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Review Marathi

Idiot Box review: Silly but hilarious parody of Indian TV shows with a little dose of romance

Release Date: 24 Jul 2020

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Suyog Zore

Starring Shivraj Waichal and Shivani Rangole, Idiot Box experiments with the traditional storytelling style as each episode parodies a popular genre on Indian television.

What would you get if you combined a heist thriller, Big Boss, Crime Patrol, a South Indian action film and a musical in one web-series? It will either be a complete mess or a stroke of genius. Though it would be an exaggeration to call Idiot Box a stroke of genius, it is still a pretty hilarious and unique attempt at parody, a rarely attempted genre of comedy in Marathi.

Aakash (Shivraj Waichal) is a disillusioned boyfriend who is still blindly in love with his ex, Shashwati. And the series chronicles the struggles he goes through to get her back. In his quest, he gets the help of an unlikely stranger Sayali (Shivani Rangole) and they gradually become good friends.

In terms of plot, there is nothing new here, but what stands out in Idiot Box is the unique approach of the writer-director duo Virajas Kulkarni and Jeet Ashok. Each episode parodies a popular genre on Indian television and the events unfold strictly following the conventions of those genres. For example, one episode parodies the Crime Patrol serial and we see all the tropes of Crime Patrol in that episode, including a fourth-wall-breaking hyperactive narrator played by Pravin Tarde. There is another episode that is shot like an over-the-top Telugu action film. This experiment works wonderfully for the series because it keeps the proceedings fresh and produces some rib-tickling moments.

Though the humour here falls in the category of parody, it is not completely silly. In fact, the writer and director have smartly used the genre conventions to create genuinely funny moments. Instead of relying only on dialogues, Kulkarni and Jeet have also used the visual medium to generate laughter.

But that is also one of the drawbacks of Idiot Box. Since most of the humour in the series is born out of these genre conventions, someone who is not aware of these conventions or averse to this type of humour won't enjoy the series as much. Idiot Box also has cameos by a few experienced as well as young actors from the Marathi film industry, of whom Pushkar Jog's is the most memorable.

Idiot Box relies heavily on the acting talent of leading pair Shivraj Waichal and Shivani Rangole and they both deliver compelling performances. Both have already proved they are good comic artistes with their previous TV shows and web-series and here, too, they do not disappoint the viewer. Waichal, especially, delivers some laugh-out-loud moments with his absurd antics. At an average length of 25 minutes per episode, the series doesn't drag. Full credit to the sharp editing by Bhushan Sahasrabudhe. If anything, some of the episodes are too short.

Overall, Idiot Box is a refreshing comedy. The genre had become quite stagnant in the past few years, especially in Marathi cinema. With a runtime just a shade under two hours, the series is definitely worth a watch.

MX Player is now streaming Idiot Box.

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