

Here’s a little context to who’s who.

When not immersed in her laptop plastered with Tagore quotes on its skin or reading a Murakami, Prerna is busy trying to revive her love life through various dating apps.

Of course, her parents try to play cupid.

Of course, they do not succeed.

But a Lucknow-bred Bollywood marketing guy (Siddhant Karnick) might just be the answer to her prayers.

Her dad Govind Shastri’s silly attempts to fit in and appear cool by stalking his children on Instagram and using the millennial slang brings on the usual embarrassed response.

Better half Pramila is the more subdued of the two but her disapproving tone and dominating ways ensure everyone stays at an arm’s length.

Their elder son Vikrant (Cyrus Sahukar) and his wife Akanksha (Ira Dubey) are parents to a daughter and twins, which makes their existence full of pressure and chaos.

The younger son Dhruv (Harman Singha) is the people pleaser and it vexes his childhood sweetheart-turned-significant other Nidhi (Salonie Patel) no end.

That they have no desire to have kids or Prerna’s potential beau is Muslim doesn’t spark any drama or conflict in Potluck is a real relief.

Rather, the focus is on how it’s the unwarranted fears and perception harboured by some characters over their disinterest or limitations that underscore families can be more accepting than it gets credit for.

Ojha, who adapted Jane Austen’s Emma as Aisha, gives glimpses into their everyday — the believable superficiality of a mom uncomfortable about her nanny conversing with her kid in her native tongue, couples doing a spontaneous compatibility test or just the exercise of ordering from a restaurant’s delivery menu.

Its humour is free flowing and emotions are in check.

Potluck, written by Ashwin Lakshmi Narayan and Gaurav Lulla, merges the sitcom vibe of a Dekh Bhai Dekh and the whimsy of a Hollywood rom-com (costume parties et al) through its charming course of less than four hours.

Potlucks are about members of a close-knit community, be it family or friends, coming together and sharing home cooked meals and heartfelt warmth.

Ojha sets this ritual as an intimate backdrop to explore modern family dynamics that’s familiar, feel-good but a tad disappointingly guarded in its depiction.

It treads on commonplace ideas of dysfunctional desi parivar, but stays committed to its goody two shoes tone to scratch any deeper.

Things may seem too nice to be true but the affable energy of its harmonious cast, especially the fizzy Shikha Talsania, astute Kitu Gidwani and graceful Ira Dubey, makes this a rare light watch on the desi OTT scene.

Potluck streams on SonyLIV.

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